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Año Nuevo Island

Seabird Conservation
and Habitat Restoration

AnoNuevo_RHAU_copyright_DavidGardner

Oikonos is working with a team of ecologists, habitat restoration experts, artists, designers and land managers to restore degraded habitat for nesting seabirds on Año Nuevo Island, California. In addition, 2016 sees Oikonos and partners leading the 24th consecutive year of seabird studies at Año Nuevo State Park (initiated by the Park and PRBO Conservation Science in 1993).

Results from 2015:

  • 330 breeding Rhinoceros Auklets found, the highest number ever recorded on the island
  • Clay modules provided nesting habitat for 70 individuals from 3 different burrowing species
  • Habitat restoration efforts continued to reduce damage to burrows from erosion while increasing native plant cover
  • Breeding populations of Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets continued to grow since initial restoration efforts

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Accomplishments:

Protection: To protect the seabird nesting area from destructive trampling by California sea lions, we designed an innovative Habitat Ridge.

Nest Modules: To provide stable and low maintenance Rhinoceros Auklet nesting sites, we designed and produced 90 clay nest modules. More info.

Restoration: To stabilize the burrowing habitat for Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets and improve nesting success, we installed over 15,000 native coastal grasses and shrubs.

Seabird Population and Reproduction Studies: Every year we document the breeding population size and reproductive success of 8 breeding seabird species.

Success of Habitat Restoration:

  • a reduction in burrow collapse due to erosion (6% of burrows were damaged in 2012, compared to an average damage rate of 25% before planting from 1997-2010), and
  • an increase in plant cover (native plants in restoration plots ranged from 12 to 79%)

Publications & Papers

juvenile_salmon_RHAU dietPeer-reviewed publications:

Temporal and Sex-Specific Variability in Rhinoceros Auklet Diet in the Central California Current System

Carle R., Beck J., Calleri D., and Hester M. 2015. Journal of Marine Systems 146:99-108.

Unpublished reports:

2015 Año Nuevo State Park Seabird Conservation and Habitat Restoration Report

Beck, J. Carle, R.,  Calleri, D., Hester, M. 2015. Unpublished report to CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Año Nuevo Island. Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge.

2014 Año Nuevo State Park Seabird Conservation and Habitat Restoration Report

Carle, R., Beck, J., Calleri, D., Hester, M. 2014. Unpublished report to CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Año Nuevo Island. Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge.

 Media coverage:

Extremely Wild and Very Smelly, Año Nuevo Island Restoration

Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2013

Año Nuevo Island: Where the Wild Things Are

San Francisco Chronicle, 17 July, 2009.

Contact Project Leaders

Michelle Hester, Ryan Carle, Jessie Beck