USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

USGS Science in Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Video by Rex Sanders, USGS

Download the video (.mp4)

[John] USGS scientific research, here at Point Reyes National Seashore has been going on for many, many years. That information is the basis for the education programs that we offer to the public.

[Narrator] The seashore is a 71,000 acre unit of the National Park Service, located on the California coast less than an hour's drive North of San Francisco. People visited the park 2.4 million times last year.

[John] We have a very, very popular self-guided trail here in the seashore, called the Earthquake Trail. Probably thirty, forty thousand people a year walk on this trail and, again, all of that information is data that we've gathered and refined over the years from USGS.

[Narrator] The park also uses USGS science to manage this iconic but complex setting. For example, local ranchers lease 28,000 acres of National Park land for dairy and beef cattle. To monitor ranch lands, the park uses maps, air photos and other databases from USGS. In 2015, we helped the park with another problem.

[Ben] We have quite a few cliffs. We have a lot of unstable areas. We have a lot of sea caves. We have a lot of promontories, and California coastline, of course, is always eroding. Unfortunately, about a year ago, we had some visitors that were out on one of these promontories and there was a collapse, it was basically a landslide and one of the people lost their lives. After this happened, USGS, we spoke with them actually just a couple days after it happened, and it was great they sent out someone to assess this particular rock fall, and take a look at it and give us some advice on what some safety measures would be.

[John] Every single day I pull that topo map out. If I'm planning a route for a search or if I know last known location of a person, being able to look at the actual topography of a place and where is not going to be a likely route for that person is a huge assistance.

[Dave] USGS has been a real partner in helping us better understand the population dynamics of tule elk, where several really long-term studies conducted by the USGS have helped us better understand when the population grows and what the limitations are.

[Narrator] A few USGS researchers have been stationed at the park for decades.

[Dave] And having USGS scientists based here at Point Reyes has really benefited the Park Service's research and monitoring efforts.

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