• 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 »

Protecting Sensitive Rail Habitat at the North Levee of the on the Giacomini Ranch

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Date: February 2, 2005
Contact: John Dell'Osso, 415-464-5135

Point Reyes National Seashore will be educating visitors about limiting access to wetlands and sensitive marsh bird and plant species that occur along the Giacomini Ranch levees and adjacent areas during extreme high tide events starting this weekend. Southern Tomales Bay is home to a number of special status species, including the state-listed California black rail, yellow rail, Virginia rail, and, occasionally, the federally listed California clapper rail. There are also several sensitive plant species. The rails use the salt marsh for nesting, winter refuge, and roosting and forage in intertidal flats that are exposed during low tide. During the extreme high tides, these birds, which do not fly well, must seek refuge on high elevation uplands that border salt marshes. In southern Tomales Bay, some of the only high tide refuge available is the thin strip habitat formed by levees of the Giacomini Ranch. During these tides, many of these birds become more vulnerable to predation by species such as herons, egrets, and raptors, particularly if the refuge is unavailable because of the presence of humans or other disturbances. In addition, people walking along the levee during high tides can trample sensitive wetland vegetation, including rare species and can trample protective cover vegetation for the rails.

The Seashore is encouraging birdwatchers and other visitors to limit their access to the very western end of the Giacomini Ranch north levee just west of the concrete spillway. Volunteers will be educating visitors about rails and their life history and the need to protect these species' high tide refuge.


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According to a 2009 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change will likely lead to an increase in extreme weather in the USA. Fortunately, there is still time to limit climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping pollution and taking other actions. More...