The Snowy Plover Recovery Project works towards the recovery of the federally threatened Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) by surveying the salt ponds of the San Francisco Bay to locate breeding habitat. SFBBO biologists monitor plover populations by determining nest and fledging success, identifying nest predators with remote cameras systems, and determining if habitat enhancements help to provide higher quality nesting habitat for Snowy Plovers. The project identifies management actions and works directly with land managers in order to optimize nesting habitat on dry salt ponds and islands. Researching Snowy Plovers and their salt pond habitat is vital to reach the USFWS Recovery Goal of supporting 500 breeding adult plovers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Snowy Plover Nest Cameras
The Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management recently published the results of our Western Snowy Plover nest predation study using nest cameras (Demers and Robinson-Nilsen 2012). Access the article here.
Report Banded Snowy Plovers!
The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has been banding Western Snowy Plover chicks in the South San Francisco Bay salt ponds to track plover movements and survival in the salt ponds. The chicks received two bands on each leg, giving them their own individual four color combination. In 2008 we banded 83 chicks, and in 2009, we banded 113.
If you see any banded Snowy Plovers in the South Bay please let us know. Please record the location, date, and the four-color band combination and email your sightings to Karine Tokatlian, Plover Program Director at email@example.com.
Snowy Plover Habitat Enhancement
Western Snowy Plovers nest on the dry former salt evaporation ponds in the South Bay, and many nests are lost each year to predators. By improving their breeding habitat on the South Bay Salt Ponds, we’re hoping to reverse that trend. Through this work, we removed many of the posts throughout the ponds that served as perches for predators, removed vegetation that was encroaching on nesting habitat, and spread oyster shells on the pond bottoms in experimental plots. The soil on many of the salt ponds is very dark brown or red, which may make light colored Snowy Plovers adults and nests stand out for predators. By adding other white objects, like oyster shells, to the pond bottoms, we aimed to provide camouflage for plovers and their nests, as well as provide cover for plover chicks to hide near. Drakes Bay Family Farm donated tons of oyster shells to the project.
California Dept. of Fish and Game
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
East Bay Regional Parks District
Hayward Area Regional Shoreline
California State Coastal Conservancy
USFWS Endangered Species Program
USFWS Coastal Program