Año Nuevo Island
and Habitat Restoration
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
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
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.
Beck, J. Carle, R., Calleri, D., Hester, M. 2015. Unpublished report to CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Año Nuevo Island. Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge.
Carle, R., Beck, J., Calleri, D., Hester, M. 2014. Unpublished report to CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation, Año Nuevo Island. Oikonos – Ecosystem Knowledge.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 2013
San Francisco Chronicle, 17 July, 2009.
Contact Project Leaders
Michelle Hester, Ryan Carle, Jessie Beck