Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Research Technical Report


California Seabird Coordination Meeting

Tuesday, 19 December 2000 (0845 -1700)

Minutes compiled by Erica Burton

Minutes edited by Andrew DeVogelaere, William Sydeman, and Meredith Elliott




Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Seminar Room

8272 Moss Landing Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039-9647


0845 - 0915: Coffee, tea, etc.


Andrew DeVogelaere (MBNMS)

Jim Harvey (MLML)

Scott Benson (MLML): Rationale

At last year's meeting there was a desire for more coordination

Therefore, we coordinated Group Leaders to organize topics and speakers

We'll see how this goes today, and comment at the end

0930 - 1015: Seabird Restoration & Seabirds and Oil (45 minutes)

Group Leader: Paul Kelly (OSPR/CDFG)

Included in discussion

Jan Roletto (GFNMS)

Steve Hampton (OSPR)

Scott Newman (UC Davis)

Bernie Tershy (UCSC)

Jennifer Boyce (NOAA)



Paul Kelly:

  • Various settlements of damage assessment for oil spills
  • Primary funding sources for seabirds in California
  • Never consistent funding sources
  • Trust funds set up for Restoration (no $ for research)
  • Can build monitoring projects around Restoration and Research

Case updates:

1997 Humboldt Bay Oil Spill (M/V Kure)

  • 5000 gallons of oil in Fall
  • 1000 debilitated birds which translates into a larger number of birds
  • Hot bed for biologists, therefore tap into efforts
  • 15,000 oiled birds (from direct observations)
  • Aerial surveys every day for 2 weeks [Breck Tyler and Scott Newman involved]
  • One of the most sophisticated responses for oil spill of this size
  • Therefore, receive substantial money from this; maybe 10 yrs to settle
  • Alcids
  • Marbled Murrelets - 10 bodies

1999 Stuyvesant Oil Spill, Humboldt Bay

  • 5000 gallons
  • 2000 oiled birds (including 24 Marbled Murrelets)
  • Look at scavenging rates
  • More sophisticated looking at oiled birds/spills
  • Cooperative assessments with guilty party

Jan Roletto:

Pt. Reyes Tar Ball Case, Series of spills (4 months, starting in winter 1997)

  • Harry Carter & crew compiled a review of dead birds
  • Glenn Ford worked on Rehabilitation data and Beach survey
  • Damage Assessment Report next summer
  • Who claim money from? Oil came from different sources
  • Collected 2000 birds (85-90% Common Murres)

Steve Hampton:

  • Oil liability trust fund, which Oil Companies contribute to, used for
    • Response activities
    • Damage assessment
    • Compensatory projects
  • Coast Guard Fund has 2 main liaisons; and developing relationships
  • This may be the first time someone has gone to this fund for such a large claim amount

Common Murre Project money

  • Human disturbance reduction (ie., Reduce disturbance to Common Murres)
  • One idea: Comprehensive chronic oil pollution reduction (modeled after New Foundland, Canada and Baltic Sea)

Q: Michael Fry & Bill Sydeman - Isn't this illegal (dumping oil from ships)?

A: Steve Hampton - Yes

  • Major components of project
    • Enforcement: Radar detection from satellite and Radar (Norway)
    • Incentives to ship owners
    • Host of Monitoring Activities (beach bird monitoring; primary target at Gulf of the Farallones)
    • Seasonal drift experiments in major shipping lanes
    • Live bird monitoring to track greatest risk colonies in Gulf of the Farallones
    • Tar Ball finger printing

Paul Kelly:

Trust funds & Seabird Restoration

  • Command Case - illegal dumping at Golden Gate Bridge
  • U.S. Attorney against Pearl Shipping ($9-10 million)
  • Trust Fund - $4.1 million (NRDA account)
    • Majority to Common Murres (>1/2)
    • Marbled Murrelets
    • Shoreline habitats
  • Council has not yet met formally
  • When they do, will consider projects
  • Proposed projects will be considered for seabird restoration
  • Penalty funds will go to Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Michael Fry - NRDA funds not for research but Restoration and Spills

Will basic biology be done?

How can you do baseline work between spills?

A: Steve Hampton - Legal Rational (NRDA) is to Restore

Physical restoration with measurable benefit to increase bird numbers

Planning component

Squeeze in some restoration money

Q: Michael Fry - How get more money for monitoring?

