"Point Reyes Beach and Pacific Ocean - February 1, 2016 11:30 am" by NPS Photo , public domain

Point Reyes

National Seashore - California

Point Reyes National Seashore is a vast expanse of protected coastline in Northern California’s Marin County. Beaches here include Wildcat Beach, with the cliffside Alamere Falls. On a rocky headland, the 1870 Point Reyes Lighthouse is a viewpoint for migrating gray whales. The Phillip Burton Wilderness features extensive trails through grassland, firs and pine forest, and up to the peak of Mount Wittenberg.

maps

Official Visitor Map of Point Reyes National Neashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Point Reyes - Visitor Map

Official Visitor Map of Point Reyes National Neashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official visitor map of Bear Valley in Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Point Reyes - Bear Valley

Official visitor map of Bear Valley in Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official visitor map of the Northern area of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Golden Gate - North

Official visitor map of the Northern area of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official visitor map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Golden Gate - Overview

Official visitor map of Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

brochures

50th Anniversary - Visitor Guide to Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Point Reyes - Guide 2012 - 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary - Visitor Guide to Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Visitor Guide to Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Point Reyes - Guide 2007

Visitor Guide to Point Reyes National Seashore (NS) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/pore https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Reyes_National_Seashore Point Reyes National Seashore is a vast expanse of protected coastline in Northern California’s Marin County. Beaches here include Wildcat Beach, with the cliffside Alamere Falls. On a rocky headland, the 1870 Point Reyes Lighthouse is a viewpoint for migrating gray whales. The Phillip Burton Wilderness features extensive trails through grassland, firs and pine forest, and up to the peak of Mount Wittenberg. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people. Point Reyes awaits your exploration. Point Reyes is located along the west coast of California approximately 30 miles (50 km) north of San Francisco. Travelers may approach the park from the winding scenic Highway 1, either from the north or the south. Visitors can also reach the park via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard or the Point Reyes/Petaluma Road. Bear Valley Visitor Center The park's primary Visitor Center provides an orientation of the park's roads, trails, and human and natural history. The interior exhibit space provides a glimpse of the diverse ecosystems and cultural heritage of the park. Audio-visual programs, shown in the auditorium, are available upon request. Ranger-led programs are offered on weekends. Natural history books, cards, and posters are for sale in the bookstore. Permits for backcountry camping, as well as beach fire permits, may be obtained here. The Bear Valley Visitor Center is located approximately 30 miles (50 km) north of San Francisco, less than 1 mile off of Highway 1 along Bear Valley Road. Travelers may approach the park via the winding scenic Highway 1, either from the north or the south. Visitors can also reach the park via Sir Francis Drake Boulevard or the Point Reyes/Petaluma Road. Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center Located at beautiful Drakes Beach, the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center contains exhibits that focus on maritime exploration in the 1500s, marine fossils, and marine environments. A minke whale skeleton is suspended from the ceiling. Allow 20–30 minutes to view exhibits. Park- and ocean-themed books, guides, and postcards, and maps, along with coffee and packaged snacks are for sale in the PRNSA bookstore adjacent to the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center. From the Bear Valley Visitor Center, head north 0.2 miles (0.3 km) to Bear Valley Rd. Turn left and follow Bear Valley Rd. 1.75 miles (2.8 km) northwest to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Turn left and follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd. 13.4 miles (21.4 km) west to Drakes Beach Rd. Tip: Follow road signs for “Lighthouse” until you see a sign for Drakes Beach. Turn left and follow Drakes Beach Rd. 1.6 miles (2.6 km) south to the Drakes Beach parking lot. Allow 30 minutes for the drive from Bear Valley. Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Center The Lighthouse Visitor Center offers exhibits on the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse, as well as on whales, seals and sea lions, wildflowers, birds, and maritime history. The Lighthouse Visitor Center is located 45 minutes west of Bear Valley on the Point Reyes Headlands, at the end of Sir Francis Drake Blvd. On weekends and holidays from late December through mid-April when visitation by whale watchers to the Lighthouse area is heavy, visitors may be required to ride a shuttle bus from Drakes Beach. From the Bear Valley Visitor Center (BVVC), head north 0.2 miles (0.3 km) to Bear Valley Rd. Turn left and follow Bear Valley Rd. 1.75 miles (2.8 km) northwest to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Turn left and follow Sir Francis Drake Blvd. 18.7 miles (29.9 km) west to the Point Reyes Lighthouse visitor parking lot. To get to the Lighthouse and Visitor Center from the visitors' parking lot, walk past the gate and continue west 0.4 miles (0.6 km). Allow 45 minutes for the drive from the BVVC. Coast Campground Coast Campground is nestled within a small coastal valley with easy access to the beach and tidepools. The beach is within 220 yards of the campground and tidepools are located ~720 yards to the southeast. One may access Coast Campground by foot, bicycle, or horse; not by boat, auto, or RV. The shortest approach on solid ground is via the 1.8-mile slightly uphill hike on the Laguna and Fire Lane Trails, starting at the Laguna Trailhead just east of the hostel. There are 12 regular sites and two group sites. Permit for a Regular site 20.00 Regular sites accommodate 1 to 6 people. We do not allow groups of more than six people to split up into multiple regular sites within the same campground. Groups of more than six are restricted to group sites in Coast, Sky, or Wildcat Campground only, and, similarly, may not purchase more than one site per campground. Everyone associated with your party at a given campground must stay in the same, single campsite. Small Group Permit for a Group Site 40.00 Small group permits are for parties of 7 to 14 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Large Group Permit for a Group Site 50.00 Large group permits are for parties of 15 to 25 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Coast Campsite 10 Coast Campsite 10, containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, and food storage locker. Coast Campsite 10 Coast Campsite 14 Coast Campsite 14, containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, and food storage locker. Coast Campsite 14 Glen Campground Glen Campground is located deep within a wooded valley protected from ocean breezes. The closest beach is 2.5-miles away. One may access Glen Camp by foot or bicycle; not by horse, boat, auto, or RV. The shortest route to Glen Camp is via a 4.6-mile hike from the Bear Valley Trailhead. To ride a bicycle to Glen Camp start at the Five Brooks Trailhead for a 6.3-mile bike ride. No groups (parties of seven or more), horses, or pack animals are allowed. There are 12 regular (e.g., one- to six-person) sites. Permit for a Regular site 20.00 Regular sites accommodate one to six (1 to 6) people. We do not allow groups of more than six people to split up into multiple regular sites within the same campground. Groups of more than six are restricted to group sites in Coast, Sky, or Wildcat Campground only, and, similarly, may not purchase more than one site per campground. Everyone associated with your party at a given campground must stay in the same, single campsite. Glen Campsite 4 Glen campsite 4 containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, food storage locker, and a tent. Glen campsite 4. Sky Campground Sky Campground is located on the western side of Mount Wittenberg at an elevation of 1025 feet. In clear weather, it has a sweeping view of Point Reyes, Drakes Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. It is a steep 4-mile hike down to the beach. One may access Sky Campground by foot, bicycle, or horse; not by boat, auto, or RV. The easiest and shortest approach is a 1.4-mile moderate uphill hike or bicycle ride from the Sky Trailhead (elevation 680 feet) via Sky Trail. There are 11 regular sites and one group site. Permit for a Regular site 20.00 Regular sites accommodate 1 to 6 people. We do not allow groups of more than six people to split up into multiple regular sites within the same campground. Groups of more than six are restricted to group sites in Coast, Sky, or Wildcat Campground only, and, similarly, may not purchase more than one site per campground. Everyone associated with your party at a given campground must stay in the same, single campsite. Small Group Permit for a Group Site 40.00 Small group permits are for parties of 7 to 14 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Large Group Permit for a Group Site 50.00 Large group permits are for parties of 15 to 25 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Sky Campsite 1 Sky Campsite 1 containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, and food storage locker. Sky Campsite 1 Sky Campsite 9 Sky Campsite 9 containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, and food storage locker. Sky Campsite 9 Sky Campground Vault Toilets Sky Campground vault toilets with photovoltaic panels on the roof. Sky Campground Vault Toilets Tomales Bay Boat-in Camping Tomales Bay boat-in camping is allowed on west-side National Park beaches north of Tomales Bay State Park's northern border (i.e., north of Indian Beach and Duck Cove). These beaches are tidally influenced and generally are small sandy coves backed against steep cliffs. Campers on Tomales Bay beaches must arrive by boat and may not hike, bike, or ride horses to the beaches. Twenty permits are available each day—9 for parties of 1 to 6 people, 8 for parties of 7 to 14, and 3 for parties of 15 to 25. Regular Tomales Bay Boat-in Camping Permit 20.00 Regular permits accommodate 1 to 6 people. We do not allow groups of more than 6 people to reserve multiple permits. Groups of more than six are restricted to 7- to 25-person group permits. Everyone associated with your party at a given beach must be under the same permit. Small Group Tomales Bay Boat-in Camping Permit (aka Boat B "site") 40.00 Small group permits are for parties of 7 to 14 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permit. If you reserve a Boat B permit, you are required to camp at Marshall or Tomales Beaches where vault toilets are provided, unless you have and use a portable toilet. Large Group Tomales Bay Boat-in Camping Permit (aka Marshall Beach Group or Tomales Beach Group "site") 50.00 Large group permits are for parties of 15 to 25 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permit. If you reserve the group permits for Marshall Beach or Tomales Beach, you are required to camp at the specified beach. Marshall Beach - July 11, 2020 A small tent is set up above a sandy beach that bends to the left in the distance. Marshall Beach with kayakers and a tent on July 11, 2020. Wildcat Campground Wildcat Campground is located in an open meadow on a bluff overlooking the ocean with a short walk to the beach. One may access Wildcat Campground by foot, bicycle, or horse; not by boat, auto, or RV. It is a 6.3-mile hike from Bear Valley Trailhead or a 5.5-mile hike from the Palomarin Trailhead. The only bicycling route is via a strenuous 6.7-mile ride along the Stewart Trail from the Five Brooks Trailhead. There are four regular (1- to 6-person) sites and three group (7- to 25-person) sites. Permit for a Regular site 20.00 Regular sites accommodate 1 to 6 people. We do not allow groups of more than six people to split up into multiple regular sites within the same campground. Groups of more than six are restricted to group sites in Coast, Sky, or Wildcat Campground only, and, similarly, may not purchase more than one site per campground. Everyone associated with your party at a given campground must stay in the same, single campsite. Small Group Permit for a Group Site 40.00 Small group permits are for parties of 7 to 14 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Large Group Permit for a Group Site 50.00 Large group permits are for parties of 15 to 25 people. Parties of six or fewer people are not permitted to reserve group permits/sites. Wildcat Campsite 3 Wildcat Campsite 3, containing two picnic tables, two charcoal grills, and two food storage lockers. Wildcat Campsite 3 (a group site) Wildcat Campsite 4 Sky Campsite 4 containing a picnic table and two tents. Wildcat Campsite 4 Wildcat Campsite 6 Wildcat Campsite 6, containing a picnic table, charcoal grill, and food storage locker. Wildcat Campsite 6 Point Reyes Beach and the Pacific Ocean Waves wash in from the left onto a long, straight stretch of undeveloped, low-lying coastline. Point Reyes Beach from the Point Reyes Lighthouse visitors' parking lot. Point Reyes Lighthouse A three-story-tall, white-sided, red-roofed lighthouse adjacent to three other small buildings. Point Reyes Lighthouse Historic RCA Coast Station KPH on December 15, 2018. A white, two-story art deco building beyond a green, grassy round-about. The Historic RCA Coast Station KPH. Pierce Point Ranch on June 8, 2020 A historic dairy ranch composed of white-painted buildings surrounded by dry grass and a few trees. Pierce Point Ranch Drakes Beach on July 27, 2019 A few dozens of visitors walk along or sit on towels at a sandy beach on a sunny day. Visitors enjoy a sunny day at Drakes Beach. Sunset on Tomales Point Photo taken at sunset looking south from Tomales Point with a large granite boulder on the left. Sunset on Tomales Point. Herd of Tule Elk on Tomales Point Herd of Tule Elk on Tomales Point Herd of Tule Elk on Tomales Point. Hikers and horse riders on Bear Valley Trail Hikers and horse riders on Bear Valley Trail. Hikers and horse riders on Bear Valley Trail. Point Blue Launches New Tool for Exploring Palomarin Field Station Bird Data For decades, Point Blue Conservation Science has been counting and banding birds at their Palomarin Field Station at the southern end of Point Reyes National Seashore. In some cases, their data sets extend back more than 50 years. Now, they have released a new portal making it easier than ever to explore that data: the Palomarin Field Station Data Explorer. Small olive-colored bird perched on a shrub. Scientists Discover New Species of Deep-sea Sponge in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Dozens of deep-sea sponges thrive off the California coast, but many are still unknown to science. Scientists recently described a new species of deep-sea sponge in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located just northwest of Point Reyes National Seashore. The white ruffled sponge is named <em>Farrea cordelli</em> for its discovery in the 1,286 square mile sanctuary. A white ruffled sponge illuminated in otherwise dark, deep water. 2012 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Recipients of the 2012 NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Shark Awareness Before heading into the ocean, review some safety information to further minimize the chances of a shark encounter. Shark and fish in the blue ocean waters Spike in Gray Whale Deaths Triggers Investigations Eastern Pacific gray whales have generally been doing well in recent years. It’s not hard to spot them off of the California coast in the winter and spring. It is far less common to find a dead gray whale washed up on shore. On average, fewer than 15 gray whales are found dead along western US coastlines each spring. But this spring, 81 gray whale carcasses have turned up dead, including 13 in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. The question is, why? Whale carcass on a beach 2019 Coho and Steelhead Smolt Trapping Season Nearly Over The coho and steelhead smolt trapping season got off to a late start this year. It has also been interrupted by late season storms. Although May is not over yet, it has already been one of the wettest in recent history with over 4.5 inches recorded at the Bear Valley rain gauge. Still, the numbers of year-old smolts migrating out to the ocean have been especially promising on Redwood Creek where biologists are operating one of their two traps. Two fishery crew members remove fish from a smolt trap with a net Preliminary 2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Results Are In This winter, biologists and volunteers counted 93 live adult coho salmon on Redwood Creek. A preliminary analysis of redd (nest) counts and measurements indicates that they also saw a preliminary total of 61 coho redds. On Olema Creek, surveys before and after the shutdown resulted in counts of 111 live adult coho, seven coho carcasses, and a preliminary total of 63 coho redds. Steelhead were also seen in all four streams that were surveyed. Biologist leaning over a creek with a measuring stick Migration Timing Changing in Different Ways for Birds at Point Reyes Migratory birds may travel great distances to take advantage of optimal feeding conditions. For example, birds that eat bugs may be adapted to arrive at their spring breeding grounds just as insects are emerging en masse after a cold winter. Other birds may journey to escape seasonal challenges like frigid temperatures. But now Earth’s climate is changing fast, in many ways and at many spatial scales. Wilson's warbler perched on a branch 2019 Snowy Plover Breeding Season Underway at Point Reyes The western snowy plover breeding season in Point Reyes National Seashore is already several weeks in. As of May 15th, park biologists found a total of 14 nests: one on Limantour, two on Kehoe Beach, four on the beach between Abbotts Lagoon and North Beach parking lot, three in the Abbotts Lagoon restoration area, and four south of the North Beach parking lot. Three eggs in a shallow depression in the sand Japanese Knotweed Management Making Headway Along Lagunitas Creek Native to Japan, China, and Korea, Japanese knotweed is considered the 10th most invasive plant in the world. It is hardy enough to survive on the slopes of active volcanoes and strong enough to penetrate concrete, making it a threat to both natural and developed areas. Although it is not widespread in California, it is found at a number of sites in Marin County. Roughly a third of the known populations are on National Park Service land in Lagunitas Creek. Dense stand of low, leafy vegetation beginning to crowd out other plants. Climate Corner, October 2018: How Can We Promote Climate Resiliency in California Forests? Disease. Fire. Changing climates. These emerged as powerful, interrelated forces shaping California forests at One Tam’s most recent Science Summit, "Into the Woods." Twisting, moss-covered trunks of coast live oaks on a fog-drenched hillside September 2018 Early Detection Newsletter Available The September 2018 issue of Early Detection News is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Get the highlights here. Purple, feathery tips of a flowering blade of johnsongrass Park Air Profiles - Point Reyes National Seashore Air quality profile for Point Reyes National Seashore. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Point Reyes NS as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Point Reyes NS. Point Reyes Lighthouse at night Shedding Light on Molting Harbor Seals in Marin In June and July, harbor seals haul out every day to molt, which means they shed their fur and grow a new layer. Counting the resting seals gives park biologists important information about how harbor seal numbers might be changing over time. During the 2018 molt season, a total count of 3,022 seals was recorded at eight Marin County monitoring sites. Dozens of harbor seals lying close together on a spit of sand Early Detection News - August 2018 The Invasive Species Early Detection Team (ISED) conducted August surveys at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area North District. Noteworthy detections this month included malfurada, Klamathweed, purple starthistle, and Andean tussockgrass. Malfurada - a plant with bright yellow flowers. 2018 Nesting Season Underway for Western Snowy Plovers at Point Reyes The western snowy plover breeding season is entering its peak period, which usually lasts from May until mid-July. Eleven of the 24 nests found since early April have failed due to predation (largely by common ravens) and environmental factors (e.g., tidal overwash). Five nests have hatched thus far Three camouflaged baby birds on the beach with colored bands on their legs 2018 Coho and Steelhead Smolt Migration Begins Coho smolt monitoring traps have just been installed on Redwood and Olema Creeks, but not before a few smolts were seen getting ready to head to the ocean even earlier in the month. Even more surprising were a few large schools of steelhead smolts and seven hatchery-reared adult coho spotted still hanging out in a pool in Redwood Creek in early March. Smolt trap set up in a creek 2018 Coho Spawning Runs Larger Than Expected Early January saw enough rainfall for adult coho salmon and steelhead trout to reach their stream spawning habitats. Despite this long wait, the coho and steelhead spawning run in both Olema and Redwood Creeks was larger than anticipated, even when factoring out the addition of hatchery-released coho in Redwood Creek. Large fish swimming over a rocky creek bed Western Snowy Plover Monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore Western Snowy Plovers nest in only half as many locations in California as they did prior to 1970, indicating that habitat degradation has taken its toll on ecosystem health. Point Blue began annual breeding-season Western Snowy Plover monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore in 1995. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program took over in 2008. Snowy plover on a sandy beach Bat Inventory of Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, John Muir National Historic Site and Point Reyes National Seashore Bats are economically and ecologically important animals, providing ecosystem services such as pollination and predation of insects. In general, bat populations are believed to be declining. Researchers used acoustic sampling to inventory bat populations at Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, John Muir National Historic Site, and Point Reyes National Seashore. All of these parks are on the wildland-urban interface. Photo of a hoary bat. Keynote: Using Science in Decision Making National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis delivered the opening keynote at the 11th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem on October 9, 2012. The article that follows is based on an edited transcription of his remarks at the conference. Coho Salmon: Monitoring to Understand Change Coho have a complex fresh and saltwater lifecycle. Because females are three years old when they spawn, every three years represents a distinct “cohort”, or different group of fish that are living on the same three year cycle together. Three cohorts live in San Francisco Bay Area streams. Year-round monitoring captures coho population dynamics at each life stage, and also for each cohort over time. Volunteers participate in a coho salmon spawner survey on Redwood Creek Molting Harbor Seal Counts Show Continued Upward Trend in Bolinas Lagoon Following the breeding season, harbor seals of all ages and sexes haul out daily to “molt,” or shed their old fur and grow a new layer. The maximum number of molting seals for all Marin County monitoring sites was approximately 2,630, which is similar to the 17-year average. However, a closer look at the numbers for each individual site shows that most had peak counts that were lower than their respective 17-year averages—except for Bolinas Lagoon and Point Bonita. Harbor seals lying on rocks 2019 Harbor Seal Monitoring Updates The 2019 harbor seal pupping season (March–May) was an average one. The maximum number of pups recorded during surveys at the main Marin County locations was approximately 1,060. That is very similar to the baseline average of 1,100 pups. The maximum number of seals recorded during the molt season (June–July), when all age groups come ashore to shed their fur, was approximately 2,800, which is less than the baseline average of 3,670 seals. Two adult harbor seals and a harbor seal pup resting on a rock El Niño Shaping 2018-2019 Elephant Seal Breeding Season It has been an exciting breeding season for elephant seals at Point Reyes National Seashore. First, there was their spectacular take-over of Drakes Beach at Ken Patrick Visitor Center. A record of at least 52 pups were born on this section of beach, where only three had been born previously in 2017. While the Drakes Beach take-over may have been partly shutdown inspired, this year’s weak El Niño may also deserve some of the blame. A bull elephant seal with his mouth open, drapes his flipper over a vocalizing female Removing Obstacles: On the Road to Accessible National Parks The Denver Service Center Planning Division (DSC-Planning) helps parks ensure their services, activities, and programs are accessible and inclusive to all. Their efforts help enable visitors with accessibility needs to be as independent as possible within parks, and assist parks to provide the same high-quality experience to all visitors. Visitors looking at park Wayside exhibit Early Detection News – Spring 2018 Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) team surveys began in April. They will be concentrated at Point Reyes National Seashore this year, with some additional work at Pinnacles National Park and John Muir National Historic Site. Barbed goatgrass How will Climate Change Affect Bay Area National Park Birds? The National Audubon Society has created research summaries for 274 national park units that describe how projected changes in climate under different emissions scenarios are likely to affect local bird populations. Hummingbird and house finch on the same branch 2018 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Winding Down in Marin County Right on schedule, the first harbor seal pups of the 2018 breeding season were recorded at Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay on March 23. The season peaked in late April and early May, with a maximum number of approximately 1,000 pups recorded throughout Marin County locations. Harbor seals hauled out on rocks 2018 Coho Salmon Smolt Trapping Season Ends Spring smolt trapping surveys are complete on both Redwood and Olema Creeks. The 41 endangered coho salmon smolts captured on Olema Creek represented much lower numbers than anticipated, and the second lowest year on record since smolt trapping began here in the spring of 2004. Results from Redwood Creek were more promising. Coho smolt being held in a measuring tray Coastal Biophysical Inventory of the San Francisco Bay Area Network The rocky intertidal zone has a tremendous diversity of plants and animals that are sensitive indicators of environmental change. The National Park Service contributes to collaborative long-term intertidal monitoring programs along the Pacific coast. The Coastal Biophysical Inventory's rapid assessments yield quantitative snapshots of the geology and biology of an expansive shoreline. Close up of an ochre star on rocks. Winter 2017-2018 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary In a typical year, the coho spawning run would span over two months (December to early February), but this year it was confined to only three weeks. Despite the short spawning window, Olema Creek redd (nest) production increased by 70% from the winter of 2014-2015 when this cohort last spawned. On Redwood Creek, the number of redds was the highest it has been since monitoring began for this cohort, bolstered by the release of hatchery-reared adult coho into the creek. Person examining the brain cavity of a large coho carcass 2017 Harbor Seal Monitoring Update The peak harbor seal pup count for the 2017 breeding season was approximately 745 pups, which is similar to the 17-year average. There was also very low pup mortality recorded at all monitoring sites. The sites with the largest pup counts were Drakes Estero and Bolinas Lagoon. The maximum count of molting seals across all sites was also similar to the 17-year average. Harbor seals resting on a submerged sandbar Harbor Seal Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Because factors such as El Niño events, sea level rise, storm surges, changes in prey availability, and human activities can all affect harbor seals, studying them can provide important insights into the health of the larger marine ecosystem. The National Park Service, with the help of many dedicated volunteers and collaborators, has been monitoring harbor seals at sites in Golden Gate and Point Reyes every year since 1995. Mother and baby harbor seal on sandy beach Early Detection News, July 2017 A new edition of Early Detection News for July 2017 is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection Program and Weed Watchers, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Everlasting pea Gold Bluffs Beach Dune Restoration Youth and crew leader discuss dune restoration Collaborative Bat Study Begins in Marin County As many as 15 different species are thought to live in Marin County, California, but biologists don’t know much yet about where many of them roost, forage, or raise their young. A new, collaborative study will expand upon ongoing USGS bat research in the region to look at bat distribution, habitat associations, and roosting ecology across the area's parks and open spaces. Person holding a pallid bat with gloved hands Preliminary 2017 Coho Smolt Trapping Results Are In; Juvenile Monitoring Underway The coho salmon smolt trapping season ended in late May, and preliminary results are now available. The Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program has also begun surveys of juvenile coho that hatched in the creeks this past winter. Surveys are underway on Pine Gulch Creek, where many juvenile steelhead have already been spotted. Juvenile steelhead trout in a measuring tray 2017 Snowy Plover Breeding Season Slows Down The 2017 Western Snowy Plover breeding season in Point Reyes National Seashore is on its last stretch! Although the plover monitoring team has had a lot of excitement this week with four new nest hatches, the season appears to be slowing down. Winter flocks are already beginning to form and only one new nest has been found in the past two weeks. Three plover chicks lay in the sand, hidden among beach wrack 2019 Early Detection Newsletter Now Available The 2019 issue of Early Detection News is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. In 2019, surveys took place between March and October at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, John Muir National Historic Site, and Pinnacles National Park. Patch of tall grass next to a bear bin and fire pit at a campground. Team Embarks on Third Year of Bat Monitoring in Marin County The current biggest threat to Bay Area bats are habitat loss and disturbances to the places where they roost. As a result, researchers in Marin County are hoping to check which bat species are present, and learn more about their roosting habits and how they use local habitats. Such information could also help us understand how susceptible local bats are to White-nose Syndrome, and how best to protect them in the event that the fungal disease spreads to the Bay Area. Pallid bat in a gloved hand Southwest National Parks Climate Roundtable Webinar Recording Now Available Following the publication of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States (NCA4), the National Park Service began hosting a series of roundtable webinars to convey relevant findings to national parks. Each roundtable covers one of the 10 geographic regions defined in the report. This month, they hosted their seventh regional installment, the Southwest Parks NCA4 Roundtable. Fourth National Climate Assessment: What Does it Mean for National Parks in the Southwest Region? Unusually Long 2019 Snowy Plover Breeding Season Ends on a High Note The western snowy plover breeding season in Point Reyes National Seashore officially ended on September 11th this year, with the last plover chick fledging on Limantour Beach. Breeding activity persisted unusually late this year, with a couple active nests not hatching until mid August (and subsequently, chicks not fledging until early to mid September). Plovers successfully fledged 15 hatchlings despite a decline in breeding individuals and low nest success. Tiny plover hatchling standing on a beach inside a wire exclosure for keeping predators at bay. Vegetation Mapping Projects Underway in Marin and San Mateo In Marin and San Mateo Counties, previous mapping efforts used varying methods and focused solely on individual agency lands, making it challenging or impossible to interpret the data at a landscape level. But now, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is co-leading efforts to produce fine scale vegetation maps for both counties. A broad coalition of agencies and partners are collaborating on the efforts. Aerial image overlayed with vegetation community polygons 2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Return Looking Strong During the winter months, coho and steelhead return from the ocean to their natal stream to spawn. Park biologists, partners, and volunteers survey these “spawners” to assess their success. Counts for both coho and steelhead were strong in Redwood and Olema Creeks. This year was also the last year of the Redwood Creek Captive Rearing Project, a multi-organizational collaborative effort to "jumpstart" our local coho population from the brink of extinction. Biologist attaching a piece of blue tape to a creek-side tree branch as others look at a datasheet Point Reyes Elephant Seal Colonies There are several beaches in Point Reyes National Seashore where northern elephant seals gather in colonies to breed, raise pups, and molt. The colonies vary in size, but all are exceptionally vulnerable to disturbance during the pupping season. To protect them, parts of the beaches that host their colonies are closed to the public on a seasonal basis. Explore this map to meet each of the three colonies, learn about specific beach closures, and more. Map of Point Reyes Headlands area with three elephant seal colonies highlighted An Update from a Decade of Recovery at the Giacomini Wetlands October 27, 2018, marked 10 years since the levees were removed as part of the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project, a collaborative effort between Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. One of the goals of the restoration project was to shift vegetation communities at the site from dairy pasture to tidal salt and brackish marsh. We also hoped to see an increase in native plant-dominated communities. Overall, it has been a success. 