Westernsnowyplover.org was created so that there could be a central forum for education, communication, and community involvement in the fight to protect and encourage recovery of the threatened western snowy plover. Many different groups, both public and private, are involved in species recovery; therefore it's crucial these groups coordinate efforts and share information to achieve effective solutions. The goal of westernsnowyplover.org is to foster an ongoing partnership and dialog between public agencies, organizations, land owners, site managers, field monitors, outreach and volunteer coordinators, and the general public. Ideally, this site will serve as a model for future species recovery projects.
According to the Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy Plover, the recovery objective is "to remove the Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants by: (1) increasing population numbers distributed across the range of the Pacific coast population of the western snowy plover; (2) conducting intensive ongoing management for the species and its habitat and developing mechanisms to ensure management in perpetuity; and (3) monitoring western snowy plover populations and threats to determine success of recovery actions and refine management actions" (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2007).
Westernsnowyplover.org assists in meeting this objective by creating a space where site managers, monitors, and volunteers from the entire habitat range can securely compile standardized population data and share valuable resources that will help the recovery effort be consistent throughout the range. For the public, this site offers educational information and resources, an outlet for inquiries, and the connection to local volunteer and outreach opportunities. Westernsnowyplover.org is a tool that supports multiple recommendations listed in the recovery plan; among these specific actions needed to achieve recovery goals are monitoring of breeding and wintering populations and their habitats, plus their immediate and long-term management and protection, scientific investigations to facilitate recovery, and public information and education programs about the western snowy plover.
This interactive website/database was first created in 2002 by a coalition of individuals interested in the preservation of the snowy plover. Its development has been funded by public grants and donations from private benefactors. Invaluable feedback and data have been shared by the recovery site managers and monitors from California's Recovery Unit 5, who are responsible for the largest number of breeding and wintering plovers, and who are identified as providing 40% of the total rangewide recovery target goal of breeding adult birds. All RU5 sites and subsites with monitoring programs contribute data, which allows an enhanced regional perspective. Website use has expanded beyond RU5 to RU6 and RU3, and we encourage the entire U.S. Pacific Coast range to continue its use for the duration of the western snowy plover recovery process.