Santa Cruz County beaches are thriving natural habitat for numerous species of wildlife and plants. It is not a sacrifice zone to be thoughtlessly discarded in favor of human recreation and amusement.
It is sad to note that such habitat is rare in Santa Cruz County, so much so that shore bird numbers have declined precipitously as their feeding, resting and breeding areas have been destroyed by development and dominated by human activity.
Recently, local dog owners have pressured Santa Cruz County officials to allow dogs to run off-leash on Santa Cruz County beaches, in the very spot where this egret is feeding.
Shore birds perceive dogs as predators, especially off-leash dogs roaming free across the beach and uplands. The birds take flight, interrupting their feeding, resting and nesting behaviors, reducing their viability in their home habitat.
It is important to protect and preserve the remaining natural habitat on Santa Cruz beaches, which are a critical part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Dogs must be kept on-leash and County leash laws must be strictly enforced.
“Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold