Community Meeting: Snowy Plover Plan for Balboa Peninsula

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The western snowy plover.
— Photo by “Mike” Michael L. Baird / Wikipedia

The city is hosting a community meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at Marina Park to discuss the revised Western Snowy Plover Management Plan for east Balboa Peninsula beaches.

The focus area of the plan is the federally designated critical habit located between B and G streets but, it also includes the beach areas to the east.

The western snowy plover is a small shorebird that can be found along the Pacific Coast from Baja to Washington. Since 1993, the plover has been listed as a “threatened” species and is federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The western snowy plover.
— Photo courtesy city of Newport Beach

A population of plovers live along about a mile of coastline on the Balboa Peninsula for a majority of the year.

Under the ESA, the area between B Street to G Street, is designated a “critical habitat” area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Management and protection of the critical habitat area is an important part of the USFWS’s recovery plan that aims to increase the plovers’ population and meet specific criteria to one day remove them from the endangered species list.

Newport Beach initiated management of the area in 2009. These efforts included monitoring the designated critical habitat area and installing fencing, which helps to delineate and recognize the critical habitat area to help minimize and protect the area from pets, human activities and vehicle use.

The average daily sighting of plovers over the past seven seasons shows a pattern that their population has grown, in average, since 2009.

Between 2015 and 2016, there has been a slight drop in the population. City staff believes this is partly due to the limited ability to monitor the area as often as we had previously.

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