U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|California Coastal National Monument|
CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT
December 10, 2012
CCNM Moved under BLM Central California District. At the beginning of the new federal fiscal year 2013, that started on October 1, 2012, the coordination and management responsibility for the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) was moved from the BLM California State Office’s Division of Natural Resources to the BLM Central California District Office. “Until this move, the California Coastal National Monument was the only national monument or national conservation area within the entire BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System not under a BLM line manager,” explained CCNM manager Rick Hanks. “Line managers within the BLM are the managers with direct line-management authority from the BLM Director to the State Directors to the district managers to the field office managers.”
The current BLM Central California district manager Este Stifel oversees the management of five of the 15 BLM field offices in California. Three of the five Central California field offices are involved with the CCNM. These are the Ukiah, Hollister and Bakersfield field offices. The other two BLM California field offices involved with the CCNM are the Arcata Field Office within the BLM Northern California District and the Palm Springs/South Coast Field Office within the BLM California Desert District. The BLM Central California district manager is responsible for overseeing the effective coordination of the CCNM with the Northern California district manager and the California Desert district manager. The CCNM manager’s roles and responsibilities remains the same, including providing overall program development, direction, and oversight for the California Coastal National Monument and internal coordination with the five BLM field offices on the day-to-day management of their portion of the CCNM; focus on external coordination with the wide variety of CCNM partners and with other federal, state, county, and local government agencies and private organizations; and the implementation of the CCNM Resource Management Plan, with particular focus on the “CCNM Gateways” program, development of new partnerships, and expansion of the seabird conservation effort.
BLM Central California District Manager Visits CCNM. On November 7, 2012, BLM Central California district manager Este Stifel visited the CCNM office in Santa Cruz to get a crash course in what she referred to as “CCNM 101.” CCNM manager Rick Hanks provided her with an orientation to the CCNM Resource Management Plan and the basic framework established for the management of this unique national monument. With the preliminary introduction to the workings of the CCNM out of the way, the entire next day, November 8, was devoted to an on-the-ground orientation to the monument, touring the Monterey Peninsula and the northern portion of Big Sur. The day and the weather were ideal for an exposure to the CCNM and its various faces. The sunny and clear morning was spent observing the wildlife living on and around the offshore rocks. Starting with a stop outside the Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station to view the offshore rocks and discuss CCNM partnerships, the morning ended with a climb onto the monument at Point Piños and a discussion of the protection purpose of the CCNM. By early afternoon, the sky clouded and cooler air and rain showers created an exposure to another face of the California coast as the district manager and CCNM manager stopped to view California Sea Lions on Bird Rock at Pebble Beach, discussed outreach opportunities and rocky intertidal monitoring at Pescadero Rocks at Carmel Bay, seabird monitoring and CCNM overlooks at Hurricane Point, and CCNM boundaries and other adjoining jurisdictions at Pfeiffer Beach Rocks at Big Sur.
Seabird Protection Network Point Sur to Point Mugu Report on Breeding Population Trends from 1979-2011 Released. As a product of the Seabird Protection Network Point Sur to Point Mugu Project, the final report on seabird “Breeding Population Trends of Brandt’s and Double-Crested Cormorants, Point Sur to Point Mugu, California, 1979-2011,” was released in November 2012 and will be posted soon on the “Seabird Protection Network” section of the CCNM website at www.blm.gov/ca/ccnm.
Prepared by Phil Capitolo with the Institute of Marine Sciences of the University of California Santa Cruz and Gerry McChesney of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with input from others representing Humboldt State University and Carter Biological Consulting, the report examines the breeding population trends of Brandt’s Cormorants and Double-Crested Cormorants along the south-central California coast from Point Sur to Point Mugu. Based almost entirely on aerial photographic survey data, the report provides the background data needed to compare future monitoring and human disturbance data. The study involved the following: (1) conducting aerial photographic surveys in 2010 and 2011 and determining whole-colony counts of nests, sites, and birds from the photographs; (2) determining whole-colony counts from archived annual aerial photographs for the 1996-2009 period; and (3) synthesizing past published and unpublished data since 1979. Data for the entire 1979-2011 period were summarized and statistical trends were determined for Brandt’s Cormorant breeding populations for the 1989-2011 period.
