Park Wavelengths - September 2009


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Subject: Tsunami Advisory Issued

A tsunami advisory is being issued for the California coast due to strong waves generated by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in Samoa. The estimated time of arrival in the San Francisco Bay area is approximately 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. tonight. Full information available at the NOAA Tsunami website.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, October 4, the full moon, closest to the autumnal equinox, is the annual Harvest Moon or Wild Rice Moon for Ojibway of the northern Plains. Mid-day tides (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) reach 5.5 to 6.0 feet, something to keep in mind when planning beach walks.

Just in time for Halloween, the bat count for the Olema Valley recorded 249; "a good year for this colony overall." Maybe they'll get a handle on the annual fall kelp fly population explosions—at their most annoying at the Lighthouse!

Harbor porpoises have been active along Drakes Bay, large groups leaping out of the water with small, curved dorsal fins. The fall humpback sightings have begun, usually just one or two are seen at a time from the Great Beach and the Lighthouse. Porpoises and dolphins swim in the larger groups and their courses often parallel the coastlines. The carcass of a dead whale has been hop-scotching along the Great Beach, reported at Abbots, then Kehoe and last seen on Driftwood Beach, north of McClure's.

Bay nuts are appearing. Some still have the lime green to lemon yellow husk, which when peeled off reveals the round, hard shelled nut. Hazelnuts are also on the trees. Live oak acorns are still mostly green.

Marin County Open Space rangers lead a hike on the Bear Valley Trail on Thursday, October 1st. Meet at the parking lot at Bear Valley at 9:00 a.m. for this 8 miles round trip hike. It's a good time to enjoy the fall colors of the Big Leaf maples.

Upcoming federal holiday: Columbus Day. On Monday, October 12, all park visitor centers are open.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Point Reyes National Seashore Initiates Limantour and Glenbrook Restoration Project within the Phillip Burton Wilderness

This week the National Park Service will initiate the Glenbrook Restoration and Dam Removal Project within the Estero de Limantour and Glenbrook drainage. The 15 foot lower Glenbrook Dam failed in 1982 during a major storm event. The NPS will remove the remainder of the dam to reduce sediments and reestablished the natural hydrologic regime in Limantour Estero. Limantour Estero is part of the Phillip Burton Wilderness and is a biologically rich estuary that was recently designated a Marine Reserve.

In 1960s, landowners excavated materials for the dam from the adjacent hillsides and spillway areas. The project will restore natural hydrologic conditions and increase estuarine habitat at Point Reyes National Seashore by removing remaining infrastructure which impedes the development and function of the tidal marshplain. The project area is subject to sea level rise and restoration of natural process within this estuary is a climate change adaptation strategy to ensure maintenance of a healthy and functional estuarine ecosystem.

Contractors will remove approximately 19,000 cubic yards of former dam, using that material to restore the associated spillway. The restoration activities will take approximately three weeks, with completion by mid-October. While no trail closures are anticipated, there may be limited trail interruption associated with vehicle access occurring along portions of the Muddy Hollow, Glenbrook and Estero trails.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The new moon rises on Friday, September 18 closely followed by the autumnal equinox on September 22 creating very high mid-day tides: 6.1 feet at 11:10 a.m. on Friday; 6.2 feet at 11:51 a.m. on Saturday and 6.3 feet at 12:20 p.m. on Sunday, September 20. The midday highs continue through Wednesday.

Twenty-four barn owls were counted on fence posts between B and C ranches on Sir Francis Drake Highway. These are primarily young owls, starting out on their own and are drawn to the Headlands due to abundant prey, e.g., gophers, rabbits, etc. They have fledged this year and eventually will disperse.

A good acorn year. Oak trees are full of ripening smooth capped pointy live oak acorns and fuzzy capped tanbark oak acorns. Lots of activity around Olema Valley with woodpeckers and deer after the harvest.

The Kelham Beach Trail is now re-opened, allowing safe access down to the beach off Coast Trail, north of Bear Valley Trail. It washed out during winter storms a couple of years back.

Mowing and site preparation is underway for the project to remove the Glenbrook dam near the Estero Trail on the Limantour side. This project is part of the coastal watershed rehabilitation efforts to restore creeks for fish populations. Also, work is underway to repair the road to Tomales Beach so restrooms can be permanently installed for year round use.

The free brown bag lunch talk this week, on September 17, is on "The mark and recapture population estimate of white sharks" with staff from the Bodega Marine Lab. 12 noon at the Red Barn Classroom at park headquarters.

Also, naturalists from Marin County Open Space will lead a hike on Thursday, September 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. along the Limantour Marsh/Muddy Hollow area. Meet at the north Limantour parking lot. They also lead a "Bat Talk" on September 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Five Brooks parking lot off Highway One. This program is a collaboration with Dr. Gary Fellers who will discuss how bats are studied in the field and demonstrate tracking methods.

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Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956


(415) 464-5100
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