2018 vegetation map of the Giacomini Wetlands showing a diversity of vegetation types 2018-2019 Coho Salmon Spawning Season Begins The coho salmon spawners from the cohort that will arrive this winter were last seen during the winter of 2015–2016. At that time, biologists found 66 coho redds (nests) in Olema Creek and 15 in Redwood Creek. Hopefully ocean conditions were favorable during the spring of 2017 through the summer of 2018, and we can surpass those numbers this year. Two large fish swimming side by side in a shallow stream. Landbird Inventory for Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore encompass 160,000 acres of wild areas and diverse habitats, enabling them to host a wide array of birds. During the breeding seasons of 1998 through 2000, Point Blue Conservation Science conducted landbird surveys along 61 transects throughout the parks. This inventory, along with additional sightings by park staff and visitors, resulted in observations of 129 species that breed in the parks. The Spotted Towhee perches on a branch. Water Quality Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Freshwater quality affects people’s enjoyment of San Francisco Bay Area national park resources, and plays a direct role in the health of aquatic habitats. In 2006, the National Park Service began monitoring freshwater quality under a long-term monitoring plan developed for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John Muir National Historic Site, Muir Woods National Monument, Pinnacles National Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore. Rocky creek with flowing water. Rare Lichen Discovered at More Bay Area National Park Sites In 2015, biologists found the globally rare island tube lichen (Hypogymnia schizidiata) on Montara Mountain during a baseline lichen inventory for the Rancho Corral de Tierra unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In subsequent years, the lichen has also been discovered in the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate, and on Mt Vision in Point Reyes National Seashore. Close-up view of island tube lichen Wildland Fire: Mastication Increases Efficiency of Fire Road Maintenance In February 2012, an excavator mounted with a mastication drum treated part of Bayview Fire Road at Point Reyes National Seashore. All vegetation within 15-25 feet of the fire road was mulched. This technique accomplished in a few weeks what would have taken months for a 10-person crew to achieve, making it highly cost effective. The road is a critical evacuation route for hundreds of residents, and fuel reduction will enhance its use as a control line in fire suppression. An excavator digs off the side of a dirt road/trail. Ravens and El Niño Influencing 2019 Snowy Plover Breeding Season The western snowy plover breeding season in Point Reyes National Seashore is now almost over. The snowy plover monitoring team has observed a total of 34 nests so far and we are expecting a few more. Of these 34 nests, 21 have failed (62%) and nine have hatched (26%); four are still active as of July 22. These numbers will change a little depending on whether the last four nests hatch, and whether any more are found. Tiny, fuzzy western snowy plover hatchlings Strong Atmospheric Rivers Impact Bay Area Parks Warm, tropical air is capable of holding massive amounts of water. Most of the time, that warm, wet air stays in the tropics, but sometimes, atmospheric conditions draw it out across great distances in long, narrow bands. When these “atmospheric rivers” reach land in the mid-latitudes, the air cools and the water vapor it was carrying falls as rain or snow. Collapsed section of a coastal cliff, consuming a large section of the beach below Preliminary Summer 2018 Juvenile Salmonid Survey Results In The juvenile coho population in both Olema and Redwood creeks was smaller than expected given the observed spawning activity during the winter of 2017–2018. One possible reason for lower survival rates was a big storm in early April, during a time when newly emerged coho fry are extremely vulnerable. Two people in wetsuits snorkeling in the shallow waters of Redwood Creek Spring 2018 Early Detection Newsletter Available A new edition of Early Detection News, covering the beginning of the 2018 field season, is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Malfurada flowers and broad leaves Marin Spotted Owls Buffered From Barred Owl Invasion Did you know that Marin County, CA, including Point Reyes National Seashore, could be essential refuges for the northern spotted owl subspecies in coming years? In forests farther north, the eastern barred owl has moved down the coast and invaded historic spotted owl territories. Two northern spotted owls on a branch, a parent and a fledgling Marin County Vegetation Map & Landscape Database Project Underway, With Plans to Expand A broad coalition of Marin County land management agencies and other partners have joined forces to meet their common need for a fine-scale vegetation map and landscape database. The first phase of this project will create digital aerial photos at a resolution of six inches, and three-dimensional landscape imagery through LiDAR surveys. LiDAR imagery of a segment of a Sonoma County river, highlighting flood risk areas Second Year of Bat Surveys Underway in Marin County The US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, Point Reyes National Seashore, and One Tam partners are embarking on their second year of bat surveys in Marin County. The collaborative effort aims to shed light on local bat species diversity, distribution, roosting sites, and disease. Gloved hand holding a hoary bat Check Out the New San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network Website The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network website is now fully updated! The new website features a modern look and feel, is fully accessible, mobile friendly, and makes it easier to find and share information. Partial screenshot of a new webpage on the new San Francisco Bay Area Network website Habitat Succession Effects on Nesting White-crowned Sparrows Decades of habitat change at Point Blue’s Palomarin Field Station in Point Reyes National Seashore have seen a conversion of shrubland to dense Douglas-fir forest, as well as an 85% decline in the local white-crowned sparrow population. A recent paper used 30 years of data to understand how plant community changes at the site affected both the reproductive success and habitat selection of this bird species. White-crowned sparrow perched at the top of a shrub No Clear Cause for Recent Sea Star Wasting Disease Found A new study has revealed no one cause of the disease, which hit populations of the keystone predator ochre sea star particularly hard in 2014 and 2015. The authors used data from 90 sites ranging from Alaska to southern California to try to determine what caused the outbreak. Colorful ochre stars with the tissues of their limbs deteriorating Sedges of Marin County Guide Now Available The sedge genus is one of the largest, most widespread, and ecologically important genera of vascular plants worldwide, and the largest genus of flowering plants in California (156 spp.). However, comparatively little is known about the distribution, status, and ecology of many species. This is largely because of the difficulty of sedge identification. Screenshot of Sedges of Marin County website Plant-Predator Connections: Protecting an Endangered Species at Point Reyes Since 2005, Point Reyes National Seashore's Vegetation Resources branch has been studying endangered Tidestrom's lupine populations in partnership with Washington University. Most recently, they have published research about the fate of an imperiled population near Abbotts Lagoon, where a large habitat restoration project took place in 2011. They have found that, post-restoration, the plants are doing much better. Flowering Tidestrom's lupine Breeding Elephant Seal Numbers Up This Year Although the 2017–2018 northern elephant seal breeding season at Point Reyes National Seashore got off to a late start, seal numbers rapidly grew to a record peak count of 2,411 seals. A very mild winter led to low pup mortality at all of the park’s elephant seal colonies, and a peak pup number of 1,020 at the height of the season. Females and pups by the edge of the ocean on a calm day Winter Tule Elk Census Completed at Point Reyes During the 2017-2018 winter months, Point Reyes National Seashore wildlife staff completed tule elk surveys at Drakes Beach, Tomales Point, and the Limantour/Estero Road area in order to determine 2017 population levels. Tule elk cows and calves cross Limantour Road Elephant Seal Monitoring Season Summary: Winter 2017-2018 The 2017-2018 elephant seal pupping season got off to a slightly late start. Nonetheless, monitoring is showing that the number of seals and pups on Point Reyes National Seashore beaches, and on Drakes Beach in particular, are well above average. Review brief weekly summaries and learn more about elephant seals in general in this compilation of the monitoring season updates so far. Elephant seal cow and pup side by side in the sand Rare Plant Inventory for Point Reyes National Seashore Point Reyes National Seashore hosts over 900 species of flowering plants, representing approximately 16% of the plant species known to occur in California. This diverse flora includes 48 rare plant species. Successful management of rare plant species requires comprehensive information describing their abundance and distribution. The National Park Service conducted rare plant field surveys between March and September of 2001 through 2004. Close up of Humboldt Bay owl’s clover, a rare species. Barred Owls in Marin County Barred owls recently expanded into the forest communities of Marin County where they may be negatively impacting the federally threatened northern spotted owl. The barred owl is an eastern species that has expanded its range westward into the Pacific Northwest and more recently southward into California. During their annual northern spotted owl surveys, National Park Service biologists in Marin also record the presence of barred owls and other potential threats. Barred owl 2017 Juvenile Coho Monitoring Done; Spawner Monitoring Begins With Some Surprises The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network’s Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program has preliminary results from this year’s summer monitoring. Also, winter spawner monitoring is now underway. While the water is still too low for migrating fish on Olema and Redwood Creeks, partner groups have recorded some surprising salmon sightings on Lagunitas Creek. Three people wearing waders, standing in a creek with nets and electrofishing gear Spring 2017 Downstream Migrant Trapping Summary The 2017 coho and steelhead smolt trapping season began in mid-March. Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program staff and volunteers constructed two traps on Redwood Creek and one trap on Olema Creek to help monitor the annual migration of the year-old fish out to sea. The primary Redwood Creek trap captured a total of 612 coho smolts, and 1,145 coho smolts were captured in the Olema Creek trap. Crews collected valuable data on each fish before sending them on their way. Juvenile steelhead in a measuring tray Winter 2016-2017 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary Although Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program crews were unable to survey as often as in past winters due to many heavy storms, they observed more than double the number of coho redds (nests) on Redwood Creek compared to the winter of 2013-2014, when the previos generation of these fish spawned. The number of redds on Cheda Creek stayed the same, and lower than expected on Olema Creek. Adult male coho swimming upstream Frequently Asked Coho Salmon Questions Visitors to Muir Woods National Monument may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of endangered coho salmon in Redwood Creek. Read on for the answers to several frequently asked questions about these fascinating fish. Adult female coho salmon Crews Survey Serpentine Barrens on Mount Tam Areas with large amounts of serpentinite, California’s greenish state rock, are uniquely common on and around Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. They appear as sparsely vegetated patches of rocky soil known as serpentine barrens. Serpentinite-rich soils are too harsh for most plants. The few plants that do grow in serpentine barrens are typically specialized, rare, locally endemic species. Team of three people crouching over sparse serpentine barren vegetation. Case Study Demonstrates Water Quality Benefits of Better Grazing Management Practices Point Reyes National Seashore staff, in collaboration with UC Cooperative Extension and UC Davis, recently published an article examining the long-term, on-the-ground benefits of collaborative efforts to improve grazing management and water quality in the Olema Creek watershed. Partial map of Olema Creek watershed NOAA Scientists Publish Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Pacific Coast Salmon and Steelhead Populations Twenty-eight of the 52 distinct populations of seven Pacific salmon and steelhead species in the continental US are either threatened or endangered. Three more are considered species of concern. A team of NOAA-led scientists recently completed a climate vulnerability assessment for all of these populations, plus a couple more. Bar graph: Salmon and steelhead population's vulnerability to climate change, by species. 2019 Harbor Seal Monitoring Complete The 2019 harbor seal monitoring season has come to a close. Biologists monitor harbor seals at various Marin County locations during the breeding season (March - May) and molt season (June - July). The 2019 breeding season was an average one for the harbor seals. Molt season counts were similar to the last couple of years, but lower than the baseline average. Two adult harbor seals and a harbor seal pup resting on a rock POET Newsletter February 2014 Pacific Ocean Education Team (POET) newsletter from February 2014. lighthouse Invasive Plant Species Priority Lists Read about how the Early Detection Team prioritizes removal of different invasive plants. Malfurada. Sea Star Recovery Slow in Bay Area National Parks Sea stars like ochre stars used to be abundant in Bay Area National Parks, but in 2013 park biologists saw a sharp decline in both the size and number of sea stars along park shorelines. Scientists are still looking for the cause of the mysterious “sea star wasting syndrome” behind this population crash. The disease has persisted along much of the Pacific coast, including in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore. Orange ochre star alongside anemones and barnacles in the rocky intertidal zone Early Detection News - September 2018 The Invasive Species Early Detection Team (ISED) conducted September surveys at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area North District. Noteworthy detections this month included reed canary grass, Johnson grass, and horehound. Close up of reed canary grass with monoculture in the background. 2018 Western Snowy Plover Breeding Season Winding Down at Point Reyes As of August 17th, there were eight chicks still running around on Limantour Beach and North Beach, but no more active nests. Fledging success (the percent of chicks that survive to 28 days) is 18% so far this year, which is markedly lower than 2017 and 2016 (41.1% and 41.7%, respectively). The average fledging success for the past 22 years was 41.8%. However, if the last eight chicks fledge they will increase the season’s fledging success rate by 16%. Tiny sand-colored western snowy plover chick with two colored bands on each of its legs August 2018 Early Detection Newsletter Available The August 2018 issue of Early Detection News is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Get the highlights here. Klamathweed, with numerous blooming yellow flowers on stems covered in smaller leaves July 2018 Early Detection Newsletter Available The July 2018 issue of Early Detection News is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Get the highlights here. Deeply lobed leaves of poroporo branching off from a dark purplish stem Early Detection News - August 2017 The Invasive Plant Species Early Detection Monitoring team completed surveys for the 2017 field season in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several noteworthy species were detected this month including the spiny plumeless thistle, poroporo, black locust, common cocklebur, and stinkwort. Red flower of the red amaranth Northern Spotted Owl Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Federally threatened Northern Spotted Owls are vital indicators of forest health since their survival depends on the presence of diverse, robust evergreen forest ecosystems. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program and its partners began long-term monitoring of Northern Spotted Owls in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and other public lands in Marin County in 1999. Female spotted owl perches on a branch Drakes Beach Elephant Seal Colony Keeps Growing The elephant seal breeding season kicked off in Point Reyes National Seashore in December, as adults began leaving the ocean and settling in on park beaches. The number of seals at the Drakes Beach colony, which includes Drakes Beach and the sites around Chimney Rock, continues to steadily increase. Elephant seal pup pauses while nursing Wildland Fire in Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Where and When to See Elephant Seals at Point Reyes Elephant seals visit Point Reyes beaches throughout the year. Breeding and pupping season is in the winter, molting occurs in segregated groups in spring and summer, and the juveniles show up in the fall. Winter and early spring are wonderful times at the seashore for viewing seals. Weaned elephant seal pup at Point Reyes National Seashore Elephant Seal Monitoring FAQ Have you ever wondered how scientist learn about animals as unusual as elephant seals? By monitoring elephant seals at Point Reyes, researchers and scientists determine trends in seal populations, migration, and reproductive success. This data is used as a baseline to determine trends, quantify annual reproductive success, and learn about their biology. Bull elephant seal Elephant Seal Monitoring at Point Reyes National Seashore As top ocean predators, and prey for even larger predators like orca whales, elephant seals are a key component of the marine ecosystem. Changes in their populations often reflect changes in marine conditions, so monitoring them gives us important insights into the state of our oceans. Point Reyes National Seashore is one of only about a dozen sites where northern elephant seals breed worldwide. Three large-eyed, plump elephant seal pups resting their heads on each other Plant Community Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Plant communities create essential habitat for plants and animals. While several National Park Service projects have included limited forms of vegetation sampling for some time, a recently updated protocol guides comprehensive, long-term plant community monitoring. Coastal dune vegetation on a hillside at Point Reyes National Seashore Invasive Plant Early Detection in the San Francisco Bay Area Invasive plants can dramatically alter ecosystems and reduce the amount of habitat available for native plant and animal species. The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network has developed an invasive plant early detection protocol to prioritize, find, and map invasive plants at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Pinnacles National Park, and John Muir National Historic Site. The yellow flowers of invasive creeping capeweed in the Marin Headlands Streamflow Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area The amount of water flowing in a stream, or streamflow, is among the most useful factors available for understanding watershed and stream health. The San Francisco Bay Area Network Inventory and Monitoring Program and its partners monitor streamflow in selected streams at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Pinnacles National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Presidio of San Francisco. Brisk winter flows in Redwood Creek A Productive Western Snowy Plover Breeding Season Comes to a Close The 2017 Western Snowy Plover breeding season officially wrapped up at Point Reyes National Seashore at the end of August, with the last brood fledging a single chick on North Beach. This season saw a total of 46 nests. Fledgling western snowy plovers with colored leg bands on a Point Reyes beach LINC Students Tackle Exotic Plants at Point Reyes California Exotic Plant Management Team members hosted 20 Linking Individuals to their Natural Community students and 8 Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy staff for a half-day invasive plant project at Point Reyes National Seashore's N Ranch. Volunteers appear tiny in a vast Point Reyes landscape Early Detection News, June 2017 A new edition of Early Detection News for June 2017 is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection Program and Weed Watchers, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. Mapping a small-leaf spiderwort infestation Summer 2016 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary Preliminary results from our juvenile coho basinwide surveys indicated a decrease in numbers on both Olema and Redwood Creeks when compared to the previous generation. The number of juvenile coho was also fewer than anticipated given the strong return of spawning coho seen during the winter of 2015-2016. Large juvenile steelhead trout in a measuring tray during summer monitoring 2019 Spotted Owl Breeding Success Near Average The northern spotted owl monitoring season is winding down, and the results are nearly final as biologists complete the season's surveys. Reproduction for this year was near the average with nineteen fledglings counted from twelve successful nests. One nest failed, and ten pairs of owls did not nest this season. Fluffy white northern spotted owl fledgling peering down through the trees Japanese Knotweed Eradication Efforts Continue Along Lagunitas Creek Homeowners, land managers, and coho salmon and all share a common concern along Lagunitas Creek in Marin County: Japanese knotweed. The plant is one of the world’s most invasive species, and was first reported in the area in 2011. This year, an early round of Japanese knotweed treatments is focusing on an area along Lagunitas Creek where a coho salmon habitat enhancement project will be taking place later in the summer. Shield-shaped leaves of Japanese knotweed Winter 2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary The 2018-2019 cohort on Olema has been the strongest cohort since monitoring began, and redd production this season is similar to what was documented three years ago. In comparison, redd abundance on Redwood Creek increased dramatically in 2018-2019 with the successful release of the hatchery-raised adults. Along with a healthy coho return, steelhead were seen in all four streams that were surveyed. Two large fish lunging at each other at the surface of a creek Radio Tagged Elephant Seals Found in Point Reyes This elephant seal breeding season at Point Reyes National Seashore has been an exciting one for park visitors and staff. It has also been exciting, albeit in a different way, for UC Santa Cruz researchers studying elephant seals at Año Nuevo Natural Reserve. Yearling elephant seals, including one with a dye mark, flipper tag, and radio tag Summer 2018 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary Preliminary results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate an increase in population on both Olema Creek and Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. However, both Olema and Redwood Creek juvenile estimates are lower than expected given the number of redds observed during the winter. Volunteers with nets walk through a creek on either side of a biologist with an electrofisher 2018 Harbor Seal Monitoring Updates The San Francisco Bay Area Network's Pinniped Monitoring Program recorded the first harbor seal pups of the 2018 breeding season at Drakes Estero and Tomales Bay on March 23. The peak of pupping occurred during late April and early May, with a maximum number of approximately 1,000 pups recorded throughout Marin County locations. Following the breeding season, a total of 3,022 seals of all ages were recorded molting at Marin County locations. Harbor seal moms and pups hauled out on a mudflat Early Detection News – July 2018 The Invasive Species Early Detection Team (ISED) conducted July surveys at Point Reyes National Seashore and John Muir National Historic Site. Noteworthy detections this month included yellow star thistle, small leaf spiderwort, mourningbride, and poroporo. Yellow star thistle. Rocky Intertidal Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area The rocky intertidal zone, or the band of rocky shore covered up by the highest of tides and exposed by the lowest of tides, is an extraordinarily diverse and productive ecosystem. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program monitors rocky intertidal communities at five sites in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore. Colorful ochre star clings to rock in the intertidal zone Landbird Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area With their varied microclimates, large swaths of protected wild lands, and position along a major migratory pathway, the National Parks in the San Francisco Bay Area host some of the largest and most diverse assemblages of landbirds in the United States. Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore have a long history of landbird monitoring, with some sites surveyed since the mid-1960s. Ruby-crowned Kinglet perches in a flowering tree Wildland Fire in Chaparral: California and Southwestern United States Chaparral is a general term that applies to various types of brushland found in southern California and the southwestern U.S. This community contains the most flammable type of vegetation found in the United States. Chaparral on steep rocky slopes. Coho Salmon & Steelhead Trout Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area Federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout are large, charismatic fish that play crucial roles in both stream and ocean ecosystems. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program and its partners began monitoring coho and steelhead in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore in 1998. NPS staff and volunteer measuring a coho salmon smolt Summer 2017 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary Preliminary results from juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys in the San Francisco Bay Area indicate a decrease in numbers on Olema Creek and an increase on Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. For an eight consecutive year, surveys found no coho juveniles in Pine Gulch Creek. Fingers holding filter paper with a coho tissue sample on it Microplastics on National Park Beaches Every beachgoer has probably noticed plastic trash littering their favorite beaches, however remote. A new study of microplastic distribution on national park beaches indicates that whichever one you visit, there is probably also some amount of plastic that is harder to see, mixed in with the sand between your toes. Microplastic piece and organic matter New Population of Rare Species Found at Point Reyes San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Program staff recently confirmed the presence of a previously undocumented population of Erigeron supplex, or supple daisy, at Pierce Point in Point Reyes National Seashore. This species is considered rare and endangered in California and elsewhere, and is known from only a few populations on the coast between Salt Point and Mendocino. Small yellow flower Spotting Salmonids with Sonar In 2012, the National Park Service installed a new "camera" on Lagunitas Creek in Point Reyes National Seashore giving us a fresh perspective of returning coho salmon and steelhead. The new imagery equipment is a Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON) system that uses sonar imaging to produce an image of a fish. Still sonar image of two coho performing a mating ritual Spring 2016 Downstream Migrant Trapping Summary The 2016 coho smolt trapping season began in late March after some unusually strong late winter storms. Two traps were constructed on Redwood Creek and one trap was constructed on Olema Creek. In general, it was a mild spring and there were no major disruptions to smolt trapping operations from late-March through May. Coho smolt production increased on both Olema and Redwood Creeks when compared with the previous time this cohort was seen. Group of volunteers constructing a smolt trap in Redwood Creek Eelgrass Eelgrass is a type of marine, flowering seagrass that exists in temperate zones around the world. It thrives in soft seafloor environments, typically in shallow bays and estuaries, such as Point Reyes National Seashore's Drakes Estero, Estero de Limantour, and Tomales Bay. In Channel Islands National Park, large eelgrass beds occur off of Anacapa, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa Islands. Eelgrass bed at Scorpion Anchorage, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park. Breeding Adult Plover Numbers Bounce Back at Point Reyes Every year from March until September biologists keep tabs on the threatened western snowy plovers that breed on beaches in Point Reyes National Seashore. Last year was a relatively slow one. It featured the smallest breeding population and the fewest nests counted since 2013. This year has already been much more active, and the season is still far from over. Pair of plover chicks blend in with the beach. Comparing the Effects of Invasive and Native Marsh Grasses on Estuarine Invertebrates Smooth cordgrass cross-breeds with native California cordgrass, producing “super hybrids” that grow much taller and with denser stems than the native species. These hybrids can also survive both lower and higher in the intertidal zone. If hybrid cordgrass became established in the estuaries of Point Reyes, it could fill many of the mudflats used by shorebirds. How would this affect the small creatures that the birds feed on, and the broader salt marsh ecosystem? Landscape image of Hybrid cordgrass in the San Francisco Bay. Freshwater Shrimp Surveys Underway in Marin County Creeks National Park Service biologists, in collaboration with US Fish and Wildlife, are surveying lower Lagunitas Creek tributaries for endangered California freshwater shrimp for the first time in almost 15 years. Researchers will identify any changes in the abundance and distribution of shrimp in Marin County’s shallow streams, which represent a sizable portion of the native crustacean’s limited range. Overhead view of a small, mostly translucent shrimp High Numbers of Whales Washing up on Bay Area Beaches No, it’s not your imagination, the Bay Area has seen a large number of dead whales on its shores over the last three months. Three whales have washed ashore at Bay Area national parks alone: a gray whale calf and a juvenile blue whale. Young blue whale carcass washed up on a beach Elephant Seal Monitoring Season Summary: Winter 2018–2019 The big news of the season was the formation of a large harem on the beach directly in front the Ken Patrick Visitor Center. While the recent trend has seen the movement of breeding seals down the length of Drakes Beach between the overlook and the visitor center, we have never had this much activity in front of the parking lot. Uniformed park ranger faces a camera man during an interview Climate Corner: Does Loyalty Pay in a Changing Climate? “Site fidelity” describes a tendency for wildlife to return to the same places over time to find food, shelter, mates, breeding sites, etc. Northern elephant seals have strong site fidelity to the breeding colonies where they were born, as well as some fidelity to ocean foraging sites. A recent study attempts to shed some light on the poorly understood relationship between an animal’s individual performance and their site fidelity under varying environmental conditions. Section of Point Reyes beach covered in elephant seals Wildland Fire: Pine Thinning Extends Fuel Break at Point Reyes Dense thickets of young Bishop pine were removed along Limantour Road in Point Reyes National Seashore. The trees were cleared and thinned for 30 feet on either side of the road under a cooperative agreement with a local conservation corps. The recent roadside thinning treatments extend a fuel break into the next section where the vegetation has transitioned to Bishop pine. Thinning will improve emergency access and egress during a wildfire along this major park corridor. Crew members carry trees out from the forested area adjoining a road. Scientist Profile: Lizzy Edson, Data Coordinator Data Coordinator Lizzy Edson is one of the many amazing women doing science in our National Parks! Her elegant handiwork is behind some of the San Francisco Bay Area parks’ most exciting Natural Resource projects: BioBlitzes, bat monitoring, the One Tam Health of the Mountain Project, and more. Read Lizzy's story to get inspired and learn how data helps us uncover hidden stories of the natural world. Portrait of Lizzy beside Rodeo Lagoon. Geoscientists-in-the-Parks: Paleontology Intern Read about the work Lilian Peterson did as a Paleontology Intern, Point Reyes National Seashore, California in 2015. intern on coastal bluff writing in field notebook Community Science Update: 2020 San Francisco Bay Area City Nature Challenge Recap 2020 looked a little different for the City Nature Challenge, an annual community science event. The event encourages urban areas around the world to turn out the greatest number of naturalists, make the most nature observations, and find the most species. In previous years, people have traveled to parks to find nature and make observations. But given local shelter-in-place restrictions, organizers decided on a different strategy. Bee visiting a flower. Honoring Marty Griffin’s 100 Years: A Lifetime Of Environmental Achievements L. Martin (Marty) Griffin, M.D. (born July 23, 1920) is a pioneering environmentalist and conservationist in California. Marty has been a leader in protecting and preserving unique ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them. Portrait of a silver-haired man standing outside by Bolinas Lagoon. 