The study found that for Brandt’s Cormorants total numbers of nests for the Point Sur-Point Mugu region varied annually but were higher in 1989 compared to 1979-80 and increased by 4.5% per annum in 1989-2011. Population increase in 1989-2011 mostly occurred south of Piedras Blancas Island (9.9% per annum). During the study period, the peak annual nest count for the entire region was 7,281 nests (14,562 breeding birds) in 2006. Annual counts were lower during strong El Niño conditions in 1993 and 1998 and during moderate El Niño conditions in 2003. In 2008, breeding populations also were much lower throughout the region (and elsewhere in California) despite La Niña conditions. The largest breeding colonies were Piedras Blancas Island, Morro Rock and Pillar Rock, and Cape San Martin. The largest colony complexes were Partington Ridge North-Buck Creek and Point Buchon-North Pismo Beach Rocks. For Double-Crested Cormorants, total numbers of nests increased from just three nests in 1979-80 to 164 nests in 1989, and increased further to a high count of more than 745 nests in 2009. Most nesting occurred in trees on the mainland. Fairbank Point in Morro Bay State Park was the most significant colony, based on its large size (>400 pairs) and consistent use since at least 1989.
The study noted loss of the Double-Crested Cormorant colony at Shell Beach Rocks from potential human disturbance and noted nest abandonments at three Brandt’s Cormorant colonies along the Big Sur Coast (i.e., Plaskett Rock, Seastack South at Redwood Gulch, and Ragged Point Lodge Colony). Much inter-annual variation of breeding locations of Brandt’s Cormorant colonies further suggests disturbance factors may be affecting nesting cormorants within the study area, but more study with ground-based surveys is needed. Potential human disturbance to roosting cormorants by a sea kayaker was noted at Shell Beach Rocks in 2011, but such forms of disturbance may also limit nesting by cormorants and other seabirds. Roosting Brown Pelicans also were photographed when they occurred within or adjacent to cormorant colonies. The largest roost was at Morro Rock (1,214 birds) recorded in May 2007. Eighteen other sites had at least one count in May-June greater than 100 pelicans, including Shell Beach Rocks, which had previously been identified as among the most important pelican roost sites in central California and subject to high rates of disturbance by sea kayakers.
The report concluded that breeding population trends of Brandt’s and Double-Crested Cormorants in 1979-2011 in the Point Sur-Point Mugu region underscored the importance of the Torch/Platform Irene Trustee Council’s selection of the restoration action to reduce human disturbance to seabird breeding colonies and roost sites in this region by showing that the region hosts substantial populations of both species and that human disturbance is likely occurring. But, given continued high breeding population sizes for Brandt’s Cormorants in recent years, potential human disturbance in the region that may cause nest abandonments and/or colony shifting is at the same time likely not having a significant net impact on the species’ overall regional or range-wide population sizes. For Double-Crested Cormorants, however, breeding population size in the region is apparently limited by availability of suitable breeding habitat.
Fifth & Final Report on Gualala Point Island Seabird & Marine Mammal Intensive Monitoring Completed. After five years (2007-2011) of detailed examination of seabirds and marine mammal attendance patterns of Gualala Point Island and two other select locations off The Sea Ranch Association properties along the northern Sonoma County coast, the report on the study that covered the fifth and final year (2011) has been completed. Entitled “Seabird and Marine Mammal Monitoring at Gualala Point Island, Sonoma County, California, 2011” and prepared by Dr. James Weigand, BLM California State Office ecologist, and Diane Hichwa and Barbara Rice, co-chairs of The Sea Ranch CCNM Stewardship Task Force, the report provides a detailed examination of seabird and marine mammal attendance patterns at Gualala Point Island, as well as at Black Point and Galleons Reach/Arch Rock was completed. The 2011 data furnish further baseline information for Gualala Point Island seabirds and marine mammals, which will refine future monitoring efforts and guide the management of the California Coastal National Monument. Aerial photography of Fish Rocks in southern Mendocino County, the closest large seabird colony to Gualala Point Island, is also presented in order to provide the basis for a long‐term comparison with Gualala Point Island.
The original impetus for the five-year monitoring study was to examine potential impacts of a fireworks display conducted on July 6, 2007, from a low coastal bluff in the community of Gualala located just over a mile (1.8 km) northeast of Gualala Point Island. The 2011 data add to the baseline of information for Gualala Point Island with no fireworks occurring. The monitoring program of the BLM and The Sea Ranch CCNM Stewardship Task Force (i.e., the Task Force) included (1) a quarterly coastal island survey along the ten miles of The Sea Ranch coastline; (2) a monthly non‐breeding season survey at the three islands during fall and winter months; (3) a weekly breeding season survey at the same three islands from April through August; and (4) the daily intensive monitoring at Gualala Point Island over a 20‐day period in June and July.
