Climate-Smart Conservation of Beaches and Dunes for Western Snowy Plover Recovery in Monterey Bay


The Pacific Coast of North America is expected to be disproportionately affected by rising seas associated with climate change (Griggs et al. 2017). The federally listed Pacific Coast population of the western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) occupies beaches and dunes along the Pacific coastline of California, Oregon, and Washington, in the United States, and in Mexico, and therefore is also highly vulnerable to rising seas and other related climate change effects. The listed population has required intensive habitat and predator management to achieve modest population increases and it is likely that this will be necessary into the future. Because of the continued need for management, the snowy plover has been characterized as a conservation reliant species (Wiens and Gardali 2013) and restoration of the beach and dune ecosystem is a key conservation strategy identified in the Recovery Plan for the listed population (USFWS 2007).


Maintaining the recovered snowy plover population in the Monterey Bay area into the future will only be possible by increasing the resiliency of the beach and dune ecosystem and this will require collaborative efforts among state and federal agencies, conservation NGOs, private landowners, and other coastal stakeholders. Key activities in this collaboration are identifying and prioritizing conservation investments 2 | Page Climate-Smart Conservation of Beaches and Dunes for Snowy Plover Recovery in Monterey Bay at sites that are likely to be resilient to climate change, planning and implementing restoration projects that incorporate climate‐smart strategies and actions, and monitoring the response of the snowy plover and other ecosystem attributes. This guide provides a framework to help guide these collaborative conservation investments.


Prepared by Point Blue Conservation Science Kristina K. Neuman, Carleton R. Eyster, R. William Stein, and Thomas Gardali


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