The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public input on its draft periodic status review for snowy plover.
The agency is recommending maintaining the species’ classification as endangered in the state of Washington.
The Pacific coast breeding population of snowy plovers extends from Washington to northwestern Mexico. In Washington, the species is found only in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. The Washington population consists of less than 100 adult birds and is dependent on immigration from Oregon.
Populations are responding to intensive conservation efforts, but viability analysis indicates that the Pacific coast population is unlikely to reach the federal recovery objective of 3,000 birds without further conservation actions.
The draft periodic status review for the Western snowy plover is available for review at WDFW’s publications webpage.
The public can provide comments on the drafts through Aug. 5.
Snowy plovers are small, pale-colored shorebirds with dark patches on either side of the upper breast.
The birds prefer coastal sand spits, dune-packed beaches, beaches at creek and river mouths and salt pans at lagoons and estuaries. The breeding season from April through early August. Biologists attribute the decline of the species to loss of nesting habitat due to development of dune areas, the encroachment of European beach grass into former open dune areas, human disturbance of nest sites, and nest predation by raccoons, ravens and non-native red foxes.