U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California

News.bytes Extra, issue 183

VOLUNTEERS JOIN BLM TO 'PULL FOR PLOVERS'

Volunteers and members of the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office staff spent a good part of Sunday, Nov. 14, "pulling for plovers" at the South Spit Cooperative Management Area at Humboldt Bay.

The group was on hand to remove new sprouts of non-native beach grass that threaten to spread into a habitat management area for the snowy plover, a threatened bird that needs sandy beach areas for nesting. (continued below)

three of the volunteers working in the plover management area
Above, a group of volunteers working in the plover management area.

The volunteer event was a great success, said project coordinator Emily Evans.

"We had several interested members of the community help out, including a dedicated professor and students from College of the Redwoods," she said. "Everyone worked hard all morning, only pausing to stretch or munch on chocolate chip cookies. We can already see the difference that the efforts of these volunteers has made to improve habitat for the plover."

Volunteers used a careful eye to leave native dune grass sprouts, such as the one below, while piling the non-native plants for disposal.
a native dune grass sprout

One participant said he "can't wait" to hear the report that there are plovers nesting on the South Spit next year.

"We hope to soon see plovers nesting in the habitat restoration area." Evans said. "If they do, it will be in part because of the dedication of volunteers who have been 'pulling for plovers.'"

The BLM Arcata Field Office is working closely with Humboldt County, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Table Bluff Reservation (Wiyot Tribe) to manage the South Spit -- a narrow, sandy strip of land between southern Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean -- for a variety of uses. In addition to improving habitat for snowy plovers, the partners are providing public recreation access, including vehicle routes in areas carefully planned to avoid plover habitat disturbance. People also visit the South Spit for waterfowl hunting, picnicking, photography and to enjoy the scenic beauty.

Evans said the Arcata Field Office plans more volunteer work days, involving college and high school classes in South Spit improvement projects.

Jaime, a volunteer, settles in to pull beach grass from a section of the snowy plover habitat area
Above: Jaime, a volunteer, settles in to pull beach grass from a section of the snowy plover habitat area.

Below: a volunteer works on removing non-native beach grass sprouts while leaving the broad-leafed native dune grass.

a volunteer bends over to removing non-native beach grass sprouts while leaving the broad-leafed native dune grass

Sunday's event was not the first time volunteers have joined the "pulling for plovers" effort. In October, students from College of the Redwoods worked for two days to help the BLM improve the birds' habitat. (below)
In October, students from College of the Redwoods worked for two days to help the BLM improve the birds' habitat

News.bytes, issue 183