UCSB has announced new measures for the increased protection of snowy plover nesting populations along the Coal Oil Point Reserve from dogs who tread near where the birds live. The snowy plover, a small, endangered shorebird, has been the subject of an ongoing and intensive conservation program in Santa Barbara.
In 2006, the California Coastal Commission banned dogs and horses from entering Coal Oil Point Reserve in an attempt to curb disturbance of the birds during their nesting season. UCSB then received approval for the allowance of dogs on the beach only if they were on leashes, in accordance with Santa Barbara County law. Docents have since monitored the beach to ask pedestrians and dog owners to avoid the protected areas.
These most recent conservation measures aim to enforce the leash law on a more consistent and stricter basis. Beginning March 1, UCSB police officers will be stationed between Coal Oil Point and Elwood Beach to distribute warnings or citations to those not in compliance with the leash law. Additionally, docents will continue to provide education and outreach to beachgoers.
“The university hopes that this final phase will demonstrate that dogs do not have to be prohibited from the beach in the future,” said Cristina Sandoval, director of the Coal Oil Point Reserve, in a recent press release. “UCSB greatly appreciates the collaboration and support from beach users and dog owners, and is committed to finding a balanced management solution that ensures environmental protection and recreation on the beach.”