Praise Sailors for Beach Cleanup to Protect Wildlife

Target: Sailors and Military personnel at Naval Base Coronado

Goal: Applaud sailors for combing the beaches along San Diego’s coastline for debris that is harmful to wildlife

A strip of coastline in San Diego is home to not only Navy SEALs, Marines and sailors, but also to two bird populations that use this location for nesting. Typically, Silver Strand beach is used to train sailors who often use ammo, such as dummy bullets, that ends up in the sand or gets washed out to sea. Other items among the debris included plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, cigarette packages, tires and cans. Commend the Sailors at Naval Base Coronado for cleaning up the beaches and protecting wildlife.

The bird populations that use this particular stretch of beach for breeding are the California Least Tern and the Western Snowy Plover. Records indicate that 139 plover nests and 1,146 tern nests were discovered near the military base in 2011. Tiffany Shepard, wildlife biologist for Naval Base Coronado, explained how 30 to 40 nests per year are destroyed during training exercises.

Both bird populations are extremely vulnerable in that the Least Tern is federally classified as an endangered subspecies and the Snowy Plover has a difficult time nesting on the beaches due to increased anthropogenic activity. Increased beach and ocean military training, with both the Navy SEALs and Marines, is stirring up concern among wildlife biologists, particularly because nesting season is just about to get underway. Fortunately, as training for the sailors continues, officers are given maps along with visible blue stakes in the sand that show where the nests are located.

In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collaborated with the Navy to compose an environmental impact report, in which the military is said to honor its pledge to not harm any of the birds during its exercise training on the beach. Commend the sailors and military at Naval Base Coronado for their dedication to conservation and preservation of wildlife.


Dear Sailors and Military personnel,

While you are participating in beach training, two bird populations also share the same strip of coastline for mating and breeding. The California Least Tern and the Western Snowy Plover are just about to kick off their nesting season that extends from March to September. Both bird populations are highly sensitive to any human activity and the Least Tern is already listed as an endangered subspecies.

By combing the beaches of Silver Strand, you have not only helped to clean up the beaches where you train hard, but also disposed of harmful plastics and other inorganic materials that can be dangerous to birds and other wildlife. Therefore, I thank you for your dedication to restore the Silver Strand coastline by clearing debris to help protect threatened wildlife.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: BP America via Flickr

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