As in the previous four years, data were collected on all species observed; however, efforts focused on the colony of Brandt’s Cormorants because of their known sensitivity to human disturbance and the relatively large sample size that could be monitored. For this species, colony monitoring combined land‐based nest monitoring and bird count data from a series of aerial photographs. The aerial photography established “snapshots” in time and provided coverage of the entire cormorant colony. Land-based nest monitoring was constrained because only about 11% of the colony was visible from the mainland vantage points. Still, land‐based nest monitoring provided relatively detailed information on individual visible nests and helped interpret aerial photographic results.
The aerial photographs of Gualala Point Island showed 95 potential nest sites with pairs of Brandt’s Cormorants in 2011, of which 92 produced a nest. As of July 5, 2011, 80 nests produced chicks. Overall, 87% of nests hatched chicks compared to 75% in 2011. Chicks were noted first on June 8, four weeks earlier than in 2010, and several nests were being brooded as late as August 3. By May 15, Western Gulls had established 57 nests on Gualala Point Island. During the intensive monitoring period, 53 nests were observed in 2011 compared to 54 in 2010 and 41 in 2009. Nest failure was very high (74%), at a level not previously seen at Gualala Point Island. Chicks that did hatch and survive grew very slowly. On July 14, the last day of intensive monitoring of gull nests, only 14 chicks remained. Productivity per nest was 0.26 chicks as of that date.
The Task Force also monitored other seabird species, including Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Brown Pelicans, and Common Murres, as well as Black Oystercatchers and Harbor Seals. Surveys demonstrated that the same five species (i.e., Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots, Western Gulls, and Black Oystercatchers) nested on Gualala Point Island in 2011 as in the previous four surveys of the island (i.e., 2007, 2008. 2009, and 2010). Evidence from aerial photography indicates that Common Murres were attempting to nest for the first time, but conclusive evidence was not observed. Increasing numbers of Common Murres may have attempted nesting on Gualala Point island after displacing Brandt’s Cormorant nests. Nesting displacement from Common Murres may increase in coming years, following a pattern observed further north in Mendocino County.
A report analyzing and synthesizing the five years (i.e., 2007-2011) of intensive seabird surveys of Gualala Point Island is currently being prepared under BLM contract with the Farallones Institute for Advance Ecosystem Research. The completed “Seabird and Marine Mammal Monitoring at Gualala Point Island, Sonoma County, California, 2011” report will be posted soon on the CCNM website at www.blm.gov/ca/ccnm under “Papers and Reports.”
Storm-Petrels Colonies Found Greatly Reduced in Trinidad Area. Seabird researchers continuing the survey of California’s North Coast for Storm-Petrels on the offshore rocks and islets were disappointed to find a significant decline in the nesting colonies of Storm-Petrels off the Trinidad area of Humboldt County, California. This decline was in contrast to the significant discovery these same researchers made a few months ago along the Mendocino County coast of several active nesting sites of the Ashy Storm-Petrel, a fairly rare nocturnal, cavity nesting seabird [See “Ashy Storm-Petrels Found Nesting on CCNM Rocks Off Mendocino Coast,” CCNM Update, August 31, 2012, pp. 3 & 4].
Continuing their survey north in late September 2012, seabird researchers Harry Carter and Mike Parker, under contract with the California Institute of Environmental Studies and funded by the BLM through an assistance agreement with the Institute of Wildlife Studies, conducted post-season seabird colony surveys in the Trinidad area. The researchers surveyed three storm-petrel colonies at Little River Rock (a.k.a. Camel Rock), Prisoner Rock, and Button Rock, as well as four offshore rocks (i.e., Blank Rock, Flatiron Rock, Puffin Rock, and Green Rock) with documentation of observed nesting by nocturnal alcids. At Little River Rock and Button Rock, storm-petrel burrow counts were greatly reduced from 1989 (<5-10%). At Prisoner Rock, no storm-petrel burrows were found versus 71 burrows in 1989. River Otter predation had been noted at Prisoner Rock in 1970, 1979, and 1989, and likely led to colony loss. It is, however, unclear, as to what may have caused reductions at other colonies. No dead birds or mammal scat were found, but if otters wiped out these colonies over a decade ago there might not be any visible evidence today. Breeding habitats on these rocks did not appear to be altered. On the offshore rocks surveyed, no evidence of use of limited crevices by nocturnal alcids was found, although storm-petrel odor was noted on Green Rock.
