Protecting Endangered Wildlife – Shoreline Birds Especially Vulnerable


The wildlife found in the Regional Parks is part of the mystery, magic, and scenery of a healthy natural environment. Thriving ecosystems enhance our quality of life and enrich our experience in nature.

The Park District takes its mission of protecting wildlife in its parks very seriously and monitors habitats and wildlife closely to maintain healthy ecosystems. In many cases, intervention is needed to protect wildlife, especially for endangered species. In the Regional Parks there are more than two dozen species protected by federal and state laws and 60 special-status species protected by law.

Protected and threatened shorebird species are particularly and especially vulnerable, requiring regular monitoring, habitat restoration, and predatory management. In some cases, the Park District is legally required to remove predators when endangered species are at imminent risk of harm.

In the Regional Parks there are more than 10 endangered and threatened bird species and 40 special-status bird species, including the burrowing owl, Ridgway's rail, and black rail. The Park District has a legal responsibility to protect these endangered or listed wildlife species to conserve biodiversity and to prevent the extinction of these valuable resources. Here are some of the Park District’s current and ongoing habitat preservation and restoration projects.

Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Shorebird Sanctuary:
Park District staff and volunteers have been working to create a Shorebird Sanctuary at the “new marsh” in MLK, Jr. Regional Shoreline to provide quality nesting habitat for the federally threatened western snowy plover. The tidal marshes of this shoreline park are very productive feeding and resting places for thousands of migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, grebes, and terns. More than 200 bird species are known to visit this park.

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Marsh Restoration:
The black rail habitat enhancement at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline has proved very effective. The Park District removed non-native plants, trash, and debris to improve tidal flow. The black rail population has increased by 400 percent at the site.

Crown Beach Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary:
For the past 16 years, Park District staff and volunteers have been working to create the Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary at Crown Beach for the Ridgway's rail. The sanctuary provides a critical habitat for nearly 200 bird species. Recently, staff removed invasive non-native plants at the site and planted native bird-friendly plants.

For more information on bird restoration projects and how you can help, visit

Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor