Arcata Field Office

Mike Thompson Wildlife Area Ecology and History

Sand surrounding a western snowy plover nest at Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay.

The western snowy plover is a threatened bird that makes its nest in the sand from March - September. Its small speckled eggs are difficult to see. You may see fenced areas with signs reading, "Temporary closure for snowy plovers." These areas protect the western snowy plover and its nest from predators and other disturbances. By limiting your use around these protection zones, you are contributing to the recovery of the western snowy plover.

 

Blue sky and clouds over dune vegetation and tree at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay.

 

In 2002, the BLM assumed the lead in cooperatively managing about 600 acres of the 800 acre, 4.5 mile long tract of land on the south and west side of Humboldt Bay known as the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit Humboldt Bay, or “the South Spit”. At that time, there were approximately 300 acres of the South Spit that were identified as being infested with invasive weeds (predominately European beachgrass and annual grasses) and stabilized dune scrub. Since then, the BLM has eradicated European beachgrass from over 64 acres of low, hummocky foredunes on the west side of the South Spit Road through consistent manual removal with the assistance of the CCC that has resulted in northern foredune plant community recovery and dramatic increases in endangered beach layia populations.

 

Wiyot woman in traditional attire looking out over Humboldt Bay.

The Wiyot people have lived around Humboldt Bay and within the Redwood Belt for over one thousand years, moving seasonally from and to the South Spit, which they know as Pi'mad.

Traditionally, Wiyot people established villages, camps, and activity areas on Pi'mad where they could gather and process a variety of resources such as clams, marine snails, fish eels, sea mammals, occasional beached whales, and other foodstuffs and basketry materials. Driftwood and logs that washed up on the beaches were used to make houses and canoes. Trails connected the bay, with its canoe access from the mainland, to Pi'mad and south to Table Bluff and the Eel River. Wiyot descendants still live, raise their families, and work in the area, using their skills and knowledge to protect the resources their ancestors valued.


Bureau of Land Management
Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road
Arcata, CA 95521-4573
Phone: (707) 825-2300
Fax: (707) 825-2301
Office Hours: 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
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