Major changes in storm-petrels have occurred since 1989, including loss of most breeding Leach's Storm-Petrels in California and possible loss of the southern end of the range of the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel in California. More work is needed in 2013 to find out if and how many storm-petrels may still attend Little River Rock, Button Rock, and other rocks in the Trinidad Bay area (e.g., one night of mist-net captures in May, June, July and August for comparison to 1979 and 1989 data and place song meters on a couple select rocks from May to August to detect presence or absence for each night during this period). In addition, it would be desirable to conduct surveys at Castle Rock National Wildlife Refuge near Crescent City, since Castle Rock has the only other major colony in California, to determine if this is a large-scale phenomenon (e.g., climate change) or a local issue (e.g., River Otters).
Audubon California Reports on Results of Second Season of Survey Results: “Don’t fear the reaper… Black Oystercatcher is back!” During the spring and summer of 2012, over 50 Audubon chapter members, leaders, and partners “adopted” one or more Black Oystercatcher nest on the California coast and tracked the success of these nests every week through fledging or abandonment. Audubon California seabird program manager Anna Weinstein explained that, “These committed citizen scientists and conservationists gathered critical baseline information that will be used to help protect this rare, charismatic species.” This was part of a multi-year study with the second year focusing on surveying reproductive success. The data collected by the citizen science participants will be analyzed using methods developed by scientists at the Corvallis Research Group at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Oregon. Weinstein add that the results of the USGS analysis “will indicate how well oystercatchers are succeeding at reproducing along the California coast relative to other areas.” This information in turn will be used over the coming year as Audubon California develops a handbook of Black Oystercatcher and rocky intertidal best management practices to share with agencies, businesses, coastal land owners, and others. The recommendations will focus on reducing disturbance to and degradation of key nesting and feeding areas.
The 2012 surveys have added a significant amount of information to that already known about Black Oystercatchers along the California coast. Current information indicates that hatching success across the species' range is 34-70%. Fledging success range-wide, though, is much lower, and has been found to be only 12–39%. However, Black Oystercatchers are long-lived. It takes about five years to reach breeding age, but after that strong pair bonds are formed. Paired adults maintain territories year-round and enforce them by vigorous chases. Don Roberson, coordinator of Black Oystercatcher Survey for the Monterey Audubon Society chapter, explained that, “Each adult may have 4–10+ years to replace themselves for the population to remain stable, but the fledging success rate of 15–19% should maintain a stable population.” He added that, “It is the young chicks that are the most vulnerable.” The analysis of the 2012 survey data will help to refine this information and aid in the understanding of management practices that will help to ensure the continual survival of this tenacious species.
In the meantime, breeding success might be improved if vulnerable nest sites in public areas could be better protected. Ideal nesting sites for Black Oystercatchers (i.e., where they occur in highest densities) are characterized by sea stacks found just offshore (most are part of the CCNM) with nearby marine terraces and low gradient intertidal areas with rich mussel beds. Weinstein says that, “Simple actions like moving out of the area when birds make alarm calls or appear agitated can mean the difference between nest success and failure for a pair.” At Point Piños, located at the end of the Monterey Peninsula, the CCNM has worked with the City of Pacific Grove and installed signs to encourage the public to avoid disturbing nesting Black Oystercatchers.
BLM Washington D.C. Office Hazmat Ecologist Visits CCNM Regarding Development of Spill Contingency Plan. During the week of September 24, 2012, BLM Washington Office hazardous materials ecologist Dr. Ron McCormick visited the California Coastal National Monument in order to further assess how best to approach the development of a contingency plan for oil spills and hazardous substance releases that may affect the CCNM and other BLM coastal resources along the California coast. With BLM California State Office ecologist Dr. Jim Weigand for the first part of the week, McCormick visited with BLM’s Arcata Field Office manager Lynda Roush and her staff and then drove to the King Range and met with King Range National Conservation Area manager Gary Pritchard-Peterson and his staff and discussed needs and opportunities. The latter half of the week was spent with CCNM manager Rick Hanks touring the CCNM around the Monterey Peninsula and then driving down Big Sur and meeting with BLM Bakersfield Field Office environmental protection specialist Kent Varvel and touring BLM’s Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area with the site’s manager Jim Boucher. McCormick will assess the information that he gained and the observations that he made to determine how the BLM can best develop the a spill contingency plan for not only the California coast, but for the BLM’s resource responsibilities along the Oregon, Washington, and Alaska coastal areas as well.
