• Photo by Jonathan R. Green (CDF/ DPNG)

    Whale Shark Fact Sheet

    Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and can grow up to 20m in length. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters.

  • CA Driftnet Fact Sheet

    Driftnet Bill Fact Sheet

    Protect Whales, Dolphins and Sea Turtles, Support AB 2019

Reports

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    Coho-Friendly Habitat and Operations Plan for the San Geronimo Golf Course

    The Coho-Friendly Habitat and Operations Plan for the San Geronimo Golf Course is a planning document for the golf course, stakeholders, and community members to understand and prioritize opportunities for improving salmonid habitat through direct enhancement actions and management strategies on the golf course property. The plan specifically targets habitat and management improvements to benefit coho salmon at a range of lifestages. It is a guidance document developed specifically for the SGGC, to benefit of coho salmon and steelhead trout, in the context of the greater San Geronimo Valley watershed and community.

    The overall project goals related to golf course’s role in salmonid recovery include:

    1) Directly improve coho salmon habitat, instream structure and riparian habitat

    2) Improve stormwater quality and manage peak flows

    3) Improve golf course operations and management (water use, integrated pest management,and invasive species management).

    See the full plan here (pdf).

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    San Geronimo Golf Course Invasive Species Management Plan

    Click here to download the San Geronimo Golf Course Invasive Species Management Plan (pdf).

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    California’s Deadliest Catch

    The driftnet fishery for swordfish and shark

    Our new exposé and call for action, California’s Deadliest Catch, investigates the problems and history of the wasteful, high bycatch California swordfish and shark fishery and why the state of California needs to take pre-emptive action to end gillnetting along our coast.

    We must stop whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and thousands of fish from needlessly drowning in drift gillnets along the California coast — once and for all.

    Download the full report here.

    Download a fact sheet on the bill here.

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    Cocos Island Gallery

    Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica is known worldwide as an ocean haven for spectacular sharks, rare sea turtles, whales and abundant marine wildlife. But even World Heritage status has not stopped commercial fishers from invading these treasured waters.

    Turtle Island is working to demand that Costa Rica protect Cocos Island National Park create a protected area that connects all the way to Ecuador’s waters, northeast of the Galapagos Islands. These two nations could create one of the world’s largest protected ocean zones, and save the endangered leatherback turtle from extinction.

    And now you can help us! We welcome experienced divers who want to participate in our ongoing research to help tag and track sea turtles and sharks in the Cocos Islands. You will get hands-on opportunities to capture turtles and attach satellite and acoustical transmitters and to tag and photograph hammerhead sharks underwater.

     

Fact Sheets

  • Photo by Jonathan R. Green (CDF/ DPNG)

    Whale Shark Fact Sheet

    Whale shark: Rhincodon typus  

    Life History and Distribution

    Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and can grow up to 20m in length. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters.

     These large fish utilize a viviparous method of reproduction, meaning they give birth to live young. This was discovered when a female whale shark was harpooned off the coast of Taiwan in 1995 and she was carrying 300 yolk-dependent embryos.

    Whale sharks have large, gaping mouths that enable efficient filter feeding. They eat mainly plankton and small fish.

    Threats 

    Whale sharks are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. This is due mainly to many human-caused factors such as overfishing, bycatch in fishing gear, and illegal poaching.

     One whale shark fin can be sold for up to $15,000 for human consumption or for ornamental uses. The fins and meat are sold to restaurants to make food, the skin is used to make bags, and the oil is sold to make fish oil supplements. Legal fishing for whale sharks is banned in most countries, but still allowed in some Asian countries.

    Due to their slow nature, whale sharks are vulnerable to becoming entangled in fishing gear unintentionally. They often die from not being able to move water over their gills, or die from being pulled onto the boat in the net. Animals with such large body structures often cannot support their weight out of the water.

    Importance

    In the past two decades whale sharks have become increasingly important for tourism, especially in developing island nations in their dive and snorkel industry. Popular sites for whale shark tourism are Philippines; Mexico; Ningaloo, Australia; the Red Sea; and Utila, Honduras. The whale sharks viewed in these areas are typically foraging aggregations of small males.

     Until recently, almost nothing was known about these animals in the Eastern Tropical Pacific besides regular sightings of large individuals in the Galapagos by dive tourists. This is area is critical not only for a healthy ecotourism industry, but also for whale shark research to gain more insight into their migrations and reproductive cycles in order to establish critical habitat according to their life history.

  • CA Driftnet Fact Sheet

    Driftnet Bill Fact Sheet

    Protect Whales, Dolphins and Sea Turtles

    Support AB 2019 – End Driftnets

    Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-San Jose), 

    Co-authors – Assemblymembers Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) and Anthony Rendon (D-Lynwood) 

    Sponsored by Turtle Island Restoration Network and Oceana

    AB 2019 proposes to:

    • Protect whales, dolphins, sea turtles and marinewildlife from needless death in wasteful driftnets.
    • End use of driftnet fishing gear.
    • Allow active CA swordfish fishermen to switch to lowerbycatch fishing gears.
    • Maintain prohibition on high bycatch pelagic longlinegear along the California coast.

    Driftnets are Curtains of Death for Marine Wildlife:

    Every fishing season mile-long driftnets set to soak overnight in California’s coastal waters entangle an average of 130 protected whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions, as well as thousands of sharks, sunfish and other fish. Sea turtles are also at risk. The vast majority of marine wildlife is dumped back into the ocean, dead or injured. The swordfish and shark they keep is high in mercury — and the U.S. FDA warns women and children never to eat it. After four decades of federal and state restrictions and regulations, the CA driftnet fishery remains the most wasteful and deadly of any commercial fishery along the U.S. West Coast.

