NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) – State regulators could consider banning dogs from a popular stretch of Newport Beach in order to protect a rare bird species.

This week, the California Coastal Commission will have to decide whether to ban dogs from the popular stretch of sand known by locals as Dog Beach located on the north end of Newport Beach, near the Santa Ana River Jetty which separate Newport Beach from Huntington Beach.

(CBS2)

Although, officially, dogs are not allowed in that area, owners have been bringing their dogs here for years to run free. The mouth of the Santa Ana River is managed by Orange County and the ban there has not been enforced.

However, the current issue stems from a small bird known as the snowy plover, which nests on the dunes just feet from the frolicking dogs. The bird has nowhere else to nest, according to the environmental nonprofit group Orange County Coast Keepers.

Several environmental groups are coming together to ask the CCC to ban dogs from the jetty when it begins three straight days of meetings at the Newport Beach Civic Center Wednesday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of local neighbors have also been complaining about visitors to the river-mouth who keep their dogs off leash and don’t clean up after them.

Wednesday’s CCC meeting is expected to draw a large crowd of people on both sides of the issue.

“I don’t agree with that, I think the dogs should be able to run free, they don’t really bother anyone,” surfer Hunter Hastie said. “Everyone kind of comes here as a community and brings all their dogs here all the time, they have a great time, and it’s a good place to do it, right on the end of the beach here.”

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