BLM State Director Honors Trinidad Students as CCNM 'Rock Stars' & Visits Trinidad Gateway Committee. BLM California State Director Jim Kenna visited Trinidad, California, on October 26, 2012, and honored three groups of students from Trinidad Union School for finding creative ways to encourage their friends and families to discover the California Coast National Monument. Each group was presented with a “CCNM Rock Star Award.” “One of the most important things we do is connecting youth with the outdoors,” Kenna told a crowd gathered at the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. “When they discover public lands, it can be the start of a lifetime of discovery and enjoyment of the outdoors,” he explained. “We are so proud of these students that we’ve decided they are Rock Stars.” The State Director gave out CCNM Rock Star Awards for the following projects: (1) Student artwork contest created at the school and shared with community. The projects were inspired by the students’ love of their own backyard, the rocks and islands just offshore; (2) Student actors in the Outdoors Cool video public service announcements; and (3) Student Youth Interpreters from Trinidad classes who shared information about the CCNM with other schools throughout the county.
Kenna also visited the CCNM Trinidad Gateway Committee and announced completion of a five-year strategy for managing BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System lands in California, including the California Coastal National Monument, the King Range National Conservation Area, and the Headwaters Forest Reserve. A copy of the “Five-Year Strategy: 2013-2018” is available on-line on the BLM California National Landscape Conservation System website at: www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas (at the bottom of the menu bar on the right-hand side of the BLM California National Landscape Conservation System homepage).
Leisyka Parrott Recipient of BLM National Silver Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. Leisyka Parrott, interpretive specialist with the BLM Arcata Field Office, is a 2012 Silver Award recipient of the BLM “Excellence in Interpretation and Education” Awards. These annual awards recognize outstanding BLM interpreters and educators for their work on employee-conducted programs that enhanced public appreciation and understanding of the natural and cultural riches on our public lands, as well as management issues in the context of the BLM’s multiple-use mission. For the seventeenth consecutive year, the BLM presented these awards at the Excellence in Interpretation ceremony on November 15, 2012, at the annual National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Workshop held this year in Hampton, Virginia. BLM Advisor to the Director Aristotle Evia presented the awards and stated, “The BLM depends on its interpreters and educators to help the public understand what keeps our resources healthy, appreciate how the wealth of our nation’s public lands can enrich their lives, and guard the legacy we will leave for future generations.” Leisyka received her Silver Award for developing innovative ways to implement the goals of the California Coastal National Monument Trinidad Gateway. This ranged from teaching sixth graders to serve as tidepool interpreters for other students to working with local businesses to help students learn about and identify local birds and marine mammals in their coastal “backyards.” Leisyka was one of two Silver Award recipients. An additional Silver Award was presented to Terina Mullen of the BLM Western Montana District, Butte, Montana, and the Gold Award was given to Peggy McGuckian of the BLM Winnemucca District Office, Winnemucca, Nevada.
BLM Arcata Field Office & CCNM Trinidad Gateway Host Public Lands Day "Bash Ivy" Event. More than 50 volunteers and BLM staff participated in an “ivy bash” as a National Public Lands Day event at Luffenholtz County Park on Saturday, September 29, 2012. Luffenholtz County Park is a Humboldt County park that adjoins and provides access to CCNM’s Button Rock and Little River Rock (a.k.a. Camel Rock) at the south end of Trinidad Bay. The event was organized by the CCNM Trinidad Gateway Committee to remove the thick ivy and other invasive plants on the Humboldt County lands in order to prevent these invasive species from spreading to the CCNM rocks and islets.
Volunteers gathered at 9 a.m. with the help of a shuttle from the nearby Trinidad Rancheria (a CCNM Steward). A safety briefing was followed by enthusiastic workers successfully filling a 40-yard dumpster with non-native ivy and pampas grass. The BLM worked with CCNM Gateway partners to make the event a success. The Redwood Region Audubon Society (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) provided lunch for all the volunteers and Trinidad Rancheria provided the needed shuttle. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) provided tools and weed pulling expertise. The BLM brought coffee and homemade pastries made by the BLM staff for the morning safety briefing. With the help of a local neighbor with a Bobcat loader, the group bashed more than 40 yards of ivy at the worksite.
