Restoring Bolinas Lagoon

March 2019

Along the California coastline not far from San Francisco, Bolinas Lagoon is a magical place for birders, wildlife watchers, paddlers, and more. Recently, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has been working with partners to restore this special habitat so it can thrive and adapt to future changes.


The lagoon is really a great place for birders.

Bolinas Lagoon is a big stopover spot along the Pacific Flyway.

So we get a lot of great seabirds as well, pelicans, cormorants, and then we get a big harbor seal population as well.

Not only do they come here to rest and haul out and protect themselves from the white sharks out there in Bolinas Bay but we get close to 2 pups that are born here every year as well.

We are at Bolinas Lagoon which is an 1,1 acre estuary in West Marin just about 15 miles north of San Francisco.

The lagoon was part of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary when it was dedicated in 1981.

The sanctuary works really closely with the National Park Service and local Marin County.

Those three agencies manage the lagoon and as part of that management we work to incorporate the community in pretty much everything we do.

So there's a big combination of sort of human-induced impacts and then there's also
environmental impacts.

There's a lot of local coastal towns that abut the lagoon.

The lagoon itself has a hardened shoreline because of highway 1 and because of those towns.

It's pretty restricted.

So when you're talking about climate change, sea level rise, increased storm surge, flooding, the lagoon really doesn't have anywhere to go and so a lot of the wildlife doesn't really have much
space to retreat as well.

We're doing habitat restoration, invasive species removal, living shorelines projects.

We're doing some road removal and realignment of creeks to reestablish reconnectivity.

And we're really folding in all of the different public and local organizations so that they can be a part of the process too.

I think we've done a lot of great work over the last decade or so.

We have a great partnership with all the different agencies.

Our relationships with the community members are strengthening day in and day out.

So I just want to continue on the great progress we're doing.

So that's what a lot of our projects are really focusing on.

Giving the lagoon space to expand and adapt to those changes and then allowing the wildlife to follow that.