Common Murres and Cormorants. Photo credit David Ledig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Common Murres and Cormorants. Photo credit: David Ledig/USFWS

Protecting Seabirds

The Seabird Colony Protection Program (SCPP) is funded by the Command Oil Spill Restoration Fund. Common Murres, Marbled Murrelets and other seabirds were killed, and many miles of beaches between Ano Nuevo and Pacifica were lightly oiled. Nesting seabird populations are significant living resources of Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) and its surrounding waters, with the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge supporting one of the largest concentrations of breeding seabirds in the contiguous United States. The islands, waters, and surrounding coastal rocky shores and sandy beaches, are breeding seabird hotspots that were possibly affected by the Command spill.

The goal of the SCPP is to improve the survival and recruitment of California's seabird species by reducing human disturbances at their breeding and roosting colony sites from Point Sur to Point Reyes. It is a comprehensive program with planned strategies that include monitoring, enforcement, and education and outreach. GFNMS is taking a lead coordination role in implementing the SCPP in collaboration with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other sanctuaries, agencies and organizations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead in implementing the outreach and education component, reaching out to aviation, fishing and boating groups to educate them about seabird disturbance reduction and avoidance. The Service's San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex is the lead in implementing the monitoring component, providing data on frequency and severity of disturbance events and the effects on nesting seabirds. This is one of 10 projects funded and overseen by the Command Oil Spill Trustee Council, a partnership consisting of the Service, NOAA, the California Department's of Fish and Game and Parks and Recreation, and the California State Lands Commission. The Environmental Contaminants Division in the Service's Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office represents the Service on the Trustee Council.

Click on map image for a larger version of the breeding map
map of seabird breeding areas off California coast



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office

San Francisco Bay NWR Complex

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

National Marine Sanctuaries. News & Events - California Seabirds Get a Helping Hand

Seabird Colony Protection Program

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (DARP), Southwest Region - M/T Command Oil Spill

State of California:

Department of Fish and Game

Department of Parks and Recreation

State Lands Commission


Last updated: February 13, 2013