Limantour Beach

California’s Coastline in Jeopardy

Scroll to learn more

Daunting Development

The coastline has defined California and inspired generations of people. Since 1920, people argued that Point Reyes should be set aside for the public, but encroaching development forced the issue.

Citizen Action

Protecting the Seashore

Swipe through the photos to see how citizens fought to protect this area amid the construction craze.

All photos in this gallery are black and white. This one shows a beach adjacent a road with signs that say “Property Owners & Guests Entrance to Beach, please obey entrance permit rules” and “No Public Access to Beach.”

After World War II, California’s population boom fueled rampant development. Farmland, valleys, and the shore were privatized and built-up.

A semi-aerial photo of the land around Drakes Bay and Beach with housing developments drawn in on top of the hills.

By the late 1950s, plans for development like “Drake’s Bay Estates” jeopardized this area. Citizens rallied with groups like the Sierra Club and the National Park Service to protect the coast.

A hilly ranch has multiple buildings and fenced in cattle with hills and the Estuaro in the background. With over 100 years of local dairy and beef ranching, some cattlemen opposed the new park because of concern for their farms and livelihood. Researchers continue to monitor crocodiles in the Everglades.

A white middle-aged man with short dark hair smiles while wearing a suit and tie.

Congressman Clem Miller (above), US Senators Clair Engle and Thomas Kuchel, and park advocates worked with opponents, and revised the bill to protect ranching and provide preservation.

President Kennedy sits at a large desk with a pen in hand and papers in front of him. He is surrounded by 13 men in dark suits and ties.

In 1962, the citizens continued efforts to protect this land materialized when President John F. Kennedy signed the legislations to create Point Reyes National Seashore.

Sea Level Rise

A New Threat

With the climate changing, sea level rise now threatens this seashore. Listen to John Dell’Osso, Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education at Point Reyes National Seashore describe the impacts of sea level rise on the park and its marine mammals.

Impacts to the Seashore

View Transcript

Sea Level Rise Impacts

Resources at Risk

See how sea level rise can impact wildlife here at Point Reyes. (Photos by Jerry Kirkhart).

All photos in this gallery are in color. A male elephant seal lies on the sandy beach with a female and some young seals. The male has a large clumbsy, fleshy protrusion off the front of his nose.

Elephant seals give birth and raise their pups on the beaches. As sea level rises, less beach is available, and the young are more vulnerable to severe storms.

More than a dozen harbor seals lie on the wet mudflats. They pose with their heads,  tails, and flippers lifted off of the ground.

Point Reyes is the breeding grounds for 20% of the continental harbor seals. As sea level rises, their pupping areas in the mud flats of the harbors may disappear.

A small shorebird stands, protecting its chick that blends into the beige sand. The snowy plower is mostly white, with sandy beige wings, tail, and markings on its head and neck.

Western snowy plovers nest on the sandy beaches. As sea level rises and covers the beach, where will this federally threatened plover nest and raise its chicks?

A brown pelican flies over the water. This large bird has a long light-colored head and neck neck, that folds back onto its body as its flies. They have thick broad dark wings, and a long orange-tipped beak.

The brown pelican is a federally endangered species that depends on Estero de Limantour's waters. As sea level rises, the salinity here will increase.

In the water, a speckled green and brown frog on top of a reddish brown frog, among dead reeds with an egg mass under water.

Red-legged frogs are a federally listed threatened species that also live in freshwater areas at Estero de Limantour. As sea level rises, their habitat and feeding grounds shrink.

Citizen Action, Again

You can help!

Since climate change is mostly caused by human activities, we can change our actions, reduce our carbon footprint, and slow climate change. Citizen actions spurred protecting this area from development. Now citizen action is needed again to slow climate change and give these animals time to adapt to our changing world.