Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date

Winter 2009


Snowy plover -- Oregon -- Management, Coastal zone management -- Oregon, Snowy plover -- Habitat -- Conservation -- Oregon


The Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) breeds along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in California, Oregon, and Washington and at alkaline lakes in the interior of the western United States (Page et al. 1991). Loss of habitat, predation pressures, and disturbance have caused the decline of the coastal population of Snowy Plovers and led to the listing of the Pacific Coast Population of Western Snowy Plovers as Threatened on March 5, 1993 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993). Oregon Western Snowy Plovers are known to winter along the coast of Oregon as well as migrate to other wintering locations, mainly in California (Lauten et al. 2001, ORNHIC unpublished data). Previous winter surveys along the Oregon coast (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, unpublished data, ORNHIC unpublished data) have documented the locations of wintering Snowy Plovers. Coos Bay North Spit (CBNS) is one location where plovers are known to winter. During the winter of 2008-2009, Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) contracted Kerr Contractors, Inc. to complete repairs on the North Jetty of the Coos River. ACOE consulted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding impacts to sensitive species including Western Snowy Plover. ACOE contracted Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center (ORNHIC) to complete two Snowy Plover surveys prior to jetty repair work, two plover surveys per week during repair work, and two plover surveys post repair work to document any potential impacts to wintering plovers.

In winter, plovers tend to spend much of their time roosting along the high tide wrack line, but also spend time foraging, often on the wet sand near the surf (ORHIC, unpublished data). At CBNS, winter Snowy Plover survey data has shown that plovers will roost and feed on the beach north of the North Jetty, but also spend time roosting on the South Spoil and Habitat Restoration Areas (HRAs) east of the foredune. Large 20-ton dump trucks and other large equipment were used to haul material to the North Jetty. Vehicles used the foredune road that bisects the HRAs. Our objectives were to survey and monitor Snowy Plovers on the beach, HRAs, and South Spoil, to document the number of plovers using the area and any impacts or disturbance to the plovers during the North Jetty repair project.

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