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Threatened species found nesting at Fort Stevens

A pair of western snowy plovers sit on a nest in a protected area at Nehalem Bay State Park. (Oregon Parks and Recreation)
Friday, June 8, 2018

Western snowy plover nests have been found at Fort Stevens State Park, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department reported May 25.

Wildlife biologists spotted nests in the Clatsop Spit area, the first to be found there in several decades. The birds have been listed as a threatened species since 1993.

“Plovers nesting at Fort Stevens is a huge step for species recovery and people who support a healthy environment,” said Vanessa Blackstone, a parks wildlife biologist. “We can all be proud of this moment.”

The Columbia River side of Clatsop Spit is one of several management areas on the coast. “Oregonians have helped plovers return to the North Coast, and Clatsop Spit is an important link between our Lincoln County birds and those that live in Washington,” Blackstone said.

Nest sightings prompt special precautions in designated snowy plover management areas.

Beachgoers will see signs on dry sand that identify designated nesting areas. It helps prevent the well-camouflaged eggs and chicks from being accidentally crushed by people or pets. Visitor foot traffic is limited to wet sand areas and along official trails.

Several activities are restricted in plover management areas, including dogs (even on a leash), vehicles, kites, drones, camping and fires. Visitors should follow instructions on posted signs or if needed, ask a park ranger for clarification.

Plovers nest in dry open sand, in tiny, shallow scrapes. Not only are nests easy to miss (or step on), but repeated disturbance by activities the bird considers a threat can cause the eggs to die.

OPRD is responsible for managing recreation on Oregon’s ocean shore, overseeing snowy plover management areas and the recreation restrictions that come with the legal agreement between OPRD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

More information, including maps of designated plover management areas, can be found at 

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