Friday, February 22, 2013

Ranchers say park plan will blanket pastures in sand

Ranchers say park plan will blanket pastures in sand - Tess Elliott/Point Reyes Light, West Marin's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Weekly

European beachgrass, long favored by natural resource management agencies as a means to stabilize shifting sands, has fallen out of fashion with the National Park Service. Not so with local ranchers.

In a letter sent to the superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore last week, the Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association slammed a proposal to expand the removal of beachgrass and other invasive plants from coastal dunes, arguing that it lacks scientific grounds and poses immediate threats to agriculture.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Consider the plight of the plover protectors

Consider the plight of the plover protectors - Uri Driscoll/for the Times-Standard

We simply don't know how many plovers we have here on the North Coast. I personally have counted approximately 50 snowy plovers on numerous occasions on Clam Beach alone this winter. About half appear unbanded. Those are not counted in the official tally. Some have said they are from inland populations but that is only a guess. They could easily be from unfound local sites as well.

Last year three college students were responsible for surveying over 7,000 acres of local habitat deemed critical to the snowy plover. Obviously, lack of resources and qualified personnel make such a task somewhat overwhelming.

Some researchers have brought up strong concerns over the handling of eggs and chicks and the stress this causes the parents. It would stand to reason that birds would find new places to nest after experiencing the harassment deemed necessary to check eggs and capture and band baby chicks.