1997–1998 El Niño / 1998–1999 La Niña Wind-driven waves and abnormally high sea levels contributed to hundreds of millions of dollars in flood and storm damage in the San Francisco Bay region, including Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Pinnacles National Monument. In addition to California, the 1997–1998 El Niño and the following 1998–1999 La Niña severely impacted the Pacific Northwest, including many National Park System units. colorful ocean surface mapping image Biologists Survey for Endangered Black Abalone This summer as park biologists conducted rocky intertidal surveys, they also surveyed for black abalone, the only federally endangered marine invertebrate that resides in Bay Area National Parks. Black abalone were once common in California before threats like commercial fishing, poaching, and disease drove major declines in the species across the California coast. They are rare North of the Golden Gate bridge, and their numbers do not appear to be recovering on their own. Close-up of black abalone specimen, with bluish-black shell, in rocky intertidal habitat. 1982–1983 El Niño As a result of this El Niño, heavy surf and rains severely eroded beaches and fragile sea cliffs in coastal California. National Park System units in California affected by the 1982–1983 El Niño event were Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Pinnacles National Monument. map of lower 48 united states with color ramp to show temperature Researchers Identify Winter Bat Roosts in Marin County Since 2017, One Tam partners have been collaborating with USGS to conduct the first countywide bat monitoring program in Marin. One piece of the program is roost site monitoring, which begins with mist netting to catch bats. This past February, the monitoring team spent seven nights mist netting at Cascade Canyon and near Lake Lagunitas on Marin Municipal Water District land. Person in the forest holding up an electronic device over his head. USGS National Wildlife Health Center Bulletin Addresses Coronaviruses in Wildlife Coronaviruses exist in many mammals and birds all across the globe. At the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), wildlife scientists are doing their part to tackle questions about COVID-19 and wildlife. For example, could North American wildlife become reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19? What species are most susceptible? What can we do to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to wildlife? A California myotis bat with a temporary radio transmitter attached to its back. US Life-Saving Service The United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS), the predecessor to the United States Coast Guard, formed in 1878. The story of the USLSS dates to almost 100 years before the service became an official agency, to the noble efforts of the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a group of affluent individuals seeking to prevent needless deaths from shipwrecks. A black and white photo of seven men wearing uniforms and standing in front of a boat house. 2020 Small Research Grant Opportunities at Point Reyes National Seashore, the Tomales Bay Watershed, and Golden Gate National Recreation Area To encourage partnerships with the research community and to support National Park Service and partner information needs, we are pleased to offer three grant competitions this year: the Neubacher Fund for Marine Science at Point Reyes, the Golden Gate Science Into Action Fund at Golden Gate, and the Tomales Bay Watershed Council Science Fund. <strong>The application deadline is February 24, 2020.</strong> Wetland in Point Reyes National Seashore Surveying for Japanese Knotweed in Lagunitas Creek As part of a collaborative effort to manage Japanese knotweed within the Lagunitas Creek watershed, a team of ecologists from One Tam’s Conservation Management Program conducted a four-week survey to map all Japanese knotweed patches in the riparian corridor on public lands. Visit their Story Map to learn more about the creek, the plant, the surveys, and why it all matters. Cover screenshot of Point Reyes Compiles Information on Snowy Plover-Common Raven Conflicts Common raven numbers have exploded across the West because of reliable human resources, such as trash, agricultural practices, fresh water sources, and roadkills. But these hawk-sized omnivores eat far more than trash. They also hunt eggs and small animals. At-risk species like greater sage-grouse and desert tortoises are negatively affected by the increase in raven numbers. At Point Reyes, common ravens prey on western snowy plover eggs and hatchlings. Empty snowy plover egg shell with a beak-sized hole in the side. Endangered Beach Layia Hangs on in Restored Dune Areas at Point Reyes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff recently came to Point Reyes National Seashore to help monitor the federally endangered beach layia. This tiny member of the sunflower family lives in dune habitats, many of which have been overrun with invasive iceplant or European beachgrass. Small plant featuring tiny white and yellow flowers growing in the sand Pinnacles & Point Reyes Conduct Annual Butterfly Counts The 18th annual North American Butterfly Count at Pinnacles National Park was held on June 4, and Point Reyes held its 14th annual count on June 30, 2017. Counters record every butterfly they find within a 15-mile diameter circle. Species diversity was average this year, and Pinnacles saw its highest count for individual butterflies since 2010. Western pygmy-blue butterfly on a plant. Photo by Paul G. Johnson. Outside Science (inside parks): Ancient Marine Mammals at Point Reyes National Seashore Hear about an ancient porpoise skull that was found at Point Reyes National Seashore. An intern studies a fossil Surveys Expand Known Ranges of Two Endangered Species This fall, National Park Service biologists with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service made an exciting discovery. They found five endangered California freshwater shrimp in McIsaac Creek, where they had not previously been known to live! Their discovery came as part of an effort that began earlier this summer to check in on the status of the species in lower Lagunitas Creek and its tributaries for the first time since 2004. Small brown and tan California freshwater shrimp perched on underwater vegetation. Where Are All The Sea Stars? Since 2013, sea stars from Alaska to Mexico have been dying in droves of a mysterious disease referred to as sea star wasting syndrome. Symptoms typically include the appearance of white lesions followed by tissue decay, body fragmentation and death, often within only a few days. Sea star die-offs are not necessarily unusual, but this one is unprecedented in terms of the numbers affected and the extensive area impacted. Disintegrating legs of a diseased ochre star Understanding and Protecting Northern Coastal Scrub Diversity Conserving biodiversity hotspots like the California Floristic Province requires an understanding of plant diversity patterns in a given area. A recent study looked at these patterns of vascular plant diversity in relation to coast–inland environmental gradients in Central California shrublands. A diverse assortment of coastal scrub species growing on a steep, ocean-facing bluff Could Juvenile Coho Conquer Warmer Stream Temperatures? It was long ago established that elevated water temperatures are not great for juvenile coho salmon growth and survival. But climate change is making it increasingly difficult to ensure cool creeks for young coho. Thus, researchers at tUC Davis and NOAA wondered: are there other aspects of coho rearing habitat that, if optimal, might mitigate the impacts of warmer water temperatures? In their recently published study, they find that prey abundance is key. Cluster of netted enclusures along a wide creek, with a mountain in the background. 2020 Elephant Seal Breeding Season Yields Record Number of Weaned Pups at Point Reyes The 2020 elephant seal breeding season at Point Reyes National Seashore was another successful one! By the end of the season, biologists had counted approximately 1,070 weaned pups on park beaches, the highest count on record. A very mild winter contributed to low pup mortality this year. Biologists were also able to tag the hind flippers of more weaned pups (536) this year than ever before. Elephant seal pup with a pink tag on its hind flipper. Surfgrass Surfgrass occurs in turbulent waters at or below the low tide line. It requires a rocky substrate to latch onto so it does’t wind up washed ashore or stranded at sea. During negative tides, surfgrass beds are often exposed to the air where their contents may be feasted upon by birds or explored by intrepid tidepoolers. Surfgrass during low tide at Channel Islands National Park Scientist Profile: Dr. Sarah Allen, Marine Ecologist and Science Program Lead Dr. Sarah Allen's research on seabirds and marine mammals has brought her as far as Antarctica, but most of her career has been as a science advisor to the National Park Service. Read about her experiences studying penguins in Antarctica and her role in getting a nation-wide, long-term natural resource monitoring program off the ground! Biologist Sarah Allen records notes next to an observation scope by the rocky California coast. The Case of the Missing Harbor Seals Normally, biologists would head out weekly to survey harbor seals during their pupping season, from March through May. They would count adults and pups at eight pupping locations along the Marin County coast to be able to identify, and potentially help address, any unexpected changes in their numbers. In recent years, this monitoring might best be described as uneventful. Not this year! Looking down from a bluff at hundreds of harbor seals crowding one side of a large sandbar. 2018 Point Reyes Butterfly Count Each year since 2003, between 12 and 20 volunteers have gathered for the annual Point Reyes butterfly count. This year, they identified 30 individual species, which is within the high end of the normal range. An orange and black California tortoiseshell butterfly with its wings open to the sun Remembering Maritime Life: The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station Historic District The historic Point Reyes Lifeboat Station extends into Drakes Bay on the eastern tip of the Point Reyes peninsula. Standing in this location since 1927, it has served for assistance to shipwrecks and incidents, military training, coastal beach defense patrol, and equipment maintenance tasks. Point Reyes has the only surviving lifeboat station on the Pacific Coast with an intact marine railway. In June of 2019, a crew launched the restored lifesaving boat into the water. Wharf extends into water beside a lifeboat station, surrounded by exposed, rolling terrain. Coho Spawners Come Up Short in 2019-2020, but Steelhead Return Looking Strong Recent surveys revealed the coho run has ended for our coastal Marin streams. Overall, coho spawning numbers were lower than anticipated, even with beneficial December rainfall. Surveys will continue through April to document steelhead spawning. Three people hike along the rocky banks of a creek wearing waders and carrying measuring poles 2019 Juvenile Coho Population Smaller Than Expected Summer juvenile salmonid monitoring has revealed that the juvenile coho population was smaller than expected on both Olema and Redwood Creeks given the substantial spawning activity seen during the winter of 2018-2019. Possible reasons for lower survival rates include the major storm events that occured in February of 2019. Close-up of a juvenile coho salmon Marin Vegetation Mapping Project Reaches New Milestone A draft “Lifeform Map” is now available for Marin County. It represents the latest milestone in the Marin Countywide Fine Scale Vegetation Map and Landscape Database Project, co-led by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in collaboration with a broad coalition of agencies and partners. Map of Drakes Estero showing many different colors, each representing different land cover classes. 50 Years of Counting Birds on Tomales Bay Tomales Bay is globally significant for waterbirds because an estimated 35,000 of them spend their winters here, often migrating from distant destinations in the northern latitudes to do so. One of the longest continuous studies of waterbirds on Tomales Bay is the Point Reyes Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The 50th Point Reyes CBC, sponsored by the Marin Audubon Society and Point Blue Conservation Science, took place on December 14, 2019. Double-crested cormorants on calm, blue water. Summer 2019 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary Preliminary results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate a decrease in the population on both Olema Creek and Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. In addition, juvenile coho estimates were lower than expected for both streams given the number of redds observed during the winter. Meanwhile, summer 2019 juvenile steelhead totals were the highest since surveys were initiated in 2009. Sculpin in a measuring tray showing that it is more than 8 inches long. Methods for Estimating California Red-legged Frog Populations A recent study looks at the difference between labor-intensive capture-mark-recapture studies and less time-consuming egg mass surveys for federally threatened California red-legged frogs. The study, which included 13 years of monitoring data, examined trends in frog abundance at a known breeding pond in Point Reyes National Seashore. Mass of translucent eggs in shallow water Natural Resource Condition Assessments Published for Golden Gate and Point Reyes In November, the National Park Service’s Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program published NRCA reports for Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore. The reports, both prepared by faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in coordination with park staff, focus on a set of eight natural resources in each park. Cover page of Golden Gate's Natural Resources Condition Assessment report Gary Fellers Leaves Legacy of Scientific Inquiry in California National Parks Few individuals have shaped our understanding of terrestrial species in the San Francisco Bay Area and California national parks like Dr. Gary Fellers, who passed away in November. Gary worked at Point Reyes National Seashore from 1983 until his retirement in 2013, first as a National Park Service scientist, and later as a researcher for the USGS Western Ecological Research Center. Dr. Gary Fellers Slow Start to 2019-2020 Coho Spawning Season This year, after a dry fall, the first rains arrived during the last week of November, and rain continued to fall in December. With flows on both Olema and Redwood Creeks high enough for adult coho to migrate in from the ocean, the Salmonid Monitoring Program began spawner surveys to count how many coho are returning. As of December 19, the monitoring team had counted one redd in Redwood Creek and two redds in Olema Creek. Coho redd, appearing as a shallow, lighter-colored depression in a creek bed. Invasive plants in park a growing threat According to a natural resource condition assessment of Point Reyes National Seashore released last year by the National Park Service, invasive plans are being introduced at an unprecedented rate—replacing native species, changing ecosystems, altering soil chemistry and reducing agricultural productivity. Each year, an average of 2.8 species are added to the park’s list of species targeted for removal, which now includes 167 different plants. A volunteer wearing gloves kneels among low growing plants on sand dunes on a sunny day. Scientist Profile: Angie Pincetich, Hydrologic Technician As part of the International Day of Women & Girls in Science, the San Francisco Bay Area National Parks are highlighting the contributions and accomplishments of several dynamic women who do science in the parks by sharing their personal stories. First up is Angie Pincetech, Hydrologic Technician for the San Francisco Bay Area Network. Learn about what inspires Angie most, and what her path has been in the sciences and with the parks. Angie Pincetech, NPS Hydrologic Technician, smiles by a creek at Muir Beach Pacific Border Province The Pacific Border straddles the boundaries between several of Earth's moving plates on the western margin of North America. This region is one of the most geologically young and tectonically active in North America. The generally rugged, mountainous landscape of this province provides evidence of ongoing mountain-building. Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore. NPS photo/Sarah Codde New Rocky Intertidal Biodiversity Surveys Seek a Broader Perspective For Monitoring Change Every year, National Park Service biologists conduct intertidal surveys at sites along the San Francisco Bay Area coast, contributing to growing long-term data sets. Typically, they survey fixed plots, focusing on small areas of the reef and specific communities like mussels, barnacles, and algae. This year, they have also adapted an approach of sampling large areas of the reef at once and documenting all observed species along a set of transect lines. People wearing waders stand and crouch along a transect tape through the rocky intertidal zone Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project Hits Major Milestone Starting in 2014, One Tam partners joined the international Wildlife Picture Index Project (WPI) with an array of cameras on NPS, Marin Municipal Water District, and state and county park lands across the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Wildlife camera image of a baby gray fox climbing up a steep slope. Exhale Like a Whale Take a breath while making some art! Download the "Exhale Like a Whale" activity sheet. Learn about gray whales and their migration patterns. Color in the activity sheet and use it as a mindfulness tool when you need to take a breath and slow down. Coloring page of a cartoon gray whale cow and calf swimming at the surface of the ocean. 