Nesting restrictions to aid plover recovery March 15-Sept. 15

Release Date: Mar 17, 2016

Contact(s): Lisa Romano, Paul Meznarich

Beachgoers are urged to help in recovery efforts of the threatened Western snowy plover by respecting nesting areas and beach restrictions March 15 through Sept. 15. The plovers, a small shorebird, nest on open sand along Oregon’s beaches. During nesting season, they can become frightened easily by human disturbances and abandon their eggs.

“We’re making great strides in reversing the downward slide of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “It takes everyone’s efforts, so we hope people will do their part in sharing the beach this nesting season.”

Plovers are small and well-camouflaged and can be easily harmed by vehicles and dogs, often inadvertently. Last year plover monitors discovered tracks from an off-highway vehicle that had traversed across a closed area and crushed a nesting adult and its chicks.

Nesting areas are delineated by ropes and sign posts. Maps and signage at trailheads and parking lots also will alert visitors of nearby nesting areas. Nesting areas are closed to all entrance. In addition, the dry sand surrounding the nesting areas are closed to the public. During nesting season, some activities are also restricted on the adjacent wet sand. Hiking and horseback riding, however, are permitted on all wet sand.

The following activities are prohibited around nesting enclosures and their beaches:

  • Camping
  • Bicycling
  • Hiking and horseback riding (permitted on wet sand only)
  • Kite flying
  • Riding motorized vehicles of any kind
  • Walking dogs on or off leash

All restricted beach areas have nearby beaches that permit dogs on leash and kites. Oregon State Parks maintains online maps of dog-accessible beaches during shorebird nesting seasons at

The Western snowy plover is a federally protected shorebird. Nesting areas within the Siuslaw National Forest include:

  • Baker/Sutton beaches
  • Siltcoos estuary south to within a ½ mile of Sparrow Park Road, which includes:
    • Oregon Dunes Day Use beach
    • Tahkenitch Creek estuary
  • Ten Mile Creek estuary, starting from ¼ mile south of the Douglas/Coos County line to the Coast Guard South OHV Trail

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed Western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993. Habitat loss from invasive European beachgrass, as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps which attract predators, have contributed to the birds’ decline.

Part of the Siuslaw National Forest and its partners’ Dunes Restoration strategy is aimed at removing European beachgrass near nesting areas to improve habitat conditions.

Detailed information about nesting restrictions and site locations, as well as links to resources from Oregon State Parks, can be found on the Siuslaw Web site at

Carsonite posts and rope delineate snowy plover nesting areas