A: Paul Kelly - Everyone probably agrees with the government, settlements with responsible party

Q: Don Croll - Get money, with not much flexibility with funds. Can we inform legislature to be more flexible with funds?

A: Paul Kelly - Partly the number of dollars and Restoration guidelines (law)

A: Karin Forney - For long term restoration, need monitoring money; therefore provide wording in context

A: Don Croll - You can't fix bird deaths, therefore provide mitigation money for flexible projects

A: Jan Roletto - Money over long-term basis not there, therefore need funds for comprehensive restoration and monitoring

A: Paul Kelly - Significant restraints

Paul Kelly:

Cape Mohican, San Francisco,1996

  • 4000 birds impacted, most shorebirds
  • Number of projects (eelgrass, rocky shores, seabirds, etc)
  • $800k for seabirds
  • Restoration and colonization of island in SF Bay (Red Rock, privately owned)
    • Double-crested Cormorant
    • Roost sites for Brown Pelican
    • Oyster Catchers
    • Black-crowned Night Heron
  • Is this feasible?
  • Birds in south Bay
    • Caspian Terns
    • Least Terns
  • Eradicate House Mouse at Farallon Islands

 Mike Parker:

APEX Houston, 1986

  • 9000 seabirds killed
  • 6300 Common Murres
  • Surveyed 3 sights
    • Pt Reyes Headleads (PRH) - reference site to compare to Devil's Slide
    • Devil's Slide Rock (DSR) - attraction
    • Castle & Hurricaine Rocks, Big Sur (CRM/HPR)
  • 1996-2000
  • At Devil's Slide
  • Breeding sites increased (6 pairs - 98 pairs)
  • Territorial sites increased (5 pairs - 25 pairs)
  • Disturbances at 3 colonies (1997-2000)
    • Aircraft
    • Vessel
  • Monitored either: Murres flushed or head-bobbed
  • Major flushing by
    • Coast Guard/Military aircraft
    • Big Sur Marathon aircraft (April)

Bernie Tershy (Island Conservation Group)

American Trader Trust (1989: 3 million)

  • Spill at Huntington Beach
  • Restore Pelicans and others
  • Restoration Plan at CDFG web site
  • Distributed next couple of weeks
  • Anacapa Island
  • All permits in place, including EPA, to eradicate rats using an airborne poison
  • Killed all rats that were tagged and ear-marked in trial error
  • Using half the concentration of poison available in "Safeway Supermarkets"
  • Planned eradication
    • East island (Nov/Dec 2001)
    • West island (Nov/Dec 2002)
  • Possible model project for others


  • No seabird management money
  • 5 islands, 3 planned for next year, mainly cat eradication

American Trader money

Frank Gress - Monitor Pelicans at Anacapa Island

Gerry McChesney & Harry Carter - Monitor Xantus's Murrelet, therefore measure benefits of rat eradication

Craig Strong - Pelican roost site monitored at CA mainland, southern CA

International component - Western Grebe component, council will put out RP

Other Seabird Restoration

Bill Sydeman:

  • Ano Nuevo - Restoration management
  • 1993 - Michelle Hester and Sydeman looked at Rhinoceros Auklet
  • Julie Thayer later became part of project
  • Basic components
    • Nest boxes augment habitat
    • Install boardwalks
    • Work with UCSC to coordinate
  • Population doubled from 1993-1997
  • Dietary studies - ocean productivity
  • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary contributed in past


Leah Culp (GFNMS): Beach watch program

  • Monitor 16 beaches since 1993
  • 100 volunteers
  • Count beach cast organisms
  • Collect tar ball samples
  • Peak every year in Aug-Sept for Murres (after Murre fledging period), highly deposited
  • Less overall dead birds last year (~20%)
  • Included: Murres, other, tar balls
  • Live counts the same

Scott Newman (UC Davis):

  • Update of OSPR
  • OWCN
  • 2 premier facilities opening in March, each with 1000 bird capacities
    • San Pedro
    • Cordelia
  • Goals
    • Determine where spilled birds are coming from
    • GIS: live and dead animals
    • Newletter - "Network News"
      • Download off web
      • Mailing list
  • RFP discussion made on projects funded
  • Evaluate health related issues
  • Animals affected by oil
  • Ecosystem projects
  • You may receive survey of program
  • May/June 2001 - Symposium in Sacramento
    • Projects funded by Network
  • Next RFP in March, funded in Oct

Jennifer Boyce:

