A fencing enclosure has been installed at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey to help protect the western snowy plover, a small endangered shorebird that nests at the beach.

The protective fencing, which is made of orange plastic mesh and is 100 feet deep and 300 feet long with an opening to the ocean, was installed through a joint effort, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Officials said the enclosure was constructed at the beach to prevent the public, vehicles, and animals from disturbing the critical habitat of the snowy plover, which is about the size of a sparrow.

After a three-year study of the nesting site, a management plan was implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game, Beaches and Harbors, the City of Santa Monica, cities from the South Bay, the Los Angeles Audubon Societies and biologist Tom Ryan of Ryan Ecological Consulting.

This management plan will serve as a model for protecting sensitive resources while allowing appropriate beach access to people who wish to surf and walk along the shore around the snowy plover enclosure, county officials said.

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