• The Point Reyes Beach as viewed from the Point Reyes Headlands

    Point Reyes

    National Seashore California

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  • 2014 Harbor Seal Pupping Season Closures

    From March 1 through June 30, the park implements closures of certain Tomales Bay beaches and Drakes Estero to water-based recreation to protect harbor seals during the pupping season. Please avoid disturbing seals to ensure a successful pupping season. More »

  • 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus Operations Have Ended

    March 30, 2014, was the last day for the 2014 Winter Shuttle Bus System. Sir Francis Drake Blvd. is open daily from now through late December 2014. More »

  • Operational Changes Took Effect on May 1, 2013

    The Lighthouse Visitor Center is now only open Fridays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through Thursdays, including Thanksgiving. The Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center is open on weekends and holidays when shuttles are operating. More »

Oceans

Nature and Science

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

The Point Reyes peninsula is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean which dramatically affects the daily and seasonal climates, and numerous resident and migratory marine species. Besides the El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the most significant oceanic impact on the peninsula is the seasonal upwelling phenomena. Upwelling occurs when nutrient-rich colder waters rise from deeper levels to replace the relatively warm surface waters, and as a result creates summer coastal fog. The transport and cycling of these nutrients to the surface are responsible for the high productivity around Point Reyes that supports a large diversity of species throughout the food chain and into the ecosystem.

This high level of biodiversity is at risk, however, from a variety of causes. From the affects of climate change to changing the chemistry and acidity of ocean waters to using the oceans as a dumping grounds for toxic, radioactive, and plastic wastes to overfishing, humans have dramatically altered ocean ecosystems. Read Altered Oceans, a Pulitzer Prize winning five-part series on the crisis in the seas. This series was written by Kenneth R. Weiss and Usha Lee McFarling and published by the Los Angeles Times in the summer of 2006.

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While humans have the capacity to destroy much of the life found in the ocean, we also have the ability to save and restore ocean ecosystems. Visit thankyouocean.org to find out what you can do to help protect this vital resource. You can also read 50 Ways to Save the Ocean by David Helvarg (2006, Inner Ocean Publishing). Some of Helvarg's recommendations were incorporated into a series of Ocean Updates for World Ocean Day 2008, as well as by Sea Turtle Restoration Project on their 50 Ways to Help Save the Ocean page.

With bottles, cans, abandoned or lost fishing gear and other marine debris washing up on our shores each year, the University of Georgia and NOAA have teamed up to create an innovative cell phone reporting mechanism to combat the marine debris problem. This high-tech tool, or app, tracks where marine debris is accumulating and gives anyone with a "smart phone" an opportunity to be a part of the solution.

To learn more about ocean conservation topics you can tune into KWMR once a month for Ocean Currents, a radio program hosted by Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary staff that focuses on ocean topics locally and globally. Tune in the first Monday of every month at 1:00 PM on KWMR at 90.5 FM Point Reyes Station, 89.3 Bolinas, or live on the web at www.kwmr.org. You can also subscribe to the Ocean Currents podcast or hear archived shows by going to Cordell Bank's Ocean Currents Podcast page. Learn about rockfish, artificial reefs, humpback whale research, sustainable seafood, history of the Farallon Islands, the Marine Life Protection Act, plastic in the ocean, bioluminescence and more!

 

Pacific Ocean Newsletters

 

Multimedia

 

Marine Life Protection Act Publications

 

Press Releases

August 21, 2009
Marine Protected Areas Created in California's North Central Coast
Earlier this month, California's Fish and Game Commission approved a sweeping plan to protect ocean habitats in 24 marine protected areas in state and federal waters, including some within and adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore.

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Did You Know?

Do Your Part for Climate Friendly Parks

You can Do Your Part to fight global warming and help your National Parks by calculating and pledging to decrease your carbon emissions at www.doyourpartparks.org. More...