Recreation restrictions related to western snowy plover lifted near Sand Lake

This year the threatened western snowy plover nested at South Sand Lake, just north of Tierra Del Mar, for the first time since 1984. The South Sand Lake site adjacent to Sitka Sedge State Natural Area was identified as a Recreation Management Area for western snowy plover conservation efforts in a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) developed by OPRD, USFWS, and ODFW in 2010. This site was included in the HCP because of its potential to attract plovers.

Photo/ Jack Haverty
Photo/ Jack Haverty

Restrictions on recreation have been in place since April of this year when the nesting plovers were first surveyed.

Since April, OPRD staff have monitored the birds’ presence and nesting activity with assistance from local residents. Multiple pairs of birds were observed at the site, and at least two females laid eggs. Unfortunately the nest was not successful, and the adult birds have since moved elsewhere.

Since there is no longer nesting activity, recreation restrictions related to western snowy plover presence at South Sand Lake are lifted for the remainder of the breeding period. Please note that motorized vehicles are still prohibited per Division 24 regulations.

Next year, starting March 15, seasonal recreation restrictions to benefit plover breeding will resume and OPRD will continue to monitor for their presence. This area is important to many shorebirds that are sensitive to disturbance, and we appreciate your efforts to allow shorebirds a place to forage, nest, and relax on their migration stopovers.

If you have any questions, please email OPRD at