News Release

For Release: Jan. 9, 2009          
Contact:   Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332; Kathy Stangl (707) 825-2310

Prescribed Fire Planned to Improve Snowy Plover Habitat

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct a prescribed fire at the South Spit Cooperative Management Area to improve habitat for western snowy plovers and restore native plants.
Crews plan to begin the 24-acre project Jan. 13, with completion targeted for early February.  Burning will take place only on days when weather conditions allow for a safe and successful burn. Smoke may be visible from the project area on the south side of Humboldt Bay.
The objective is to remove non-native European beach grass and yellow bush lupine.  These plants out-compete native plants and inhibit the natural movement of the dunes which is important for native plants.
"This project is part of our continuing commitment to improving habitat for the western snowy plover," said Lynda Roush, manager of the BLM Arcata Field Office.  "Results of our past projects have been encouraging, with plovers nesting and chicks fledging in the restored areas."
Following the burns, BLM crews will use heavy equipment to re-contour the dunes to improve nesting habitat.
The project will expand an existing 27-acre improved habitat area to about 51-acres.
Public access to the South Spit will remain open during burning.  Traffic control will be in place.  Visitors should use caution because smoke may limit visibility.
Western snowy plovers are sparrow-sized shorebirds listed as "threatened" on the federal endangered species list.  They depend on beaches for nesting and rearing their young.


Arcata Field Office     1695 Heindon Rd.     Arcata, CA  95521