We are pleased to present our next America’s Great Outdoors internship site at the California Coastal National Monument (CCNM) in Monterey, California.
While our interns will be working in and around the Monterey area, the California Coastal National Monument is located along the entire 1,100 miles of the California coastline. This area is made up of more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles between Mexico and Oregon. The scenic qualities and critical habitat of this public resource are protected as part of the National Landscape Conservation System, administered by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior.
In 1997, the Torch / Platform Irene Oil Spill released at least 163 barrels (6,846 gallons) of petroleum products into the Pacific Ocean. Subsequently, oil contaminated 17 miles of northern Santa Barbara County coastline and damaged a variety of natural resources including mussels, abalone, seabirds (notably Common Murres and Brandt’s Cormorants), shorebirds, and shoreline and intertidal habitats. After this the Torch Spill Trustee Council prepared a Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, which included the Seabird Protection Network Program. This program was created to protect seabirds by reducing human disturbance of nesting and roosting colonies, especially those of Pelagic Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Brown Pelicans, Western Gulls, Black Oystercatcher and Pigeon Guillemots. In addition to seabirds, many other threatened species can be found in the CCNM including sea lions, sea otters, elephant seals, harbor seals, and a wide variety of intertidal species.
Our two interns located here will be doing field work that includes shore and marsh bird monitoring, working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Monterey Audubon Society on weekly Black Oystercatcher nest monitoring, and assisting California State Parks (the other CCNM Core-Managing Partner) with Snowy Plover monitoring. Although the field work portion of the internship is crucial, another important task these interns will be accomplishing is outreach to the local communities about shorebird conservation. To do this they will deliver onsite and offsite public presentations on shorebird conservation to youth and adults, promote programs with local English and Spanish-language media, as well as work with youth and adults in field education and classroom programs. By promoting shorebird education and conservation our interns will raise awareness to the public about the species in their backyards and why the California Coastal National Monument is so important to shorebird populations.
Check out the pictures above to see what this beautiful coastal area looks like! To learn more about the CCNM and the Bureau of Land Management see their site here.