California State Parks and Recreation is working with a team of ecologists, habitat restoration experts, artists, and designers to restore degraded habitat for nesting seabirds on Año Nuevo Island. In addition, partners are continuing the impressive 17 year program to monitor the health of breeding seabirds on the Reserve and their oceanic environment. Meet Key PartnersRestoration will primarily benefit the Rhinoceros Auklet, an impressive diving seabird related to puffins. This seabird has fancy facial plumes, a bright orange bill, and strong legs for digging underground burrows. Rhinoceros Auklets have been injured by numerous oil spills off central California. The current breeding population estimates are below 3,000 birds in California where they are listed as a Species of Special Concern. In 2002, a collaborative effort was initiated to mitigate the damage to auklets by improving nesting habitat quality. Now, with support from the Luckenbach Oil Spill Trustees, we will conduct the full-scale restoration plan and incorporate lessons learned from pilot studies.
Año Nuevo Island was purchased by the State of California to
protect the unique and sensitive wildlife. Since 1967, the island
has been prohibited to the public to prevent disturbances to
pupping seals. Since then, the comprehensive body of knowledge
gained from the protection and investigation of this ecosystem is
vast. Año Nuevo State Reserve, University of California, PRBO
Conservation Science, Oikonos and others have produced several
books, hundreds of publications and thesis, developed college
curriculum focusing on the island ecosystem, and exposed many
thousands of people to the wonders of this island.
In the 1980s, more marine bird species began to recover and nest on the island. Gary Strachan, the supervising ranger at ANSR, was instrumental in protecting the newly colonized bird populations. Through his efforts and collaborations, sensitive species have expanded on the island: Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin's Auklets, and Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants. These species are declining in other California nesting sites, which makes the protected habitat on Año Nuevo Island critical for their continued survival. More history
Video showing restoration in action
Produced by Matthew Passmore and Chris Jenkins
Thank You Gallery for the many volunteers
In 2010-11, the project needs financial assistance, donated field supplies, and volunteers. Your donations will go directly to habitat restoration, nest modules, or in any way you choose.
Join the project network and contact Michelle if you are interested in helping and would like more information: (415) 868-1399
Habitat! Shawn Dardenelle from Go Native edges along Rhinoceros Auklet habitat just planted with native salt grass.