Final version of the NOAA Guidelines for Marine Bird Damage Assessment will be available in March, for a copy of the Guidelines ask Jen

Bill Sydeman:

1994 Oiled Wildlife Response Team (OWRT)

  • Collect evidence in event of spill
  • Ran out of money within 1 year
  • Recently developed new contract with Wildlife Processing Group
    • Team = PRBO and those throughout state who agreed to respond within 24 - 48 hours
  • Full-time deal once contacted
  • Training workshop coming up

Mark Rauzon:

  • Need environmental education
  • At next seabird coordination meeting include topic in agenda
    • Seabird biology
    • Marine education
    • Disturbance
    • CA seabird education
  • Ask Trustee Council


Jennifer Boyce - American Trader includes education

Scott Newman - Public and Children's education with 2 projects spoke of

Bernie Tershy - Brought island education materials here from Mexico (passed around room)


1015 -1055: Seabird-Fisheries Interactions (40 minutes)

Group Leader: Jennifer Boyce (NOAA, Damage Assessment SW Region)

Nearshore Live-Fish Rockfish Fishery

Mike Parker:

  • Vessel Disturbance of Common Murres (3 colonies)
  • Flushing at CHCC, PRCC, DSCC (central CA, 4/97-8/00
  • 10 m from rocks
  • On calm days put out traps and lines with multi-hooks

Dave Jessup:

  • Closed 6 months / Open 6 months
  • Patty Wolfe said Marine Reserves Design Program may result in more reserves; designed to benefit fish and birds

Bill Sydeman:

  • Good time to make comments and contact Patty Wolfe, because CDFG making Nearshore Fishery Management plan within next 2 years

Monterey Bay halibut gill-net fishery

Karin Forney:

  • Hand-out: Summary of NMFS Observer Program, Monterey Bay region, 1999 & 2000
    • 1999: 2357 Murres taken (not including chicks)
    • 2000: 2840 Murres taken; stopped in September when 120-day moratorium began (emergency response from a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit)
  • Fishery moved to 60 fathoms, Pt Reyes to Yankee Pt., but too deep to fish for halibut
  • January 9, 2001, new regulations expire; may extend another 120 days
  • South of Yankee Pt. Still at 30 fathoms; maybe vulnerable area for bycatch
  • 8 inch mesh for halibut, 6.75 inch mesh for soupfin shark and sea bass; fishermen may switch fisheries; therefore may be a problem for common murres

Scott Newman:

  • 10% of fishery in Monterey Bay

Karin Forney - But, large amount of the bycatch from Monterey Bay

  • Ventura to Anacapa Island, half of halibut gill-netting

Paul Kelly:

  • This isn't a done deal, but emergency closure got department's attention
  • Lawsuit forced response from CDFG
  • Department may extend 30 fm to 60 fm along Big Sur Coast
  • Department will work with legislature with regulation changes
  • Another public hearing for 120 day extension
  • There may be financial help for fishermen
  • MMS - Glenn Ford
    • CD ROM data (beta version)
    • aerial photos of Murre distribution used for informed decision (closure)

Squid Fishery

Gerry McChesney:

  • In southern California, fishery primarily around Channel Islands
  • Fishery has grown exponentially over the last 10 yrs
  • Fish at night with light boat (~30,000-100,000 watts/boat) and auxiliary boat (seiner)
  • In nearshore waters
  • Fishing heaviest off Santa Cruz Island and Santa Rosa Island
  • Primarily a fall fishery (some spring/summer)
  • Also off Santa Barbara Island & Anacapa Island
  • Mortality of:
    • Xantus's Murrelet
    • Brown Pelican chick mortality
    • Storm-Petrels (primarily)
  • Recommendation to CDFG for closures around Islands considered but not applied
  • But at end of May regulations
    • Wattage limits (30,000 watts)
    • Light Shields that direct light downward
  • Follow-up meeting in October
    • Esther Burkett and Maura Naughton - to convince CDFG for closure
  • CDFG - anecdotal info

Esther Burkett:

  • Looking at
    • Xantus's Murrelet
    • Storm-Petrel (primarily)
    • Brown Pelican (State & Federally listed: fully protected, no take; CDFG's take = attempt to take is not considered harassment)
  • Squid Activity (?) is a project under CEQA (law 1976)
  • Not sure yet how to deal with pelican problem
  • No actual data on impact, just observation
  • CDFG is supposed to pay for monitoring, but are they the correct agency for this?

