WESTERN SNOWY PLOVER RECOVERY POINT BLUE CONSERVATION
New Threats Loom Over Western Snowy Plovers Caused by Continued Human Expansion
Synopsis: Sandy beaches and their ocean environments make visiting the coast an absolute pleasure, so, we hardly associate the beach as what it really is: an often arid and harsh environment capable of significant destructive power. Its challenges make wild inhabitants hardy, and the Threatened Western Snowy Plover is one of the few species that lives there year-round. They count on sparse vegetation, wind-made divots and, where applicable, human footprints to protect themselves from harsh winds, plus a wide field of view to see predators coming. In addition to their natural predators like Peregrine Falcons, the fastest species on the planet, they have unusual predators that have been introduced only in the past nine years. Mesocarnivores like ravens, skunks, and raccoons have found their way to beaches as a direct result of human expansion and the plovers have no defenses against them. Add to that, invasive grasses that are tall and abundant, dominate the beach landscape, which makes it hard to see predators coming. It becomes an even harder living when arrogant people, with or without dogs, trespass inside fenced-off areas. This results in destroyed nest sites and further displacement of these tiny survivors. Despite everything, their numbers are going up ever so slightly thanks to the tireless efforts of biologists like those of Point Blue Conservation. The farcry population of only about 2,500 across all the states of California, Oregon, and Washington means the battle for this bellwether species is far from over.