2019-2020 Elephant Seal Breeding Season in Full Swing The northern elephant seal breeding season is now in full swing at Point Reyes National Seashore, and biologists in the park have been busy monitoring the season’s progress. Pregnant females are arriving in great numbers after many months at sea foraging. Males are establishing dominance hierarchies, with the biggest of them achieving alpha status over groups of females. Mother elephant seal moves in to nuzzle her black pup's face. An Endangered Herb’s Annual Checkup Once a year for the last 15 years, conservation staff and volunteers have monitored the Sonoma spineflower: an endangered herb found in the sandy, well-drained grasslands of Marin County. For 77 years, the Sonoma spineflower was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered near Abbotts Lagoon in 1980. Two people crouched over a plot of Sonoma spineflower. Winter 2019-2020 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary By the second week of December, conditions were ideal for coho spawning. However, spawner surveys conducted during the first two weeks of December revealed only one coho salmon redd in both Olema and Redwood Creeks and no coho activity in Cheda Creek. By the end of December, it became apparent that the coho runs in coastal Marin County would be weak, and that survival between the smolt and spawner life stages for these cohorts was very low. People in waders hike up the center of a swiftly flowing creek carying backpacks and wading poles. Biologists Survey Blue Whales by Sailboat in Gulf of Farallones In recent decades, humpback and blue whales have become more abundant in the waters off Central California. This summer, concentrations of blue whales were higher than ever recorded. But Cascadia Research Collective's usual whale survey coverage was limited because of the coronavirus. So, the Colaborative put out a call for for help documenting the unusual blue whale abundance. Biologists Beth Mathews and Jim Taggart jumped at the opportunity. Close-up of a blue whale spouting at the surface of the ocean. Monitoring in the Context of Climate Change Global climate change may be altering ecosystems in the San Francisco Bay Area - changing fundamental processes such as temperature regimes and streamflow patterns. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program conducts monitoring to track changes in plant and animal communities that will help illuminate the effects of climate change on our parks. Researcher monitors pinnipeds at PORE from a coastal overlook. Celebrating soils across the National Park System First in a series of three "In Focus" articles that share insights into the near-universal and far-reaching effects of soils on the ecology, management, and enjoyment of our national parks. Fossil soils at Cabrillo National Monument reveal marine deposits Conserving pinnipeds in Pacific Ocean parks in response to climate change The evolutionary record from previous climate perturbations indicates that marine mammals are highly vulnerable but also remarkably adaptable to climatic change in coastal ecosystems. Consequently, national parks in the Pacific, from Alaska to Hawaii, are faced with potentially dramatic changes in their marine mammal fauna, especially pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). black harbor seal Bat Conservation in the San Francisco Bay Area What is the NPS doing about bat conservation and preventing the spread of White nose syndrome in the San Francisco Bay Area region? California myotis gets measured and overall health assessed during a mist netting study. Monitoring Crew Finds Critically Low Numbers of Juvenile Coho in Redwood Creek This August, the coho and steelhead monitoring crew completed juvenile coho salmon monitoring in Redwood Creek. Normally, juvenile coho monitoring would entail snorkel surveys, plus electrofishing. However due to the coronavirus, they did things a little differently. Since electrofishing requires crewmembers to work in close proximity, the crew did multiple snorkel survey passes instead. They counted only 51 coho while snorkeling over 7.5 km of the Redwood Creek mainstem. Underwater view of Olema Creek. A Record Year for Western Pond Turtle Reintroductions In September 2020, scientists released a total of 41 juvenile turtles in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, almost double the amount released in the past three years combined! This is the first year scientists released western pond turtles to Rodeo Lake, now home to 20 new turtle residents. Biologists also released 14 turtles in the Redwood Creek watershed and seven turtles to ‘donor’ ponds near the Tomales Bay Trail in the park’s northern district. Staff holding two young western pond turtles, one in each hand, prior to releasing them. Juvenile Olema Creek Coho Aid Regional Coho Salmon Recovery Effort In early October, biologists with the San Francisco Bay Area Network Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Program assisted the California Department of Fish & Wildlife in collecting 40 juvenile coho salmon from Olema Creek. Now, these fish are living in the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery located at Lake Sonoma in Sonoma County. School of small, silvery fish in a tank, looking healthy. Tracking the Return of River Otters: First Results From a Long-term Monitoring Project Today, observant Bay Area parks visitors may spot North American river otters swimming, hunting, or playing along waterways throughout the area. This was not always the case. Otters were wiped out from the area in the 19th century by fur trapping, habitat loss, and pollution. Their return is not only a visual treat but a positive indicator of ecosystem health. Scientists have been using a combination of methods to document and learn from the otters' ongoing recovery. Three river otters in a fast-flowing creek. Mist Netting, Radio Telemetry, and Acoustic Monitoring: What We’re Learning About Bats in Marin Since 2017, One Tam partners have been collaborating with USGS to conduct the first countywide bat monitoring program in Marin. This October, we dove in to the results from last winter's roost site monitoring, and discussed the implications of what park researchers have learned from three years of bat monitoring. Researcher smiles while holding a bat with gloved hands. Summer 2020 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary Results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate a slight increase for the Olema Creek population and decrease for Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. Juvenile estimates were lower than expected for Redwood Creek and slightly higher than expected for Olema Creek given the number of redds observed during the last winter. Person in a wetsuit snorkeling in a shallow creek. Memories of Vision In October 1995, an illegal campfire in Point Reyes National Seashore ignited the largest wildfire to hit the area in sixty years. The Vision Fire, as it came to be known, scorched more than 12,000 acres, affecting not just the seashore’s flora and fauna, but also the private lands of nearby residents. Dozens of homes and other structures were destroyed. Memories of Vision have haunted Point Reyes ever since. Vast, blackened landscape with beaches and bluffs beyond. Coastal Dune Restoration: When is Invasive Plant Removal Just Not Enough? By the late 1990s, two non-native, invasive plant species had invaded 60% of Point Reyes National Seashore’s 2,200 acres of coastal bluff, dune, and scrub. That prompted the park to embark on an ambitious coastal dune restoration effort starting in 2001. However, native plants have not returned to some more inland dune areas. Could soil microorganisms be playing a role? To find out, scientists compared soil microbial communities in differently invaded and restored dune areas. Mechanically restored coastal dunes with invasive European sea-rocket in the foreground. Why the West Burns This year’s fire season was historic in California. According to Cal Fire, over 4 million acres had burned as of mid-November. That's more than double the footprint that made 2018 the previous record holder. The Woodward fire in Point Reyes National Seashore, at 5,000 acres, was only a small component of that total. But it was driven by the same conditions that fuel the state’s largest fires: human-caused climate change and fire suppression. Opened Bishop pine cone blackened on the outside, and orange on the inside. 2020 Coho Salmon Spawning Season Off to a Dry Start After a dry year marked by wildfire, the coho salmon spawning season is off to a similarly dry beginning. As of the end of November, the salmonid monitoring team had not spotted any coho salmon in Redwood and Olema Creeks. Fortunately, it is still early in the spawning season. A large greenish-brown fish with black spots swims over a rocky streambed. Elephant Seal Monitoring Season Summary: Winter 2019-2020 Elephant seal population numbers at Point Reyes National Seashore are similar to last year. A mild winter contributed to low pup mortality with about 1,000 pups surviving to weaning. In addition, deterrence methods to move pregnant females from the beach in front of the Ken Patrick Visitor Center appeared successful, with the majority of hazed females re-sighted with pups farther south on Drakes Beach. Weaned elephant seal raises its head to look at the camera. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Point Reyes National Seashore, California Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] bluff erosion Series: GIP Participants and Project Highlights [8 Articles] Participants selected for the GIP program have a unique opportunity to contribute to the conservation of America's national parks. Participants may assist with research, mapping, GIS analysis, resource monitoring, hazard mitigation, and education. GIP positions can last from 3 months to one-year. Robyn Henderek Series: Fire at Point Reyes: Past, Present and Future In this series, we'll dive into the past, present and future of fire in Point Reyes, by examining its impact on the seashore’s plants, animals and fungi. We’ll hear from scientists about how climate change, fire suppression, drought, and other human influences have changed the dynamics of wildfire in the West. And we’ll explore what the recovering seashore will look like in the coming months and years. A firefighter in the corner of the frame as flames swirl around the base of a large tree. Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: NPS Environmental Achievement Awards Since 2002, the National Park Service (NPS) has awarded Environmental Achievement (EA) Awards to recognize staff and partners in the area of environmental preservation, protection and stewardship. A vehicle charges at an Electric Vehicle charging station at Thomas Edison National Historical Park Series: Coastal Geomorphology—Storms of Record Storms can bring about significant coastal change as well as substantial economic damage and loss in the human environment. Read about a few storms of interest that have since made history due to their unique intensity, characteristics, or impacts. aerial view of a major storm along the northwest coast of the united states and canada Series: Physiographic Provinces Descriptions of the physiographic provinces of the United States, including maps, educational material, and listings of Parks for each. George B. Dorr, founder of Acadia National Park Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Weekly Elephant Seal Monitoring Update: March 5, 2021 About 30 nursing female elephant seals remain in Point Reyes. Meanwhile, staff continue to tag weaned elephant seal pups, more of which are now fully molted, sporting beautiful silvery gray coats. Beach closures remain in effect. Skinny female elephant seal nursing a fat pup. Scientist Profile: Sarah Codde, Marine Ecologist Meet Sarah Codde, a Marine Ecologist with the San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network. She specializes in marine mammals, and leads the elephant seal and harbor seal monitoring programs at Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. What’s it like to study 6,000 pound mammals that spend half their time in the ocean and half their time on land? Read Sarah’s story to find out! Marine Ecologist Sarah Codde pauses for a portrait while surveying elephant seals on Drake's beach. Scientist Profile: Taylor Ellis, Wildlife Technician How do biologists survey endangered northern spotted owls in the forests of Marin county? Wildlife technician Taylor Ellis has some tricks up his sleeve for finding these charismatic birds. Read about his adventures as a field wildlife biologist and how he got to be where he is today. Wildlife technician Taylor Ellis smiles outside Point Reyes National Seashore headquarters. Scientist Profile: Dr. Alison Forrestel, Supervisory Vegetation Ecologist As part of a larger effort to the dynamic women doing science in our parks, we are featuring Alison Forrestel, Supervisory Vegetation Ecologist at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. What’s it like to manage a vegetation program for a huge, urban National Park? Read Alison’s story to find out! Alison Forrestel in the field. Scientist Profile: Michael Reichmuth, Fisheries Biologist Meet Michael Reichmuth, fisheries biologist for the San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network. Find out more about why he’s so excited about fish, and how he got to be where he is today. Fisheries biologist michael reichmuth poses by a creek with a smolt trap. Coho Salmon: Habitat and Climate Matter Endangered coho salmon in coastal streams within the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and Point Reyes National Seashore may be on the verge of disappearing from these sites. These populations are affected by what happens in both their stream and ocean habitats. Aerial view of the Giacomini wetland and Lagunitas Creek mouth after restoration efforts December: Male Elephant Seals Arrive—and Let Us Know They Are Here Elephant seals make a LOT of noise! Anyone who visits either the Elephant Seal Overlook at Chimney Rock or Drakes Beach over the next weeks will be struck immediately by the racket that raucous male elephant seals make. At first, the cacophony sounds like a random assortment of burps and belches, clicks and snorts. But the vocalizations are not random—they are, in fact, a complex and essential element in establishing hierarchy. Two male elephant seals rear up and push against each other while sparring on the beach. Early Detection News - 2019 The Invasive Species Early Detection Team (ISED) conducted surveys in 2019 at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GOGA), Point Reyes National Seashore(PORE), John Muir National Historic Site (JOMU), and Pinnacles National Park (PINN). Noteworthy detections this year included yellow star thistle and purple star thistle at GOGA, poroporo and Jimson weed at PORE, cheat grass and smilo grass at PINN, and stinkwort at JOMU. A clump of green grass (cheat grass) laying on the ground Series: Elephant Seal Tales Read stories of the elephant seal pupping season through the eyes of Point Reyes Natioinal Seashore's volunteers. Two large male elephant seals rear up and slam their upper bodies against one another. January: Pups, Pups, Pups! – Bringing Forth the Next Generation January is a jam-packed, happening month for female elephant seals. When the cows, as females are known, turn up on Point Reyes beaches around the start of January, they are pregnant and ready to give birth after their months-long feeding trip. Within days, they give birth and start nursing their single pups, all the while fasting. Then, a few weeks later, just as they are weaning their pups, they enter estrus, mate, and head back out to sea. A black-furred elephant seal pup turns its large, dark eyes toward the camera. Zeroing In On Spawner Surveys Just before Thanksgiving, the fisheries crew with the San Francisco Bay Area Network Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Program conducted “Zero Count Surveys” along the lower sections of Redwood and Olema Creek. Zero counts are spawner surveys that occur before winter flows permit fish passage throughout a creek. A lagoon surrounded by vegetation First Redds and Fish: 2021 Salmonid Spawner Season It's been a slow salmonid spawner season in San Francisco Bay Area I&M Network parks with the first coho redds and fish observed in January. Stream flows have been low, but there's hope for a few more spawners to enter the system with several storm events in the forecast. A spawner salmon tail poking out from under a log in a stream Scientist Profile: Alex Iwaki, Hydrology Monitor "While I was in college, I didn't want to go back home for the summer to work at the local grocery. I applied for a bunch of environmental internships and got a fisheries internship in Colorado. I had no prior experience or any interest in fish, but I thought 'why not?' I went out there, learned a lot, and had an amazing time. After the fisheries internship, I knew I wanted to continue to work in natural sciences." Alex Iwaki Reinstituting Grazing to Save an Endangered Plant Sonoma alopecurus is a federally endangered species at Point Reyes. It is in danger of extinction, particularly as it may occur nowhere else. When grazing was eliminated a number of years ago from a wetland area that supports one of the park's largest populations, that population plummeted almost 10-fold. In 2020, the park constructed almost 2,000 feet of barbed wire fencing around the wetland to help reinstitute grazing in collaboration with a park rancher. Long row of fence posts through shrub-covered sand dunes. Scientists Discover Silent Threats to Pacific Coast Salmon Populations For decades, coho salmon returning to spawn in urban Pacific Northwest streams have been mysteriously dying in the aftermath of large storms. Now, after a painstaking search for answers, a team of scientists have found the culprit: a previously undescribed chemical nicknamed 6PPD-quinone. Meanwhile, scientists in California’s Central Valley noticed odd behavior and high mortality among juvenile Chinook salmon in multiple hatcheries just last winter. Coho carcass. Elephant Seal Harem Appears Overnight at Drakes Beach The elephant seals are taking over beaches in Point Reyes National Seashore to birth their pups and mate before returning to the open ocean. Park researchers were deterring females from establishing a harem in front of the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center. However a large group of females showed up overnight, and one gave birth! Nursing is a sensitive time for seal pups, so park staff closed the beach and ceased hazing efforts to prevent any disturbance. Harem of elephant seals on Drakes Beach. February: Mating and Impregnation – It's Complicated! When It comes to elephant seal mating, "There is no wining and dining," according to Winter Wildlife Docent Peggy McCutcheon. February is a wild month for elephant seal bulls and the cows they are pursuing. The competition and urge to mate is strong and can seem harsh by human standards. But the seals survive, and the pregnant females employ a special strategy to ensure the survival and development of their newly fertilized eggs. A large adult male elephant seal lies alongside a smaller adult female, holding her in place. 