Dave Jessup:

  • Fisheries need input on fisheries for management, therefore opportunity for input

Bill Sydeman:

  • Squid management plan draft is due in April 2001
  • 250,000 mt max sustainable yield (largest in CA, RE: vessels, economics)
  • But, cap at 100,000 mt during non-El Niño; 10,000 mt during El Niño
  • CDFG also need seabird yield estimate, therefore need input

Scott Newman:

  • In halibut fishery, CDFG weighed bycatch (high) with economics (low), therefore closure
  • But squid fishery may be more difficult

Michael Fry:

  • Money in fishery will pay for it

Scott Newman:

  • Pot of money for monitoring, but not used for environmental monitoring

Esther Burkett:

  • I don't think pot of money for bird impacts

Paul Kelly:

  • CDFG does not have history of financing monitoring projects
  • Interest group needed to advise CDFG on monitoring

Esther Burkett:

  • Send recommendations to Esther (email)

Karin Forney:

  • Squid is a category 2 fishery (Interactions with mammals)
  • Think about data needed to be taken by on-board observers

Maura Naughton (Pacific Fishery Management Council):

  • Management plan of highly migratory fishes (pelagic longline)
  • Increasingly more restricted in Hawaii and Pacific
  • Therefore may move to west coast
  • Taking Albatross and other seabirds
  • Therefore, where fishing now no indicator of where fishing next
  • Expected draft plan presented to Council in March 2001
  • Can put in mitigation measures, therefore need comments


1055-1140: Long-term Population/Demographic Monitoring (45 minutes)

Group Leader: Gerry McChesney (USGS)

