Editor, Daily Nexus,
If I may, I’d like to shed a little light on the controversial issue of the snowy plover.
On Monday the 28th, Shoreline Preservation Fund heard a proposal from Cristina Sandoval, director of the Coal Oil Point Reserve, requesting funding for the Snowy Plover Protection Plan. However, rather than giving you distorted facts, I would like to give you the complete story on the state of Sands Beach and its inhabitants to clear up any misconceptions you may have.
The snowy plover is a threatened bird that roosts on our coast; they’re the little white and sandy colored guys that hunker down at the mouth of the Devereux Slough. The plan being proposed by Cristina is an attempt to find a balance between recreation at Sands and protecting the habitat of the plover. During the winter months, when tides are higher, the plovers are squeezed out of their normal habitat and spill out of the protective rope area. The proposed plan expands the roped off area 50 feet further toward the main entrance of Sands to accommodate the birdies as well as replace the current wooden stakes with more permanent metal rods. Then, as it warms up in the summer months and folks shed their North Face fleeces and head out to Sands, the protected area will be shrunk back down by 50 feet to its former size to make way for the rising number of beach goers.
Furthermore, the Delta Trail running from the parking lot to the beach will be closed and the land surrounding will be restored to its natural state. The trail empties right smack in the middle of the critical habitat, not too healthy for the plovers trying to raise a family. A small price to pay for those not wanting to walk all the way around through the main entrance. The scariest part of this situation is that if it fails and the plover population begins to drop, the good ol’ boys from Fish and Wildlife Service come in and make their own recommendation to protect the plover. Our neighbors up north near Vandenberg were confronted with the same problem of preserving plover habitat, unfortunately, they didn’t have Cristina to guide them through the balancing act of protection and recreation and the FWS shut their entire beach down. So I urge all of you, if you love our beach, pay your respect to the boundaries and tell people to keep their doggies nearby when walking through Sands.
As residents of this unique shoreline community, it’s our duty to preserve its resources, most importantly the threatened plovers.