March 16, 2004 > Road Closure Protects Babies
Road Closure Protects Babies
by Carmen Minch, Outdoor Recreation Planner
Spring weather has arrived! With warm weather, the birds and bees, including western snowy plovers, are thinking loving thoughts leading to nesting season at the tidelands of Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Every year, snowy plovers and other shorebirds including American avocets and black-necked stilts nest in the tidal flats using levees and dried salt ponds along Marshlands Road leading to the Dumbarton Fishing Pier. This 2 1/2 mile road is enticing to young chicks as a playground while mom and dad are looking the other way. To protect the gray and white feathered chicks that wander along the road in almost perfect camouflage, motorized vehicles are prohibited during this year's nesting season, starting April 1st and projected to last until August 31st.
Listed as "threatened," in 1993, snowy plovers are hard pressed to share their nesting places with humans at a time when the weather invites outdoor activities. At our local wildlife refuge, the road closure allows a greater chance for their survival.
Anglers and hikers can take heart! There is still access to the pier during this period (fishing ON the pier does not require a fishing license). Bicycles and pedestrians are allowed along Marshlands Road throughout the season and on weekends, a shuttle, by reservation, will be available. The shuttle will leave the Visitor Center parking lot at 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with return trips from the fishing pier at 12:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Call (510) 792-0222 for information and shuttle reservations.