  • At-sea studies
    • U.S. Geological Survey/Humboldt State University (Gerry McChesney)
      • Southern California aerial at-sea surveys
        • Point Pedros Blancas to Mexican Border
        • 3 yr, seabirds and mammals in S. Cal
        • Progress Report of first year is out
        • Overall, numbers of seabirds lower than in old days, including Alcids (Common Murres), Sooty Shearwaters
      • Cassin's Auklet radio-telemetry (Harry Carter)
        • Finished field season off San Miquel Island
        • 30 radio tags
        • marking birds at nest sites
        • follow breeding success
        • followed some dispersal north
    • U.C. Santa Cruz/Moss Landing Marine Labs (Don Croll/Scott Benson)
      • Santa Barbara Channel shipboard surveys
        • Surveys in Aug-Oct, same method as below
        • Q: Croll - Contact Sarah Fangman with letters of support for Research in S. Cal (money for new boat)
      • Monterey Bay shipboard surveys
        • Monitored since 1996 off MLML
        • 16 miles offshore, 50 m depth
        • monthly
        • upwelling season (May-Nov)
        • count seabirds, mammals, CCD, temperature, characterize prey back scatter
        • patchwork funding
        • MBNMS helpful with ship time
    • Moss Landing Marine Labs (Laird Henkel)
      • Monterey Bay coastal boat surveys
        • Abundance of nearshore (500 m) seabirds for 2 yrs.
          • Western Grebes
          • Surf Scoters
          • Marbled Murrelets (winter)
        • Sandy shore, Capitola to Monterey
        • SST and water clarity also recorded
    • CalCOFI (Bill Sydeman)
      • Southern California shipboard surveys
        • 50 yr program, centered at S. Cal Bight, although conduct along CA coast last 30 yr
        • Result = decline in Sooty Shearwaters
        • Research taken over by David Hyrenbach (finishing PhD)
        • To keep program alive, 4 surveys/yr (1 per season)
        • Spun off into Marine Protected Areas project (to sell)
        • Stability of bird distribution thru time, connect to oceanography
        • If use birds as indicator of productive areas, protect birds for that cause
    • U.C. Santa Cruz/OSPR (Breck Tyler)
      • Monterey Bay aerial at-sea surveys
        • Mid 1990's, overseen by Mike Donnell
        • Inactive for ~1 yr
        • Start in January
        • Designed a team of observers for spills
        • 2 days (back-to-back, but flexible) per month for surveys
        • Fly at 200 ft in CDFG plane
        • Transects 2-4 miles apart
        • Pt. Sur to Gulf of Farallones
        • Open to surveying other parts of State
        • Q: Paul Kelly - Updates to MMS CD-ROM? Companion to shipboard surveys
        • A: Michael McCrary - plans on updating and funding to do so; maybe in 2-3 yr
        • Q: Michael Fry - Who is the best agency to act as the clearing house? MMS? NOAA?
        • A: Paul Kelly - Fines money, penalty money in the last 12 months
          • Pursue legislature for permanent funding
          • Letter from Pacific Seabird Group to MMS to use shipboard data in CD
    • H.T. Harvey and Associates (Carol Keiper)
      • Gulf of the Farallones shipboard surveys
        • Carol's thesis, 1985 data set
        • Dave Ainley, Sarah Allen, Cornelia Aldecova (thesis)
        • David Starr Jordon surveys in conjunction with NMFS assessment cruises
        • May-June (1-2 weeks)
        • Pt. Reyes to Cypress Pt. (from nearshore waters to 75 km offshore)
        • 7300 birds
          • 73% Sooty Shearwater (84% in Monterey Bay)
          • 18% Common Murre (42% in Monterey Bay, 53% N. coast, north of SF to Pt. Reyes)
    • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (Sarah Fangman absent, per McChesney)
      • Vessel support
        • R/V Ballena capsized in November
          • Net tows
          • Seabird and mammal observations
      • Will rely on Channel Islands Reserve Boats
      • Use Sanctuary skippers to continue projects
      • Trying to get new vessel, Sanctuaries own or shared
  • Colony Monitoring
    • Channel Islands National Park/U.S. Geological Survey (Paige Martin absent, per Gerry McChesney)
      • Channel Islands
        • Started in 1985
        • Monitor several breeding seabirds
        • 1993-99, park contracting out to PRBO to monitor
        • 2000 funding dried-up
        • USGS part of Cassin's Auklet monitoring
        • At Prince Island (Josh Adams)
        • Once per month (weather and boat availability permitting)
        • Park Reviewing Program by statistician
        • Positive review with some changes and new monitoring protocol
    • Point Reyes Bird Observatory (Bill Sydeman)
      • South Farallon Islands (Kyra Mills)
        • Ashy Storm-Petrels (slightly below average)
        • Primarily look at long-term trends of populations, but also changes in oceanographic conditions and variability; also included diet provided to chicks
        • Next year (or long-term)
          • 6 species declining (Cassin's Auklet, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Pelagic Cormorant, Brandt's Cormorant, gulls)
            • Croll/Sydeman: land fill closures, decline in short belly rockfish
            • Kyra Mills: probably a combo of both
          • Continue mark-recapture of Ashy Storm-Petrels
          • Continue why declines on Farallones (examine data)
          • Big mouse population, therefore document predation & eradication
          • Sydeman - over-head: 1973-1999, change in diet from rockfish to anchovy/sardine (i.e. short belly rockfish disappeared from 1989 to present)
      • Año Nuevo Island (Sydeman)
        • Looking at other species (than Rhino Auklet): Brandt's Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Western Gull, Cassin's Auklet
      • Vandenberg Air Force Base (Sydeman)
        • 2 years ago started at Vandenberg (partly a no take Reserve)
          • Pigeon Guillemot
          • Brandt's Cormorant
          • Pelagic Cormorant
        • Population size
        • Productivity
        • Foraging habitat within and without reserve
          • Forage more outside
    • Common Murre Restoration (Mike Parker)
      • 3 sites mentioned previously (CRM/HPR, PRH, DSR)
        • Common Murre: seasonal attendance patterns, anthropogenic, natural predation by common ravens
        • Productivity
          • Brandt's Cormorant
          • Pelagic Cormorant
          • Western Gull
          • Pigeon Guillemot
        • Annual Report every year
          • Contact/email Mike Parker, Ingrid Harrald, Martin Murphy
  • Aerial Photographic Surveys
    • U.S. Geological Survey/Humboldt State University (Gerry McChesney)
      • Southern California cormorant colony and seabird roost surveys
        • Paul Kelly, OSPR flight support
        • Since 1991, S Cal surveys every year
        • Colony survey
          • Brandt's Cormorant
          • Pelagic Cormorant
        • Seabird Roost survey to compliment at-sea surveys
        • Brown Pelican roost study
          • Harry Carter, Phil Cabidillo (sp?)
          • Triangular area: Channel Islands, S. Cal, Mugu Lagoon
          • Funded by Navy, in cooperation with MMS
        • 1999-2000: numbers below prior to 1998, particularly Brandt's Cormorants
        • Primarily Brandt's Cormorant, Northern Channel Islands
        • Why? Low adult survival from 1998 El Niño? Need to examine data more and oceanographic events
    • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Humboldt State University (Mike Parker)
      • Northern and central California murre and cormorant colony surveys
        • Survey breeding colonies since 1996, Pt. Conception to OR border
        • Big Sur murre colony has recovered ~35% of 1980's population
        • Q: Michael Fry: Can these data be made available via CD-ROM?
        • A: Parker: Yes
  • Beached Bird Surveys
    • Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary "Beachwatch" (Leah Culp, Jan Roletto)
      • 141 Common Murres, 12.5% oiled
      • 10 Western Grebes, 10% oiled
      • Jan Roletto - there are plans to implement data into GIS format
    • Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary/Moss Landing Marine Labs "Beach COMBERS" (Scott Benson)
      • Collecting data since May 1997
        • Volunteers
        • Monthly walks; except twice per month at Pebble Beach
        • Oiling: 0.5%; much less than Farallones
        • Bird numbers are greater than the Farallones
        • Third peak since 1997 in Spring of 2000 of Western Grebes (more so than Common Murres)
        • Necropsies on birds (Grebes)
          • Most young and emaciated
          • Young migrants arriving in large numbers and system couldn't support
        • GIS project in the works