[See photos of the event in article “Volunteers help BLM "bash ivy" at Arcata-area NPLD event” at BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 551, 10/05/2012]
Volunteers Pitch-In on Stornetta Public Lands at Point Arena. A group about 30 volunteers and BLM staff pitched in to improve the Point Arena and Stornetta Public Lands on a hike and volunteer project day on the BLM’s Stornetta Public Lands on Saturday, November 3, 2012. Organized by the California Wilderness Coalition and supported by the CCNM Point Arena Gateway Committee and the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers (a CCNM Collaborative Partner), the event took place on a picture-perfect day overlooking the California Coastal National Monument. Participants in this day-long activity hiked across the portion of the BLM Stornetta Public Lands adjoining the City of Point Arena (a CCNM Collaborative Partner) and overlooking Arena Cove. Volunteers use trimming tools to cut away coastal pine saplings in a project aimed at improving coastal meadows. One team mixed cement while another team dug post holes and inserted sign posts and installed a new information kiosk at one of the entry points to the BLM Stornetta Public Lands, as well as an interpretive sign about coastal resources and the Marine Life Protection Act on the BLM lands near the Point Arena Lighthouse.
[See photos of the event in article “Volunteers Pitch in at Point Arena – Stornetta Public Lands” at BLM California News.bytes at www.blm.gov/ca/news/newsbytes, Issue 556, 11/03/2012]
International Ecotourism/Sustainable Tourism Conference Walking Tour of Monterey Harbor Views CCNM. What do you get when you bring together the California Coastal National Monument, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and Save Our Shore to provide a two hour walking tour and activity? You create a great opportunity for the participants. Attendees of the International Ecotourism/Sustainable Tourism Conference, held in Monterey, California, from September 17-19, 2012, were provided that opportunity. On the afternoon of Tuesday, September 18, as one of the tours associated with the conference, about a dozen conference attendees from Germany, Jamaica, and around the country, met CCNM manager Rick Hanks, Save Our Shore executive director Laura Kasa, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary government and community relations coordinator Deirdre Whalen outside the Portola Hotel. After introductions and an orientation to the Save Our Shore’s beach clean-up program, Hanks lead the group to the walking-biking trail near the Monterey Wharf and stopped and discussed the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The group walked down to the small beach to observe the Monterey Bay up-close and personal and conducted a brief beach clean-up. Hanks then lead the group up from the beach and back to the trail above the Monterey Marina to view seabirds and Harbor Seals on the offshore rocks and discuss the CCNM. The group followed Hanks to the Coast Guard Pier to get an up-close view of California Sea Lions, Brown Pelicans, and Brandt’s Cormorants. The walking tour participants enjoyed the opportunity to walk at their own pace, picking-up a wide variety of liter, and talking on a one-on-one basis with the agency and organization representatives.
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History Latest CCNM Collaborative Partner. During the transition from federal Fiscal Year 2012 to the new Fiscal Year 2013, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History became the thirty-ninth CCNM Collaborative Partner. Through the memorandum of understanding that went into effect on September 27, 2012, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History agreed to work with the BLM and its CCNM partners towards sustaining or enhancing the geographical character of the Santa Cruz coastal and Monterey Bay area; coordinate the Museum’s outreach activities and initiatives with CCNM outreach initiatives; serve as a CCNM “visitor contact station” by displaying and distributing agreed upon CCNM outreach materials and providing visitor information regarding the CCNM; and participate in the planning, development, implementation, and management of the CCNM Gateway initiative for the Santa Cruz-San Mateo coastal area (i.e., CCNM Pigeon Point Gateway) and/or other CCNM Gateways, as appropriate.
Established in 1905, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History is one of the oldest institutions in Santa Cruz. Guided by the mission of “connecting people with nature and inspiring stewardship of the natural world,” the focus of the Museum's permanent collection is on the diverse natural habitats found in Santa Cruz County -- shoreline, wetland, sandhills, chaparral, redwood forest -- and their contained biodiversity, and the native people who managed this landscape before the Europeans arrived. The Museum collects preserve and promotes the natural history heritage of the Greater Monterey Bay Region and is the foundation for all of the Museum’s exhibits and programs.
In 2012, the Museum has welcomed thousands of visitors, mostly from Northern California. Most of the Museum’s visitors and students live in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Mateo counties. The Museum’s combined educational programs serve more than 7,000 children and adults through the year. These programs include docent-led school tours, lectures, field trips, and workshops for adults, summer camps for kids, and the Super Summer Saturday program for families. The Museum’s education program also maintains and lends educational kits, slide shows, and specimen on topics such as Ohlone culture, seashells, regional birds, and California native plants. Today, the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History has become a community institution with a variety of partners in environmental education that complement the mission and programs of the Museum. Dr. Daniel Harden, Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History executive director, stated that he “looks forward to a long and prosperous relationship between the Museum and the BLM that will be beneficial to both the California Coastal National Monument and the community of Santa Cruz County.”