    • Driftnets are already banned in Oregon and Washington and the High Seas due to the deadly toll on endangered marine wildlife.
    • It’s time to stop hundreds of whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, and sharks and thousands of unwanted fish from needlessly drowning in driftnets along the California coast.
    • Take Action at SeaTurtles.org: Support AB2019 with a letter Assemblyman Fong, co-authors and your state representatives.

    Download the fact sheet here.

    Download the full report here.

  • FACT SHEET: Marin County Coho Salmon and Drought

    In times of drought the already endangered Marin County coho salmon face even more obstacles to survival including:

    • Less water
      • This year (2014) there is less water in the Lagunitas Creek and its tributaries
      • San Geronimo Creek, the most important undammed creek (above the Inkwell waterfalls) in the Lagunitas Watershed current flows are 0.3 cublic feet per second (cfs), flow levels normally seen at the end of summer dry season
      • This winter San Geronimo Creek saw flows as low as 1/3  cfs (less than one inch of water). This is typical of summer water levels, but not winter levels.  During rainstorms the creek flows at 7,000 cfs.
      • Due to low flows the fish are unable to get over the waterfalls, and are blocked from their primary spawning area
    • More exposure to predators
      • Stuck in pools awaiting high enough flows to reach spawning grounds, fish are exposed for longer periods to predators during the spawning migration
      • Fish are more exposed and less able to hide from predators while spawning
      • Predators include: herons, egrets, hawks, osprey, raccoons, coyotes, river otters, and invasive fish like largemouth bass and bluegill

    In response to these threats, Turtle Island Restoration Network’s Salmon Protection and Action Network’s (SPAWN) program (and other organizations and agencies) has developed ways to support the coho salmon’s survival even in times of drought through:

    • Habitat improvement
      • SPAWN creates woody debris structures  (manmade log jams) in waterways that shelter fish in times of drought and provide resting and hiding places from predators
      • Native plant restoration work
      • Native plants provide food and shelter for young salmon and stabilize creek banks preventing salmon-killing sediment from reaching creeks.
      • Native plants are naturally drought-resistant and do not need on-going irrigation to survive and thrive.
    • Rain-harvesting cisterns
      • SPAWN is offering residents an opportunity to purchase cisterns at a discounted bulk price
      • Cisterns, which are primarily used for outdoor irrigation, release water slowly through a drip irrigation system
        • This allows water to collect in the ground and raise the water table, which continually feeds river systems throughout the year – even in times of drought
    • Summer Fish Rescue
      • SPAWN rescues baby salmon from drying pools in the summer.  To date, SPAWN has rescued more than 14,000 baby coho salmon and steelhead from certain death.

    Download a PDF of the fact sheet here.

  • Loggerhead sea turtle. Photo by Damien du Toit.

    Loggerhead Sea Turtle

    The loggerhead has adapted to its sea life. It has long flippers and special glands that help it to drink salt water. While the loggerhead is a relatively slow swimmer, it can show amazing bursts of speed when it feels threatened. The natural threats to this sea turtle are sharks and orcas.

    In the U.S., Pacific loggerheads were listed as endangered in 2011 due to 80 percent population declines. Atlantic loggerheads retained threatened status despite major population declines.

    Loggerheads live in coastal bays, estuaries, lagoons, and open oceans in warm and temperate waters. Loggerheads occur worldwide, in areas such as North and South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle found in the United States.

    Download a fact sheet on the loggerhead sea turtle here.

For Kids & Classes

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    Make Your Own Sea Turtle Costume!

    Materials:

    • 1 or 2 large cardboard box/cartons. I get these from appliance stores or bicycle shops
    • 8 1-2″ wide strips of fabric about 1-2 ft. long. I got fabric from a thrift shop, old sheets or bed spreads work well for this (try to find a color that is similar to your turtle).
    • Quart of exterior house paint (possibly some Z-prime for an undercoat depending on quality desired).
    • A heavy-duty stapler with 3/8″ staples. Stapler needs to be the long handled heavy duty type. Staples longer than 3/8″ tend to bend and come back through the cardboard creating a sharp, snagging hazard.

    Click here to download and view the full instructions.

    Sea Turtle Costumes in Action (pictured below):

    images-1imagesChevron_STRPgroup2011

  • cocos whaleshark

    Cocos Island Gallery

    Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica is known worldwide as an ocean haven for spectacular sharks, rare sea turtles, whales and abundant marine wildlife. But even World Heritage status has not stopped commercial fishers from invading these treasured waters.

    Turtle Island is working to demand that Costa Rica protect Cocos Island National Park create a protected area that connects all the way to Ecuador’s waters, northeast of the Galapagos Islands. These two nations could create one of the world’s largest protected ocean zones, and save the endangered leatherback turtle from extinction.

    And now you can help us! We welcome experienced divers who want to participate in our ongoing research to help tag and track sea turtles and sharks in the Cocos Islands. You will get hands-on opportunities to capture turtles and attach satellite and acoustical transmitters and to tag and photograph hammerhead sharks underwater.

     

  • Where to See Salmon

    Coho salmon and steelhead trout enter Lagunitas Creek, San Geronimo Creek and several other tributaries through Tomales Bay to  spawn after the first heavy rains of fall in the Lagunitas Watershed and enter Redwood Creek (Muir Woods) directly from the Pacific Ocean. Fish have been sighted from September to January, with spawning normally peaking in December in the Lagunitas Watershed. Steelhead trout spawn later, usually between December through February. If you’d like to find out the best locations to view salmon and download a free map and brochure, please click here.

  • Volunteer Hours

    If you have volunteered hours to work on a project during any given month, please download and fill out form here.