1140-1210: Seabird Environmental and Ecosystem Studies (30 minutes)

Group Leader: Dave Jessup (Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care & Research Center)

Melissa Chechowitz (absent; Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care & Research Center, CDFG):

  • Categorical list and number of Avian necropsies (e.g. list and # of birds released from oil spill)
  • Slides of oiled birds
    • Snowy Plover Research
    • Common Murre gill-net necropsy
      • Enlargement of spleen
      • Atrophied salt glands

Hannah Nevins's (absent) Results:

  • 40% Common Murres looked at had
    • air sac infection
    • probably would have died if not in set gill-net fishery
    • organism (bacterial?) has affinity with reproductive organs
  • Therefore, deaths may not be single cause

Scott Newman:

  • Demoic Acid (DA; neurotoxin)
    • Found up and down the coast
    • Seizuring animals
    • Diagnostic - urine tests & brain examination in mammals
    • Has anyone shown affecting birds?
  • Experiments on pigeons using 1/100 DA dose found in mammals
    • Tremors
    • High heart rate
    • High respiratory rates
    • Quick response (live or die)
  • Experimental DA doses in seabirds (0.3-4.9 mg/kg body weight)
    • One exposed to high concentration (4.9 mg/kg) resulted in death
    • At low dose (0.3 mg/kg), clinical symptoms
      • Lethargic, no minimal response to "harassment"
      • Body temperature monitoring (unable to thermoregulate)
      • Weakness in water, droopy wings syndrome
      • Isolated themselves from other birds
    • Future: find another surrogate seabird species (10-15 individuals), e.g. Cassin's Auklet
  • Oil Care Network - RFP
    • Oil spills
    • Another RFP, post-release survival studies, pre-qualified people on a list
  • Post-release survival study of adults (Humboldt Bay, Stuyvesant Spill)
    • September 6, 1999 - spill
    • Common Murre spill
    • Tracking duration: 142 days oiled, 145 days control
    • Do treated wildlife survive when released?
    • Murres survive much longer than reported, but possibly not as long as non-oiled Murres

Jen Parkin:

  • Caspian terns in Elkhorn Slough
  • Fencing to deter predators
  • Needs info on how to do

    A: Esther Burkett - in San Diego County contact Clark Mitchell and Slater Buck


1210-1330: Lunch Break and Report/Reprint Requests (1 hour, 20 minutes)


1330-1400: Contaminants/Dumping (30 minutes)

Group Leader: Bill Sydeman (PRBO)

Laird Henkel:

Nearshore dumping

  • Effects of natural landslide at Año Nuevo Bay
  • Oct 99 - Mar 00 surveys
    • Primarily Marbled Murrelets
    • Brown Pelican
    • Sea Otter
  • No independent control site
  • Marbled Murrelets move out at same time plume created, can't say causal
  • Probably negative impact anyway
  • If natural slide, the point is moot (co-evolved with natural landfall)

Q: Jan Roletto - Who determines if natural?

