Contact: John Golda, 415-464-5143
Point Reyes National Seashore announced today that the restoration of Drakes Estero, a 2,500-acre wilderness estuary within the park, will begin this week. Workers will remove an estimated 500 tons of marine debris. They will extract and dispose of 5 miles of dock-like wooden racks, and clean several acres of plastic and other man-made debris on the estero floor and sandbars.
Drakes Estero, one of only two marine wilderness areas within the National Park System, is a haven for wildlife and a destination for kayakers and hikers seeking solitude at Point Reyes National Seashore.
The $4 million restoration is funded by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service. The park aims to complete the restoration by early 2017. The Drakes Estero restoration is among the signature projects around the nation celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
"Drakes Estero is spectacular," said Cicely Muldoon, park superintendent. "The estero is an ecological treasure, and an extraordinary public resource. We are so grateful to the National Park Foundation for making this project possible. What a gift to visitors today, and for generations to come."
Drakes Estero lies in the heart of Point Reyes National Seashore, and is a state marine conservation area and a federally designated wilderness, making it one of the most protected estuaries on the Pacific Coast. Globally, thousands of species of birds, mammals, fish, and other wildlife depend on estuaries, where fresh water mixes with salty ocean water.
"The restoration of Drakes Estero will once again allow all the native species to thrive in this very special place. It is not often that we reclaim such an ecosystem for the seals, eelgrass, and shorebirds, and the National Park Foundation is proud to partner with the National Park Service to support this critical work," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. "Through these efforts, the Estero, the only marine wilderness in the lower 48 states, will be an amazing place for learning and recreation."
Eliminating oyster racks and other debris will benefit eelgrass habitat within this ecologically rich estuary, and will remove artificial substrate that supports non-native invasive species. Debris will also be removed from sand bars near harbor seal haul-out areas.
To ensure public safety and efficient operations, the access road and estuary will be temporarily closed on weekdays. Water access to the estero will remain open on weekends and holidays, when no work is under way. Trails surrounding Drakes Estero will remain open during the restoration.
Follow the progress of the restoration of Drakes Estero on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/pore/learn/management/planning_drakesestero_restoration.htm , through Twitter at https://twitter.com/PointReyesNPS, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PointReyesNPS/, and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/pointreyesnps/
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of 412 units within the National Park Service (NPS). This year, the NPS celebrates its Centennial. Point Reyes was established in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, "to preserve a portion of the diminishing seashore of the United States that remains undeveloped." Learn more at www.nps.gov/pore
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org
Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) is a cooperating association of the National Park Service and a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. PRNSA works in partnership with Point Reyes National Seashore to preserve, restore, and maintain wildlife habitat, trails and historic sites in the beautiful coastal park. Find out more about PRNSA and volunteer opportunities at www.ptreyes.org
Last updated: August 14, 2016