2021 Spawner Surveys Continue in Marin County Creeks with Mixed Results The San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew continued their weekly surveys up Marin County creeks in search of spawners and redds. Surveys produced mixed results with redd counts on Olema creek higher than the previous generation, but no new spawners or redds on Redwood Creek. A person with a snorkel and wetsuit floats in a shallow stream among downed trees Listening for Owls: A Multi-agency Collaboration to Preserve Spotted Owl Habitat Across the West For over 25 years, biologists from the National Park Service and several other agencies have collected spotted owl monitoring data to inform forest management that is guided by the multi-agency Northwest Forest Plan. Yet traditional field surveys for spotted owls have become less effective as their numbers have dwindled. Thus in 2021, the Northwest Forest Plan’s spotted owl monitoring design is transitioning to remote acoustic monitoring (also known as passive monitoring). Audio recording unit, with microphones on either side, mounted on a tree trunk. Wrapping Up Coho Spawner Season The 2020-2021 coho salmon spawning season has come to an end in the San Francisco Bay Area parks. Unfortunately it is likely one of the worst seasons on record for Redwood Creek with no live coho observed and only one steelhead carcass. With the spawning season over, the salmonid team will transition to smolt trapping operations. A close up of fish tail Park Staff & Partners Count Overwintering Snowy Plovers at Point Reyes Although breeding western snowy plovers get most of the attention at Point Reyes National Seashore, the breeding season isn’t the only time to see plovers in the park. In fact, many more of these federally threatened shorebirds may be seen snatching invertebrates off of the park’s beaches in the winter. This winter, there were more than ever. Three small shorebirds look out from atop a small sand dune. Biologists Begin Acoustic Monitoring to Study Spotted and Barred Owls National Park Service biologists have been tracking federally threatened northern spotted owls in the forests of Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area for decades. But this February, biologists began to supplement traditional surveys with a new method: remote acoustic monitoring. Biologists also received a grant to use acoustic monitoring to conduct the first comprehensive inventory of invasive barred owls on park lands. Map of northern Marin County, CA, with a haxagonal grid overlayed on the study area. Fire at Point Reyes Podcasts Join Science Communication Intern Jerimiah Oetting as he dives into how the Woodward Fire compares to its predecessor, what that recovery will look like in the coming months and years, and how certain vulnerable species might be impacted by wildfires in three new episodes of The Natural Laboratory podcast series. Burned vegetation along a trail, with new growth sprouting at the bases of some charred stems. For This Week, A More Personal Note on Education in Watersheds Hi, my name is Dustin Geisen and I am part of the San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew. I serve in the California Conservation Corps Watershed Stewards Program in partnership with AmeriCorps (WSP). Today, I am excited to share about a specific part of my service that I started this week: teaching for a WSP education series called Wonders of Watersheds (WOW!). Dustin Geisen in waters and a safety vest, knee-deep in a brisk creek collecting a water sample. Elephant Seal Monitoring Season Summary: Winter 2020-2021 Elephant seal population numbers are slightly higher than last year, and this year’s weaned pup count is the highest on record. About 1,150 pups survived to weaning. On Drakes Beach, the elephant seal population continued to grow and move up the beach towards the Ken Patrick Visitor Center. In January, a big storm from the south caused pup separations and some mortality but overall mortality was low this year. A large female seal stands out in a group of smaller black and gray pups. March: Catastrophic Molt: It's Not As Bad As It Sounds Anything with "catastrophic" in its name sounds seriously bad, however the catastrophic molt is a regular occurrence in the life of an elephant seal. Read why it's "catastrophic," learn about the continuing story of the life of a recently weaned pup, understand how elephant seals are monitored, and meet some of the volunteers who help protect and educate visitors about these animals who live a life of extremes. Two small elephant seals. One has mostly old tan-colored skin; the other has mostly new gray skin. Funding Granted for Much-needed Monarch Conservation Efforts in Marin County Working within the structure of the One Tamalpais Collaborative, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy received $400,000 in funding through the California Wildlife Conservation Board’s pollinator rescue program to invest in protection of monarch butterflies in Marin County. Close up photo of an adult monarch butterfly perched on green vegetation. Point Reyes Elephant Seal Population Growth Continues in 2021 with Record Weaned Pup Count Monitoring staff had another successful season for northern elephant seal monitoring this year at Point Reyes National Seashore! Population assessment continues to show a growth trend, with the highest weaned pup count recorded this year. Researchers counted a peak of 1,153 weaned pups, as well as a peak of 1,232 breeding females. Female seals with their pups cover a long stretch of sandy beach. Researchers Analyze Tagging Data to Study Elephant Seal Movements Between Colonies Glimpsing the drama of the northern elephant seal breeding season at Point Reyes National Seashore, it can be easy to forget that these huge, noisy, and abundant animals were once nearly extinct. The thousands of seals that crowd the beaches today were completely absent just 50 years ago. Part of how they were able to return has to do with some seals’ inclination to disperse and breed at beaches they were not born at. But how prevalent is dispersal among elephant seals? Two park researchers kneel behind seal pups before applying tags to their hind-flippers. The 2021 smolt trapping season has begun With the onset of spring, the San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring (SFAN) fisheries crew has moved to a new form of monitoring: smolt trapping. Data gathered from the traps can help to estimate ocean survival and productivity and assess rates of survival through the winter season. A wide mouthed funnel attached to a pvc pipe leads to a wooden box in a stream bed. Volunteering and Friendship at Point Reyes National Seashore Though volunteering for the National Park Service, especially at Point Reyes National Seashore, brings innumerable joys and surprises, even the most devoted of volunteers do not expect to find either a best friend or a spouse as part of their service. Read about the unexpected pleasures of new friendships formed and love found while volunteering at Point Reyes National Seashore and how giving of oneself through volunteering can result in receiving much more in return. Two women wearing red volunteer vests and gray volunteer ball caps stand side-by-side. Monterey Cypress Allée at RCA Point Reyes Receiving Station A windswept allée of mature Monterey cypress trees at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) line a remote road to what is now a park operations facility. While this highly formalized entry appears out of place in the pastoral landscape, the double row of trees reflects a time when international corporations sought the Pacific ocean’s coastlines to deploy emergent communications technology. RCA Building framed by an allée of Monterey cypress trees at Point Reyes National Seashore. From the Field: Winter 2021 Low Rainfall Impacting Salmonid Populations In this salmonid monitoring field update, learn how a historically low rainfall for Winter/Spring 2021 is affecting coho salmon and steelhead trout monitoring results. Photo of stream channel linking the lagoon and the ocean at Muir Beach, near Redwood Creek Researchers Examine Links Between Raven Activity and Snowy Plover Nest Success as 2021 Breeding Season Begins When common ravens devour western snowy plover eggs, they leave behind empty nest cups with tracks as evidence of the depredation event. Plover nests surrounded by raven tracks have become a worryingly familiar sight for biologists at Point Reyes. So this past winter, they decided to take a closer look at their past plover monitoring data. With new analyses, they were able to better understand the problem, and also the effectiveness of continuing the use of nest exclosures. Looking down through a nest exclosure at a nest cup containing three snowy plover eggs. Best Management Practices Improve Water Quality on the Point Reyes Peninsula Dairy and cattle ranching can contaminate streams with fecal indicator bacteria like E. coli. But changing ranching practices can dramatically reduce this risk. In 2019, Point Reyes National Seashore staff worked on a case study showing how water quality improved concurrent with grazing management practice implementation in the Olema Creek watershed. Now, they’ve published a new case study. This one looks at trends in water quality on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Partial map of the Point Reyes peninsula. Point Blue Ecologists Use Novel Tracking Technology to Unravel Mysterious Migratory Patterns of Swainson’s Thrushes April 2021 - Where do different populations of a migratory songbird go when they migrate? This mystery was first put forth by Audubon scientists over a century ago, and the answer might hold the key to protecting declining populations of a once-common species, the Swainson’s thrush. In 2014 Point Blue Conservation Science ecologists began a migration study to investigate, and the results were published in prominent scientific journal, Nature. Swainson's thrush with geolocation tag and zoomed in picture of tag From Source to Sea: Discover What Connects Watersheds to You and Me Watershed Stewards Program members Samantha Kuglen and Dustin Geisen made a video highlighting the National Park Service’s salmonid smolt trapping program in Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew monitors coho salmon and steelhead trout smolts from mid-April to late May. A ruler with a silver fish measuring at nearly 6 in Top 10 Tips for Visiting Point Reyes Park rangers share their top 10 insider tips for visiting Point Reyes this summer. From arriving before trailheads and overlooks get crowded to understanding the cool coastal weather, you'll be ready for an unforgettable trip to majestic Point Reyes! A man on the edge of a cliff looks out to big rolling waves on the ocean. Scientist Profile: Darren Fong, Aquatic Ecologist Meet Darren Fong, aquatic ecologist for Golden Gate National Recreation Area and lead scientist for the SFAN streamflow monitoring program. Discover how Darren's fascination with aquatic life and freshwater ecosystems began and learn how he got to be where he is today. Ecologist in NPS uniform at rocky intertidal monitoring site checks clipboard Low Stream Flows Cause Smolt Trapping to End Early For the first time in the Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program’s history, the monitoring crew had to stop outmigrant coho salmon smolt trapping early due to low flows. They removed the traps from both Olema and Redwood Creeks. This is just one of many indicators showing how severe the drought is this year. Damp creek bed where water should be flowing at the entrance to the Olema Creek smolt trap. Scientists Publish First Study of White Shark Population Trends off of California Great white sharks may not have fingers, but they do each have something akin to a fingerprint. The rear edge of their dorsal fins feature unique patterns that can be used to distinguish individuals. These patterns have been key to solving basic mysteries about central California's white sharks. For example, how many are there? And How is the population changing over time? White shark dorsal fin cutting the surface of the water. The trailing side of the fin is jagged. Restoring Coho and Steelhead Habitat at Point Reyes National Seashore Riparian ecosystems have a vital role in performing functions that are essential for coho salmon and steelhead trout and other native wildlife. The San Francisco Bay Area I&M Network salmonid monitoring team is currently performing vegetation assessments on the riparian zones within the Lagunitas Watershed. Watershed Stewards Program (WSP) corps members also organize a Watershed Awareness Volunteer Event (WAVE) to help restore the riparian corridor. Multiple crew members working in a highly vegetated forest Woodward Fire Kickstarts Monitoring of the Point Reyes Mountain Beaver The 2020 Woodward fire has created a unique opportunity for biologists to investigate an elusive and mysterious mammal population: Point Reyes mountain beavers (<em>Aplodontia rufa phaea</em>). In some areas, fire burned off the top layer of soil, exposing complex networks of tunnels two or three inches under the ground. Biologists are applying this 'x-ray' vision of mountain beaver habitat to locate active burrows in unburned areas. Photo of a small, furry brown rodent. One Tam is Excited to Announce the Return of the Tamalpais Bee Lab in 2021! In collaboration with Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn and her lab at San Francisco State University, One Tam is continuing our efforts to monitor and understand more about Mount Tamalpais’ wild bees and other pollinators. Building on the initial 2017 survey of Mt. Tam’s wild bees, we’ll be expanding monitoring to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin Water, California State Parks, and Marin County Parks from 2021-2025. Close-up of a black & yellow bee dusted with yellow pollen inside a bright orange & yellow flower. Plant Tech Talk: The Fruits of Fieldwork Happy Solstice from your local plant community monitoring technicians! We are two budding botanists eager to share the fruits of our research with you. We are spending the summer monitoring important plant communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area Network, including coast dune scrub, coast live oak woodlands, and annual grasslands. Every few years, permanent plots within these habitats are revisited to track change in plant communities. Two people carrying backpacks full of plant monitoring gear stand in front of sand dunes. West Coast National Parks Work with NOAA to Better Understand Ocean Acidification in the Rocky Intertidal and Beyond Ocean acidification (OA) is a huge threat to marine life. But it is hard to track remotely on a large scale. So this summer, seven West Coast national parks are teaming up with the 2021 NOAA West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise. They’ll collect water samples in-person to check several OA indicators. Their data will help paint the most detailed picture yet of OA conditions up and down the coast, from parks’ rocky intertidal zones to dozens of miles offshore. Collage of different rocky intertidal creatures photographed against a white background. Marin County Fine Scale Vegetation Map