A: Esther Burkett, Laird Henkel, Gregg Erickson - Geologists; but not everyone in concensus

Michael Fry:

  • With contaminants look primarily at sediments and fish
  • Selenium and Mercury: In Sacramento Steve Schwartz looking at diving ducks which go elsewhere to breed, therefore we don't monitor
  • Longest standing pollutant problem in California (on trial)
  • Dec 15 2000, judge response
  • Defendants decided not to put on a good defense

Bill Sydeman:

Request: need more monitoring of contaminants (PCB, DDE) to look at changes over time

Q: Scott Newman

Set up monitoring for contaminants

How store?

Who's jurisdiction?

Q: Michael Fry

Even a survey once every 10 years would be beneficial

Q: Bill Sydeman

What would be the cost?

A: Michael Fry

373 eggs = 1.3 million dollars

A: Scott Newman

Cost depends on sample type and question

A: Andrew DeVogelaere

At the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary there is a new project called SIMoN (Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network) and it could be a possible framework to work on contaminant monitoring. Therefore, provide some input.

1400-1430: Inland Seabird Projects (30 minutes)

Group Leader: Mark Rauzon (Marine Endeavors)

Mark Rauzon:

Salton Sea (Sony Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge)

  • 1998: winter breeding Double-crested Cormorant (4500 pairs)
  • 1999: 1100 nests initiated, all failed
  • Cause? avian Cholera
  • 1500 Brown Pelicans affected by avian botulism, 600 survived
  • White Pelican: 12,500 affected ; 8,000 survived (?)

Contacted Dave Shuford

  • Not much going on at Mono Lake
  • California Gulls had good reproductive success in 2000
  • Lake stratification changes, mixing going on
  • This year, no inland cormorant or black tern monitoring
  • Tulle Lake? No info
  • Stone Lake (Sacramento): initiated and abandoned
  • SF Bay Bird Observatory (no specific numbers, Doug Bell moved to Sacramento)
    • California Gulls
    • Forster's Terns
    • Caspian Terns
  • PRBO - Least Tern work
  • SF Bird Observatory
  • Caspian Terns on Brooks Island -700 nests


  • Richmond Bridge (Meredith Elliott)
    • Double-crested Cormorant
      • 12 surveys
        • boats used underneath bridge for nest surveys
        • road surveys
        • close lane(s) of traffic to look at lower deck of bridge
      • For CalTrans Retro-fit and upkeep
        • Timing of breeding
        • general population size
      • 669 Breeding pairs
      • 725 nesting attempts
      • 45% hatching success
      • 79% fledgling success
      • Change: More of colony on cords alongside bridge rather than underneath
      • 1572 eggs on cords; some collected by Jay Davis for contaminant work
  • Bay Bridge
    • Working on feasibility of building nesting platforms


  • Pigeon Guillemots increasing
  • Cormorants
  • Despite extensive numbers of disturbance, Cormorants do well

Maura Naughton (USFWS - currently):

  • National EIS for Cormorant Management Plan due January 2001
  • Effort to remove from migratory bird list)
  • Huge increase in South U.S. & Great Lakes
  • Heads-up RE: Cormorants - Distinction must be made between marine systems and aquaculture (catfish)

Paul Kelly:

  • Encourage Cal Trans to move birds to SF Bay Islands
  • Because perhaps soon Cormorants may cause accidents and then a larger problem to rid Cormorants


1430-1500: Endangered Seabirds (30 minutes)

Group Leader: Esther Burkett (CDFG)

Least Terns (Pat Baird, absent; Lyann Comrack, absent)

  • No Demoic Acid (DA) work
  • Chick mortality speculated from Anchovy diet (DA)
  • 1969-2000 numbers increasing (graph)
  • But high maintenance cost
    • Man power
    • Fencing
  • Breeding pairs highest since monitoring

Q: Michael Fry - Island artificial?

A: Esther Burkett - Yes, mostly or all artificial

Info: contact Laurie Hayes - Carlsbad, USFWS(?)

