We lead unique public expeditions into the Gulf of the Farallones and our California Marine Protected Areas, collecting observations on wildlife and human use, and educating the public through media and public expeditions. Now with the Trident ROV we are monitoring species and benthic habitat in our marine protected areas along the Central California coast and in the San Francisco Bay. Read about our National Geographic Gulf of the Farallones Expeditions on Open Explorer.

Join us exiting beneath the Golden Gate for amazing photo and wildlife opportunities entering the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on a modern day Natural History expedition. Learn how you can join us on a public expedition to the Farallones.

About

Called the Devils Teeth by ancient mariners, these rugged, remote rocky islands host some of the most abundant and diverse marine life in the world. 36 species of marine mammals, including 18 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins ) are found near the Farallon Islands, most frequently gray whalesblue whales, and humpback whales.

Five species of pinniped come to shore on the islands, and in some cases breed. These are the northern elephant sealharbor sealSteller’s sea lionCalifornia sea lion, and the northern fur seal (the last of which, like the Rhinoceros Auklet, began to return to the island again after protection).

As part of the Fish and Wildlife system, the Farallon Islands are an important reserve protecting a huge seabird colony. The islands’ position in the highly productive California Current and Eastern Pacific upwelling region, as well as the absence of other large islands that would provide suitable nesting grounds, result in a seabird population of over 250,000. Twelve species of seabird and shorebird nest on the islands; Western GullBrandt’s CormorantPelagic CormorantDouble-crested CormorantPigeon GuillemotCommon MurreCassin’s AukletTufted PuffinBlack Oystercatcher,Rhinoceros AukletAshy Storm-petrel, and Leach’s Storm-petrel.

California State Marine Protected Areas

California is the first state in the nation to establish a system of MPAs – similar to national parks and forests on land – to protect and restore ocean habitats and increase the health, productivity, and resilience of ocean ecosystems. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)passed in 1999, California took a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs along its 1,100 mile coastline, and divided the state into five regions: the north coast, north central coast, central coast, south coast and San Francisco Bay. The state completed the coastal network of MPAs in 2012, creating over 120 underwater refuges along California’s coast, extending protection from Oregon to Mexico.

Become an MPA Ambassador- Join Now.

Part of a statewide network, our consortium includes State Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Farallon Islands, the Point Reyes National Seashore, California Academy of Sciences, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, West Marin Environmental Action Committee and NGOS, San Francisco State University’s Estuarine and Ocean Science (formerly Romberg Tiburon Center), the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Association, the Seabird Protection Network, along with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Golden Gate Collaborative is co- chaired by Shark Steward’s David McGuire, Morgan Patton of the West Marin Environmental Committee and Paul Hobi of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

This project is supported by a grant from the Resources Legacy Fund, the Ocean Protection Council, and individual donations.

Download a toolkit and other MPA educational materials from the California MPAS website and learn about marine protected areas.  Download the Golden Gate MPA Brochure.

Our Ambassadors are divided into On-Shore and Off-Shore components is developing tools to bring to stakeholders.  Specialized materials are being developed targeting fishermen and public at the South East Farallon Island, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Duxbury Reef and Point Reyes.

California State Marine Protected Areas

California is the first state in the nation to establish a system of MPAs – similar to national parks and forests on land – to protect and restore ocean habitats and increase the health, productivity, and resilience of ocean ecosystems. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA)passed in 1999, California took a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs along its 1,100 mile coastline, and divided the state into five regions: the north coast, north central coast, central coast, south coast and San Francisco Bay. The state completed the coastal network of MPAs in 2012, creating over 120 underwater refuges along California’s coast, extending protection from Oregon to Mexico.