Projects and Research

A number of offshore rocks and islands within Oregon Islands NWR are research sites, prized for their relatively undisturbed habitat and wildlife. Many of these sites see virtually zero human interference outside of specially-trained researchers—and even then, the disturbance is intermittent and as minimal as possible. Seabird monitoring via helicopter and plane, on-the-ground monitoring of nests and chicks, plant surveys, and invasive predator removal are all projects conducted in the past or currently underway at this Refuge.

Biological Investigations

Many land management objectives occur at scales that can be challenging to grasp from ground level. A good aerial photograph is worth thousands of words when conveying the big picture perspective of how all the pieces of a landscape fit together.

How do you count 50,000 tightly-packed Common Murres on an inaccessible offshore rock without disturbing them? Surveying birds from high altitude using aerial photographs is often the only accurate, low-impact way to do it. And when you have 320 miles of coastline to survey, it's the only efficient option.

The coastal refuges offer unique opportunities to study plants and animals in pristine or relatively undisturbed habitats. These field studies seek to answer questions ranging from the needs of a single species to how an entire ecosystem functions.

Biologists conduct innovative research in many coastal habitats. Oregon Islands NWR currently hosts the only Leach's Storm-petrel research on the U.S. west coast. Ground-breaking fisheries research is being conducted on Siletz Bay, Nestucca Bay, and Bandon Marsh Refuges. Native plant communities on coastal refuges provide models for habitat restoration elsewhere on the Pacific coast.

Aerial Seabird Surveys Every summer the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex conducts aerial surveys of breeding birds at seabird colonies along the Oregon Coast. This project provides valuable data to both Migratory Bird and National Wildlife Refuge programs within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as both seek to understand and manage the many seabird species that are an integral...
Crook Point Coastal Prairie Restoration

Crook Point is a 134-acre unit of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and located along the southern Oregon coast just south of Gold Beach in Curry County. Crook Point hosts approximately 15 acres of coastal prairie, a rare and endemic vegetation community that has almost entirely...

Tufted Puffin Monitoring at Haystack Rock

The Tufted Puffin is an iconic species of the Oregon coast, its likeness gracing untold numbers of T-shirts, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets and other souvenirs throughout the region. And with good reason: The puffin is an undeniably attractive bird, looking something like a cross between a parrot and a penguin, sharply made up and impeccably...