California’s Coastline in JeopardyScroll to learn more
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.
Protecting the Seashore
Swipe through the photos to see how citizens fought to protect this area amid the construction craze.
After World War II, California’s population boom fueled rampant development. Farmland, valleys, and the shore were privatized and built-up.
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.
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.
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 SeashoreView Transcript
Resources at Risk
See how sea level rise can impact wildlife here at Point Reyes. (Photos by Jerry Kirkhart).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.