Over 400 wildlife species call the dunes home. There are many unique species that occupy this sandy landscape. Western snowy plover, a small shorebird, uses the flat, sandy beaches and sparsely vegetated foredunes to breed and raise its young.
You could easily miss the Siuslaw hairy necked tiger beetle as it skitters across the sand. Just recently, the Humboldt marten has been located on the dunes—the only subspecies to live in a non-snowy environment. It calls the impenetrable shrub fields and woodlands its home.
As life on the dunes evolved, organisms – be they animal, lichen, fungi, or other plants – evolved to rely on specific members of their community. As plant life on the dunes began to change with the introduction of non-native species, so did the wildlife.
The snowy plover of today are finding fewer and narrower areas of open sand to raise their young. Predators, like coyote, are finding it easier to catch dinner on the dunes with the dense vegetation providing cover for them as they hunt – and their numbers are increasing.
It is up to us to stop the march of invasive species, to save the dunes and its precious wildlife.