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Research at YHONA Oregon/Washington BLM



Research at YHONA

During the past several years a variety of cultural and natural resource research investigations have taken place at YHONA. These studies have led to a better understanding of our past and the nature of our resources, and have also helped guide us in the management of Yaquina Head. Copies of all of these projects are available for review at the Interpretive Center.

Cultural Research

Heritage Research Associates from Eugene, Oregon, under contract to the BLM, conducted a two year investigation of the archaeological resources of the site. Titled Archaeological Investigations at Yaquina Head, Central Oregon Coast, this three volume study lasted from 1987 to 1989. The researchers found evidence of a Native American village site that was abandoned about 2,000 years ago. The village had been used for about 1,200 years before that.

Concerns about the structural soundness of the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse led to research on the building conducted by Alfred Staehli and Associates of Portland, Oregon. This report, Condition Assessment of Yaquina Head Lighthouse, 1992, found the lighthouse to be in relatively good condition considering its age. The Condition Assessment has provided the BLM with direction on proper maintenance of this valuable historic resource.

As part of the development and design process for the Interpretive Complex at YHONA the BLM contracted with Professor Stephen Dow Beckman and Heritage Resource Associates to produce an interpretive resource study known as the YHONA Interpretive Report, 1992. The result was a report consisting of more than 2,000 pages of historic and natural resource information. This report was and continues to be a valuable resource for our interpretive program.

Two social resource/demographic studies have been performed at YHONA. In 1990 Dean Runyon and Associates published the study Visitor Profile and Impact Analysis: Site Development At Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. In 1992, the U. S. Forest Service's Southeastern Forest Experiment Station produced the study Customer... Understanding today's recreating public at YHONA. Both of these works provide in-depth research and analysis of YHONA's visitors, their demographics, effects on the economy, and their expectations when visiting YHONA.

Natural Resources Research

The intense use of the intertidal area gave us cause for concern and led to the contracting of a study on visitor impacts on that fragile area. Drs. Deborah M. Brosnan and Lana L. Crumrine conducted the Human Impact and a Management Plan for the Shore at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area study in 1991. Finding the area to be heavily impacted by visitor use the researchers made management recommendations that led directly to the establishment of a reservation system for groups visiting the intertidal zone. The reservation system spreads use out over a broader time span yet still allows the same number of visitors. This in effect has helped protect the more fragile species from the onslaught of visitors who had previously trampled the area during the lowest tides of each year.

The development of the Quarry Cove handicapped accessible tide pools produced the following research projects:

  • In 1995, Dr. Brosnan with Timothy Grubba and Tanjat Gerber produced Quarry Cove: The First Year. This studied colonization of the new tide pools and compared the colonization rates between the natural rock substrate and the gunnite pools constructed by the BLM.
  • In December of that same year Christopher Miccolis and Ed White produced Evaluation of Physical Environment and Colonization of Quarry Cove. The goal of the report was to describe the physical stresses the tide pools in Quarry Cove experienced over a full year and describe the colonization of the tide pools by marine organisms. A list of species was identified in that study and during subsequent investigations by Ed White.

Current Research Projects

  • Walt Waldorf, from Oregon State University, has established remote sensing sites to track ocean currents and upwelling. His research should provide a better understanding of how El Niño and La Niña affect the coastal environment.
  • Rob Suryan, from Oregon State University began a study in 2007 of the murre colonies. His research focused on the reproductive success of the colonies, the impacts of Bald Eagles and other predators, the diet of seabirds and foraging conditions during the breeding season. Study builds on earlier research (1999-2002) on the murres conducted by Julia Parrish from the University of Washington, Zoology Department.