Complete Since 2018, a broad partnership co-led by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy has been working towards creating a fine scale vegetation map of Marin County. After collecting high resolution aerial imagery, LiDAR, and on-the-ground data, they released a draft “Lifeform Map” last year with 22 vegetation classes. This June, they finalized that map and completed it’s fine scale counterpart! Brightly colored map of southern Marin County, California. Bay Area Parks Work with NOAA to Better Understand Ocean Acidification in the Rocky Intertidal and Beyond Ocean acidification (OA) is a huge threat to marine life. But for now, it is harder to track remotely on a large scale. So this summer, seven West Coast national parks are teaming up with the 2021 NOAA West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise. They’re collecting water samples in-person to check several OA indicators. Their data will help paint the most detailed picture yet of OA conditions up and down the coast, from parks’ rocky intertidal zones to dozens of miles offshore. Large, impressive, white ship with several decks and equipped with lots of scientific equipment. Pine Gulch Snorkel Surveys Reveal First Juvenile Coho Salmon in Over a Decade The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network salmon monitoring crew has spotted juvenile coho salmon in Pine Gulch Creek for the first time since 2010! Pine Gulch is a stream in Point Reyes National Seashore that empties into Bolinas Lagoon. It has been known to support steelhead trout populations, but over the past decade endangered coho salmon have been absent. A small silvery fish with black stripes and large eye swimming Juvenile Salmon Summer Monitoring: Electrofishing Surveys in Redwood Creek The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network salmon team is continuing their summer juvenile salmon surveys and are currently performing electrofishing surveys throughout Redwood Creek in Marin County, CA. Electrofishing is a common technique in fisheries biology for sampling fish populations and determining species health, abundance, and density. Three staff members stand in a creek with one holding a long rod with a metal ring in the water. Monitoring Team Counts Fewer Harbor Seals than Usual Across Marin County in 2021 Last year, COVID-19 meant that biologists weren’t able to do their usual harbor seal surveys at park sites throughout Marin County. The few surveys they were able to do left them with more questions than answers. Namely, where did a large portion of Drakes Estero’s seal population disappear to? This year, the monitoring team hoped to find clues. But with the 2021 season now wrapping up and countywide harbor seal counts below average, some of the mystery remains. Three harbor seals resting on a sandbar. 2021 Western Snowy Plover Breeding Season Winding Down The western snowy plover breeding season in Point Reyes National Seashore is nearing its end. As of July 31st, biologists have observed 32 total nests throughout the park. How do 32 nests stack up to previous nest counts for these federally threatened shorebirds? Okay, but not great. Thirty-two is above average since 1996 (~28 nests), but also the lowest number seen since 2013. At the same time, nest success and chick survival are on track to improve over last years numbers. Adult plover nestled in a sandy depression right behind a pair of tiny, sand-colored chicks. San Francisco Bay Area Network 2019 Long-term Monitoring Updates The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network has created a new product for sharing our science with the Bay Area parks community: an immersive, multimedia StoryMap! Discover key highlights from the 2019 monitoring season along with striking photos, interactive maps, annotated graphs, audio recordings, and more. Person sitting among ferns beside an enormous tree, recording owl data. 2021 Harbor Seal Monitoring Updates Since monitoring started in 2000, monitors have counted an average of nearly 1,100 harbor seal pups born each spring at the main harbor seal locations in Marin County. This year, they counted only 921. Monitors also count harbor seals during the summer molt season. This is when all age groups come onshore to shed their fur. It's the best time to estimate Marin's total harbor seal population. Unfortunately, the 2021 molt season had the lowest total seal count on record. Dozens of harbor seals clustered together on a sand bar at low tide. Reflections on the 2020 Woodward Fire: Understanding the Impacts of Fire on Point Reyes Ecosystems The Woodward Fire, which ignited in August 2020 and burned nearly 5,000 acres of Point Reyes National Seashore wilderness, provides valuable counterpoint to the ecological devastation seen from many of other 2020 California fires. It presents a unique opportunity to observe the effects of a mixed-severity fire on an ecologically rich patchwork of coastal California habitats. Images of different vegetation types that burned with different severity in Woodward FIre As Drought Continues, Young Coho and Steelhead in Redwood Creek Need a Helping Hand This summer continues to be a challenge for the San Francisco Bay Area Network Fisheries Team and the aquatic life that inhabit our coastal streams. During our summer habitat monitoring, we found several drying pools in lower Redwood Creek in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We also noted fish displaying signs of distress like rising to the surface for air. Our team is working closely with park managers and regulatory agencies to help save these young coho and steelhead. An aerator pumps air into a small pool a fisheries crew prepares to rescue the pool's fish. Return of the Fire Defenders in Your Backyard Non-Indigenous land managers have suppressed fire for years which has led to what we now call “Fire Season.” So now some land managers are slowly reintroducing fire regimes, such as prescribed and cultural burns. These have immense power in protecting against catastrophic fires. But bringing back fire regimes isn’t necessarily an easy option close to our homes and communities. So what other opportunities do we have to support local fire resilience? Uniformed NPS staff kneeling by a plot of grassland overlooking a bay, writing on a clipboard. Winter 2020-2021 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary Due to drier than normal conditions, the 2020-2021 spawners needed a very wet start to the spawning season to access their creeks. That did not occur. The Olema Valley Rain Gauge only recorded 2.37 inches of rain in November. This was okay, but not enough to get the spawning season underway. To our dismay, storm after storm went by with only small amounts of rain each time. Finally, the creeks rose enough at the end of December to allow some coho to migrate upstream. Rear half of an adult salmonid decaying on a rocky streambed. POET Newsletter September 2014 Pacific Ocean Education Team (POET) newsletter from September 2014. Articles include: Sea Star Wasting Disease; Corallivore: Crown of Thorns Starfish Wreak Havoc in American Samoa — The NPS Responds; Seafloor in 3D; and Coral Bleaching Monitoring on Guam. A large, red-colored sunflower sea star that appears to be melting or disintegrating. Series: Pacific Ocean Education Team (POET) Newsletters From 2009 to 2015, the Pacific Ocean Education Team published a series of short newsletters about the health of the ocean at various National Park Service sites in and around the Pacific Ocean. Topics covered included the 2010 tsunami, marine debris, sea star wasting disease, ocean acidification, and more. Ocean waves wash in from the right onto a forested and rocky shoreline.
Point Reyes National Seashore National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior NPS Photo Commemorating 50 Years, 1962-2012 Point Reyes at Families have enjoyed the beauty and bounty of the beaches at Point Reyes for millennia. Coast Miwok people fished and gathered clams at low tide. Pictured here is a National Park Ranger contacting a family on McClures Beach in the 1960s, soon after the park was authorized. Inset: Biologist Mike Reichmuth working with students on the Giacomini Wetlands restoration project. A Bright Star in the Conservation Galaxy N ational Parks have become so much a part of American culture and heritage that it’s hard to imagine our country without them. These places are a way of preserving, unimpaired, some of the nation’s natural wonders and inspirational human stories for “the enjoyment of future generations.” As early as 1929, Californians were increasingly concerned about the fate of their coastline. Development had swallowed most of the eastern seaboard, and was accelerating along the Pacific and Gulf Coasts. Congressional reports recommended the creation of a system of national seashores to protect these vanishing landscapes, and to provide public access to beaches. In 1935, Conrad Wirth, then Assistant Director of the National Park Service, recommended that 53,000 acres of Point Reyes be purchased “because of the peninsula’s exceptional qualities and ... accessibility to the concentrated population of Central California.” The purchase price of $2.4 million, or about $45 per acre, seems a great bargain in retrospect, but, with the country still in the grip of the Great Depression, Congress thought otherwise. A new wave of land speculators aroused private conservation groups, who began to purchase Point Reyes themselves. The first 52 acres to be protected, in 1938, were the wetlands adjacent to Drakes Beach at a cost of $3,000. This property was deeded to Marin County. A dream was born, but it would take the extraordinary work of many individuals working together to fully realize that vision of a national seashore at Point Reyes. continued> Inside This Issue Fire Permit Page 1-3 —. Commemorating 50 Years You may obtain a free permit for a beach fire at Point Reyes National Seashore from any park visitor center. You must follow regulations as described on the permit. On high fire days, all permits are null and void. Call 415-464-5100 for current fire conditions. Page 4 — Page 5 — Plan Your Visit Recreation Page 6-7 —. From the Ground Up Page 8 — Just For Kids Visit us on the web at www.nps.gov/pore Welcome! For nearly a century and a half, National Parks have been sanctuaries for people seeking peace from the turmoil of daily life. This year, Point Reyes National Seashore is commemorating its 50th year as a proud member of this community. John F. Kennedy signed the legislation setting aside the only west coast seashore park on September 13, 1962. Sadly, he didn’t live to visit the park, but on October 20, 1966, Lady Bird Johnson, a champion of national parks and outdoor spaces, came to Point Reyes for its dedication. In her speech, the First Lady called Point Reyes, “a bright star in the galaxy of conservation achievements,” and spoke of the urgent need urban Americans have for open spaces near their communities. Point Reyes offers many opportunities to explore that natural world. From a peaceful walk through a fog-shrouded forest to a sun-drenched rocky perch above the immensity of the Pacific Ocean, here you can find many alluring retreats. In doing so, you may witness the drama of the changing seasons, as foggy summers give way to clear autumn days, and sun-browned autumn hillsides give way to winter’s replenishing rains. In spring, the magic is found in tiny yellow sun-cups blooming in sandy soils, and razor-taloned peregrine falcons stooping to combat nestmarauding ravens. The elk bugling on Tomales Point is characteristic of fall on the peninsula, while the return of the northern elephant seal and the migration of the Pacific gray whale herald winter and the year’s end. Enjoy your visit and help us to preserve this “bright star” so future generations may also find wonder and solace here. Through active stewardship, this place will remain a refuge for all. Park Superintendent, Cicely Muldoon Emergencies Report emergencies to visitor center staff or call 911. Cellular service is not available in most park locations. Pay phones are located at all three visitor centers, Limantour Beach, and Pierce Point Ranch. Lost and Found Items may be turned in or reported missing at any park visitor center. Become a Junior Ranger! Ask at the Bear Valley Visitor Center or the Lighthouse Visitor Center for your Junior Ranger activity packet. For more fun, visit these websites: www.nps.gov/pore/forkids/index.htm www.nps.gov/webrangers A Bright Star in the Conservation Galaxy continued Citizens Take Action In the early 1940s, though recreation an
Visitor Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Point Reyes National Seashore The official visitor guide of Point Reyes National Seashore Point Reyes Has a Season for Everyone Welcome For nearly a century, National Parks have been sanctuaries for people seeking peace from the turmoil of daily life. Since 1962, Point Reyes National Seashore has been a refuge, protected as a living landscape, and abundant seascape, and wilderness. A typical year on the Point Reyes Peninsula abounds with opportunities to enjoy an enormous variety of natural experiences. Each season has its own character and delights making a visit worthwhile at any time of year. Even shrouded in August fog or pummeled by a drenching cloudburst in March, the beauty of this singular dynamic landscape is inescapable. © Audobon Canyon Ranch, Gordon Sherman Photo Collection Spring - Greening of the Landscape Spring is the natural beginning of the year, when the first flowers emerge and migrants, both fluked and feathered, pass by Point Reyes heading north to nesting and feeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. The peninsula hosts nearly one hundred resident bird species, and another one hundred migrant species winter here. In spring and fall, many birds stop by to take advantage of the abundant food and water available here. Just offshore, the gray whales that passed by in January and February on their way to birthing lagoons in Mexico swim past the lighthouse returning to the rich feeding in the cold waters off Alaska. Mothers traveling with their newborn calves can be seen approaching from the south, passing very near to the Point. From the lighthouse we see their barnacle encrusted backs as they blow a few times and then dive to round the Point. On the opposite end of the Point Reyes headland, at Chimney Rock, wildflowers such as pussy ears, iris, poppies, blue-eyed grass, and larkspur—among dozens of other species—color the hillsides. Down on the pocket beaches below, elephant seal pups—born during the cool rainy winter, nursed for about a month, and then left on the beaches by their mothers—are seen throughout the spring. Joining them, after the adults leave, are the juveniles, returning to molt on the beaches where they were born. Bolinas Lagoon and Drakes Estero provide havens for harbor seal pupping. In these protected waters the seals haul out on sandbars, rest and nurse their young. At low tide they are a common sight from Highway 1 turnouts. These areas are closed to kayakers in order to protect them during this vulnerable time. (Continued on page 2) Fire Permit You may obtain a free permit for a beach fire at Point Reyes National Seashore from any park visitor center. You must follow regulations as described on the permit. On high fire days, all permits are null and void. Call (415) 464-5100 for current fire conditions. From a peaceful walk through a misty shrouded forest to a sunny perch above the wide open expanse of the Pacific Ocean, you have plenty of opportunities to find a suitable retreat. In doing so, you may witness the drama of the changing seasons, as foggy summers give way to clear autumn days, and as sunbrowned fall gives way to winter’s replenishing rains. You may also observe the magic of this place as snowy plovers nest among the seaside pebbles and as harbor seals give birth to their young in the esteros. While the bugling of tule elk on Tomales Point symbolizes fall on the peninsula, the year closes with the return of the northern elephant seal and the migration of the Pacific gray whale. Enjoy your visit and help us to preserve this national treasure so that future generations may find wonder and solace here as well. Through active stewardship, this place will remain a refuge for all. Photos from top: A beautiful day on Drakes Beach. Mule ears are a beautiful sight during the Spring wildflower bloom. Least sandpipers are among the many shorebirds that can be seen foraging on seashore beaches. Elephant seals are winter guests. Weaned pups, like those pictured, are the last to leave in the late spring. Emergencies Report emergencies to visitor center staff or call 911. Cellular service is not available in most park locations. Pay phones are located at all three visitor centers. Lost and Found Items may be turned in or reported missing at Bear Valley, Drakes Beach, or the Lighthouse Visitor Center. Become a Junior Ranger! Ask at the Bear Valley Visitor Center or the Lighthouse Visitor Center for your Junior Ranger activity packet. For more fun, visit these websites: www.nps.gov/pore/forkids/index.htm www.nps.gov/webrangers Don L. Neubacher Superintendent Inside This Issue Page 2 ... .......Seasons of Point Reyes Page 4 ... .......Human Layers on the Land Page 6 ... .......Planning Your Visit Page 7 ... .......Recreation Page 8 ... .......Just For Kids Visit us on the web at www.nps.gov/pore National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Point Reyes National Seashore Established in 1962,

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