Goleta Magazine 2022-2023 - 39

Top to bottom: Panoramic of Coal Oil Point Reserve; Director of Coal Oil
Point Reserve, Cristina Sandoval; Surfers at Sands Beach at Sunrise.
time, she said,
it had been 40
years since the last nest had
been observed at COPR and its
Sands Beach. With more foot
traffic and other disturbances in
the dunes where the birds nest,
the place had become unsafe
and as a result, the plovers were
avoiding the area for nesting.
" A threatened species leaving
COPR because of too much disturbance
meant the reserve was
not doing its job, " said Sandoval.
" And if there is any place wildlife
should feel safe, it is in an ecological
reserve. "
So, with the guidance of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
COPR began decades of education
and awareness-building
on behalf of the snowy plovers.
Docents and interns stationed
themselves at strategic points on
the sand to protect the birds and
their sensitive habitat, and to
encourage conversations about
their conservation efforts. COPR
staff put up educational signage
asking people to share the
beach with the birds, and they
also helped to care for abandoned
eggs and chicks.
" Our first goal was to manage
people, not plovers, " Sandoval
said.
" We wanted to teach
people to share the beach with
plovers, and create a win-win
management plan that allowed
for the plovers to live in peace
and the people to recreate. "
Today, Coal Oil Point Reserve
hosts hundreds of plovers during
their seasonal winter aggregation
and averages 30 fledged
chicks per year.
But challenges can arise from
nature itself, as happened in the
summer of 2019, when unusually
large waves at high tide inundated
the plover nesting area.
Sandoval rushed to the scene
before the ocean could claim
all the flooded nests. The Santa
Barbara Zoo, already part of a
regional snowy plover conservation
effort with COPR, jumped
in to help, taking in the eggs
Sandoval rescued, hatching and
rearing them in their incubation
room and flight pen. In 2021 the
zoo facility released " almost as
many plovers as were released
in the entire season of 2019, " they
said. That includes a release
of nine plovers at COPR in late
September.
Their partnership with the zoo
allows COPR to focus on other
aspects of its snowy plover
program,
such as outreach,
research and education.
" We have to always be looking
50 years ahead, " Sandoval said.
" These days, conservation is not
only about protecting habitat; it
is also about creating resilience
to a changing world. "
"
If there is any place wildlife should
feel safe, it is in an ecological
preserve. "
CRISTINA SANDOVAL
Director of the Coal Oil Point Reserve
2022 * 2 0 2 3 EDITION 39

Goleta Magazine 2022-2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Goleta Magazine 2022-2023

Contents
Goleta Magazine 2022-2023 - Cover1
Goleta Magazine 2022-2023 - Cover2
Goleta Magazine 2022-2023 - Contents
Goleta Magazine 2022-2023 - 4
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