Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
2010 Condition Report

Photo of a Gulf of the Farallones cliffs and sea

About this Report

This "condition report" provides a summary of resources in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (sanctuary), pressures on those resources, current conditions and trends, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment. Specifically, the document includes information on the status and trends of water quality, habitat, living resources and maritime archaeological resources, and the human activities that affect them. It presents responses to a set of questions posed to all sanctuaries (Appendix A). Resource status of Gulf of the Farallones is rated on a scale from good to poor, and the timelines used for comparison vary from topic to topic. Trends in the status of resources are also reported, and are generally based on observed changes in status over the past five years, unless otherwise specified.

Sanctuary staff consulted with a group of outside experts familiar with the resources and with knowledge of previous and current scientific investigations in the sanctuary. Evaluations of status and trends are based on interpretation of quantitative and, when necessary, non-quantitative assessments, and the observations of scientists, managers and users. The ratings reflect the collective interpretation of the status of local issues of concern among sanctuary program staff and outside experts based on their knowledge and perception of local problems. The final ratings were determined by sanctuary staff. This report has been peer reviewed and complies with the White House Office of Management and Budget's peer review standards as outlined in the Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.

This is the first attempt to describe comprehensively the status, pressures and trends of resources at Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, the report helps identify gaps in current monitoring efforts, as well as causal factors that may require monitoring and potential remediation in the years to come. The data discussed will enable us to not only acknowledge prior changes in resource status, but will provide guidance for future management challenges.

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

  • 1,279 square statute miles (966 square nautical miles) encompassing rich and diverse marine life
  • Congressionally designated in 1981 as a national marine sanctuary
  • Includes bays, estuaries, coastal and oceanic waters
  • Largest concentration of breeding seabirds in the contiguous United States
  • Home to one of the largest concentrations of adult white sharks in the world around the Farallon Islands
  • A destination feeding ground for endangered blue and humpback whales