Overall: Predation a problem

Pesticide contaminations in chicks at Pt Mugu

Brown Pelicans

  • Frank Gress's (absent) Research Ideas (and Dan Anderson's)
  • Satellite Radio tags on Brown Pelicans
  • Data to work up: aerial photos of Pelicans at new site on Anacapa (site he couldn't get to because birds moved)
  • Food problem for Brown Pelican in 1999, not squid fishery

Mexican Pelican

  • Put into MMS to work in Baja area
  • No one to Los Coronado since 1993
  • Wants to continue aerial photos of Brown Pelican

Redwood National Forest

  • People want access to beach
  • Brown Pelican roost there

2000 Breeding season (Frank Gress per Gerry McChesney)

  • 4500 pairs
  • Productivity Good
  • Low chick mortality
  • Not much squid fishery occurring near breeding site

Marbled Murrelet

  • Timber Company in northern Cal
    • Money received; not sure what to do with it
    • $200,000 per year for 5 years
    • $100,000 per year for next 5 years
    • Nasal saddles derive survival estimates
    • Q: Esther Burkett - Does anyone have info on behavioral effects on nasal saddles?
  • Redwood National Forest
    • $70,000 for 3 years
    • Disturbance study
  • Development of Corvid Impacts Project
    • Funding going through Humboldt State University (Luke George)
  • Radio tags of nesting Marbled Murrelets in 2000
    • What is radio tag success?

Xantus's Murrelet (Lyann Comrack, absent)

  • Re-draft marine bird species of special concern
  • Redeveloped ranking scheme/criteria
  • Stay tuned…
  • State would rather go through cooperative process than State listing

Scott Newman collecting blood

  • ~93 samples of Marbled Murrelet
    • Some differences (Statistically)
    • Health-wise, look fine
    • Females: 1997, 1998, Able to produce eggs
    • Able to mobilize Calcium
    • Therefore capable of physiological things to produce eggs

Gerry McChesney:

  • Xantus's Murrelet
    • A lot unknown, but declining, need more info
    • Last Pacific Seabird Group Meeting in Napa
    • Technical Committee
    • Decided on Petition to list under ESA
    • Therefore, working on Petition, got comments, now on review
    • Next meeting in February in Kauai to decide upon
    • Harry Carter heading project for better population-wide surveys on Anacapa Island
      • Funded through American Trader
      • Radar birds coming out of cliffs area
      • Transects at night
      • High counts at Santa Catalina and Anacapa Islands
    • Harry Carter and Bill Sydeman
      • Channel Islands National Parks
      • Nest monitor at Santa Barbara Island
      • Population trends
      • Sample size for monitoring


1500-1510: Update on North American Colonial Waterbird Conservation Plan

Speaker: Maura Naughton (USFWS)

  • At last year's Pacific Seabird Group Meeting
    • Decided on new name: North American Waterbird Conservation Plan
      • Includes seabirds, Egrets, loons, grebes, rails.
    • Other studies:
      • Water quality
      • Shorebird planning
      • Colonial waterbird plan
      • North American waterbird……
    • Unclear whether go through?
      • Egrets
      • Grebes
      • Rails
      • Others
    • Partnership plan
      • International
      • Government
      • Private
      • USGS first to draft
    • See info at web site:
    • National Plan is general with East Coast bias, therefore West Coast needs to make comments
    • Nothing formalized



Paul Kelly:

  • Italian aircraft Skymaster to replace plane in S. Cal
  • Governor announced new
  • Harlan Henderson (Coast Guard)
  • Document (Oil Spill, spill response, or) Habitat Restoration Plan
  • Coast Guard blessed
  • Available at CDFG web site
  • List of contacts - OWCN

Andrew DeVogelaere (MBNMS):

  • Maybe to MBNMS when update
  • Helpful habitat sensitivity map

In Paul Kelly's office, promote collection of baseline info

Bill Sydeman:

  • Pacific Seabird Group Meeting, February 5-11 in Kauai at Radisson
  • Abstracts due 25 December or 10 January
  • Web site

    info OWCN RFP for Research and Post-release survival studies & OWCN Newsletter


1510-1540: Wrap-up (30 minutes)

Jim Harvey:

  • Meeting Evaluation - what worked, what didn't?
  • Did you like the one-day format? Yes
  • Group Leaders? Therefore, one person who is familiar with topics, and less burden on hosts
  • Topics?
  • Focus on Issues
  • Is presentation of data needed?
  • Rather than current research, get back to coordination
  • Plans for 2001 meeting
    • Where? Sacramento area?
    • Host(s)? Paul Kelly and Gerry McChesney
    • Date? mid-November, or earlier in December (not so close to the holidays)


1540-1700 Social Hour (1 hour, 20 minutes)






Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

8272 Moss Landing Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039-9647

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

299 Foam Street

Monterey, CA 93940

*Scott Benson

Erica Burton

Jim Harvey

Andrew De Vogelaere

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

Take Our Survey | Privacy Statement | Site Disclaimer
National Marine Sanctuaries | National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |