Protections Won for Snowy Plover Habitat in California
December 15, 2004
After three years of working with the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Sierra Club reached a final agreement in mid-December that will protect the Western snowy plover and other threatened species at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. Previously, DPR allowed off-road vehicles to drive throughout the coastal dune complex and along the beach, which destroyed the habitat of snowy plovers, California least terns, and steelhead trout. However, thanks to the new agreement DPR will close a half a mile of the beach to traffic during the snowy plover breeding season from March to October. This area will be in addition to 1.5 miles of year-round closure brought about in earlier negotiations. The agreement, reached under the Endangered Species Act, also establishes a half million dollar fund for public education, statewide recovery programs for the plover, and an investment to increase volunteer programs. Additionally, the DPR will establish a policy to avoid creek crossings and fund an alternative crossing feasibility study within the park.
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