“Keen Eyes & Curious Minds” Exhibit Opens at Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History in Partnership with BLM. What if nature was your classroom and animals were your textbooks? That is what is addressed in a new featured exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. The exhibit was sponsored and developed in partnership with the BLM and University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Museum of Natural History Collections. The exhibit is titled “Keen Eyes and Curious Minds - Exploring the Lives and Work of Local Naturalists Daniel Miller and Randall Morgan.” It explores what it means to be a naturalist by highlighting the lives and work of the two local Santa Cruz naturalists. Using their keen observation skills, these influential men catalogued hundreds of local species and helped establish protections for endangered lands. The exhibit focuses on how everything from an Ohlone Tiger Beetle to a Great White Shark can teach us how to become naturalists and develop a greater sense of stewardship for our local lands.
The BLM Hollister Field Office initiated a partnership on behalf of CCNM with the Santa Cruz City Museum to sponsor an exhibit that would highlight some aspect of natural history of interest to users of the monument. Fishing from the coastal rocks is and will continue to be an enduring use of the CCNM. The BLM, therefore, agreed to sponsor an exhibit that focused in part on the work of Daniel Miller, a (now-retired) California Department of Fish and Game biologist, who illustrated and co-authored the standard identification manual for marine fish, including sport fish of the California's nearshore waters. Miller's drawings have appeared in countless interpretive publications, signs, and identification keys. BLM Hollister ecologist Dr. Michael Westphal says that, “The exhibit creates a fresh impetus to accurately interpret California's coastal marine resources to recreational users of the California Coastal National Monument and will create renewed interest in the monument as the gateway for people of all walks of life to experience and enjoy California's coastal fishery."
Randall Morgan is local naturalist and a fourth generation native of Santa Cruz County. It is estimated that Morgan personally collected and identified at least 10,000 native plants specimens and found more than a dozen plants and insects that exist only in Santa Cruz County. His insect collection alone fills half a room at the UCSC Museum of Natural History Collections, where his collections reside. Although he has a degree in linguistics, this widely-recognized naturalist expert in Santa Cruz County plants and insects is essentially self-taught. He built his expertise through “exquisitely refined observations and obsessive collecting,” reports Keith Rozendal of UCSC.
Westphal and CCNM manager Rick Hanks attended the reception for the exhibit opening at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History on Friday evening, October 19, 2012. Westphal had the honor of providing the introductory remarks for Daniel Miller. The exhibit will be on display at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History through February 23, 2013.
CCNM Lost Coast Gateway Brochure Available. The CCNM Lost Coast Gateway brochure, created by the gateway committee, is back from the printer and now available from either the:
BLM King Range National Conservation Area Office
P.O. Drawer 189, Whitethorn. CA 95589
Telephone: (707) 986-5400
Fax: (707) 986-5401
Contact by e-mail via BLM web-site: www.blm.gov/ca/arcata/kingrange/
BLM Arcata Field Office
1695 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521
Telephone: (707) 825-2300
Fax: (707) 825-2301
Contact by e-mail via BLM web-site: www.blm.gov/ca/arcata/
Copies of the brochure can also be obtained at the Petrolia General Store in Petrolia, California, and at the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse at Shelter Cove, California. The brochures will be distributed to other locations in the spring. In addition, the brochure with be available on the CCNM website in the near future.
The Lost Coast Gateway brochure touches on the CCNM and the region’s cultural and natural history, as well as its recreation opportunities. The brochure specifically highlights three areas of the Lost Coast region. These are the Northern Landscape (the mouth of the Mattole River and estuary), the Central Landscape (Shelter Cove area), and the Southern Landscape (Needle Rock/Bear Harbor area of the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park).
The artwork for the brochure was done by Arcata artist Gary Bloomfield and the brochure layout and design was by the Natural Resources Services Division of Redwood Community Action Agency. The gateway committee consulted with the local historian Jerry Rohde and worked with all of its members on the content. The CCNM Lost Coast Gateway Committee consists of the BLM, California State Parks, Inter Tribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, Lost Coast Interpretive Association, Cape Mendocino Lighthouse Preservation Society, Shelter Cove Resort Improvement District, and Shelter Cove Pioneers. The brochure was produced through the BLM California State Office and printed through a U.S. Government Printing Office contactor.
MARINe Received USDI Partners in Conservation Award & Included CCNM. The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) was one of the 17 recipients of the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDI) “Partnership in Conservation” Award for 2012. The Secretary of the Interior presented the 2012 “Partners in Conservation” Awards to organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Accepting the 2012 Partners in Conservation Award to MARINe for the 65 key representatives of the coastal network were MARINe manager Mary Elaine Helix (USDI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), MARINe coordinator Dr. Jack Engle (University of California Santa Barbara), and MARINe principal investigators Dan Richards (Channel Islands National Park), Dr. Rich Ambrose (University of California Los Angeles), Dr. Steve Murray (California State University Fullerton), and Greg Boland (USDI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management). In addition, all 65 MARINe representatives received certificates of recognitions for their participation in the network. The CCNM manager Rick Hanks received a certificate for the CCNM’s support for MARINe.
In the citation, MARINe is recognized for “the unique and extensive partnership that has developed among federal, state and tribal governments, local agencies, universities and private groups dedicated to the study and management of rocky intertidal shoreline habitats, one of our most diverse and vulnerable coastal resources.” MARINe is a partnership committed to determining the health of the rocky intertidal habitat and providing this information to the public. MARINe conducts long-term monitoring of marine life at representative intertidal locations along the West Coast from Alaska to Mexico and with additional sites monitored in the Northeastern US. The Network was formalized in 1997; however, standardized surveys at early sites have been monitored for 20-30 years. This remarkable, extensive data set is shared on a common database available to partner agencies, universities, organizations, and others via the MARINe websites at: http://www.marine.gov or http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal.
Findings from this unique program indicate that many rocky shores are under stress, with some tidepool populations changing significantly over the past several decades. Factors associated with these changes include public use, fishing pressure, poaching, pollution, disease epidemics, and climate change. MARINe data documented catastrophic declines in black abalone (due to harvest and withering disease) in the 1980's that led to closure of the fishery in 1993 and listing as an endangered species in 2009. MARINe also discovered that owl limpets near unprotected public access areas are smaller than those in remote or protected locations; invasive species are showing up along our shores; mussels and seastars declined significantly in southernmost California sites since the 1970's; and rockweeds were impacted by oil spills in San Francisco Bay. MARINe is helping evaluate the effectiveness of new California Marine Protected Areas and is developing long-term methodology for detecting climate change effects, including temperature effects, sea level changes, and ocean acidification.
North Coast State Marine Protected Areas & Special Closures to Go into Effect in Mid-December. The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) recently announced that a suite of new or modified marine protected areas (MPAs) will go into effect on December 19, 2012, along California’s North Coast. California's North Coast region encompasses approximately 1,027 square nautical miles of state ocean waters, including waters around offshore rocks, from Alder Creek north of Point Arena in Mendocino County and north to the California/Oregon border. The Northern California MPAs are the last of the state's coastal protected areas to go into effect off California, and will complete the network from Oregon to Mexico. Developed pursuant to the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), the North Coast’s new and improved network of 19 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), one State Marine Recreational Management Area, and seven special closures will cover approximately 137 square nautical miles or 13 percent of the North Coast region.
The 13 new or modified State Marine Conservation Areas (SMCAs) allow limited recreational and commercial take, the six new "No Take" State Marine Reserves (SMRs) prohibit recreational and commercial take, and the one new State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA) allows limited recreational take.
All seven of the Special Closures involve rocks or islets that are either within the California Coastal National Monument or have some connection with the CCNM. These seven Special Closures, from north to south, are as follows:
A complete list of all north coast MPAs and Special Closures, including detailed regulations and maps, can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ncmpas_list.asp. DFG’s MPA mobile website, located at www.dfg.ca.gov/m/MPA, will be updated to include the new MPAs on Dec. 19, 2012. The mobile website allows the public to use any web-enabled device to locate MPA boundaries and regulations by using an interactive map or searching by name, county or general area. A mobile device’s GPS can also be used to find a person’s current location relative to any MPA. In addition to the mobile website, boaters can view MPAs on nautical charts or other background maps by visiting MarineBIOS at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/gis/viewer.asp, DFG’s interactive online marine and coastal map viewer. For more information on the northern California MPAs, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/ncmpas_list.asp or call DFG Environmental Scientist Elizabeth Pope at (707) 445-5301.
CCNM Related Meetings, Conference Calls & Events. During the time period covered by this CCNM Update (i.e., September 1, 2012 through December 10, 2012), the CCNM Manager, other CCNM staff, and the managers and staff of the BLM California State Office and coastal field offices (FO) also participated in a variety of meetings, conference calls, events, and activities, including the following:
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