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Snow Plovers in San Francisco Bay: Recovery in a Shifting Landscape

Date(s) - 04/19/2018
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Northbrae Community Church

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Across the Pacific Coast, Western Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) face many hurdles to population recovery, including habitat loss, increasing predator populations, and human disturbance.  Within the South SF Bay, Snowy Plovers breed and forage in former salt production ponds, where they face significant challenges to recovery in a changing environment.  The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest wetland restoration project on the West Coast, aiming to restore nearly 15,000 acres of salt ponds back to tidal marsh.  While the project has numerous positive benefits, it will result in a dramatic reduction in critical habitat for Snowy Plovers.  The San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory has been working closely with the project to enhance remaining Snowy Plover habitat in hopes of reaching federal recovery goals.

Plover Program Director Ben Pearl has been a life-long lover of nature, spending countless hours as a youth exploring tide pools and oak forests near his hometown of San Luis Obispo.  He received his B.S. from UC Santa Cruz in Ecology and his M.S. from San Jose State, where he studied wintering Snowy Plovers in the SF Bay.  He has worked with SFBBO for the past five years, primarily studying Snowy Plovers, but also working with Burrowing Owls and helping to restore tidal marsh-upland transition zones.

Snowy Plover photo by Sebastian Kennerknecht