The San Luis Obispo Coast District of California State Parks monitors 45 miles of coastline in San Luis Obispo County for Western Snowy Plover. Efforts include monitoring of population counts, adult plover behavior, nests, predator and human activity, and chicks and fledglings.
For the 2019 monitoring season, State Parks conducted counts from October 2018 to February 2019. Our District beaches have historically been utilized by plover as wintering grounds, rather than in the breeding season. Our area has seen a general increase in Corvid (including ravens) presence on most beaches. To stop Corvids from preying on the nests, staff constructed mini enclosures. While the Sandspit was the only beach in the District to meet recovery standards in 2019, it still had the lowest number of breeding adults within the past 14 years. High tides and a narrow beach were other factors that may have impacted the low numbers. Morro Strand State Beach had its most productive nesting year recorded without using nest enclosures, as predators did not find the nests until the end of the season.
During the May survey, a minimum of 77 adult plovers were observed. District beaches had a hatch rate of 33% in 2019, down from the average rate of 48% (2005-2018). 44% of nest failures are due to predators.
The following table shows the population count from county beaches during 2019.