"Muir Woods National Monument, California" by National Park Service , public domain
National Monument - California
Muir Woods National Monument is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco. It’s known for its towering old-growth redwood trees. Trails wind among the trees to Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove, and along Redwood Creek. The Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails climb a hillside for views of the treetops, the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tamalpais in adjacent Mount Tamalpais State Park.
Brochure of Muir Beach at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) in California. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Muir Woods National Monument is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of San Francisco. It’s known for its towering old-growth redwood trees. Trails wind among the trees to Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove, and along Redwood Creek. The Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails climb a hillside for views of the treetops, the Pacific Ocean and Mount Tamalpais in adjacent Mount Tamalpais State Park.
Walk among old growth coast redwoods, cooling their roots in the fresh water of Redwood Creek and lifting their crowns to reach the sun and fog. Federally protected as a National Monument since 1908, this primeval forest is both refuge and laboratory, revealing our relationship with the living landscape. What will you discover in Muir Woods?
From San Francisco: Muir Woods is located 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Take Hwy 101 North --> Mill Valley/Highway 1/ Stinson Beach Exit --> Follow the signs to Hwy 1 --> Follow the signs to Muir Woods From the East Bay: Take Hwy 580/Richmond/San Rafael Bridge West --> Hwy 101 South --> Take the Stinson Beach/Mill Valley Exit --> Follow the signs to Highway 1 --> Follow the signs to Muir Woods Vehicles over 35 feet long are prohibited. RVs under 35' need an oversized parking spot.
Muir Woods Visitor Center
Visitors are required to check-in at the Visitor Center upon arriving at Muir Woods. Purchase entrance tickets or use your annual pass here for entrance fees, as well as receive a free map of the main trail of the park. You can also purchase annual passes, a detailed trail map of the surrounding area, and a variety of books and souvenirs. You can also pick up a free Junior Ranger booklet here, leave a comment card, or connect with ranger staff.
From San Francisco Muir Woods is located 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge Take Highway 101 North Take the Mill Valley/Highway 1/ Stinson Beach Exit Follow the signs to Highway 1 Follow the signs to Muir Woods From the East Bay Take the Highway 580/Richmond/San Rafael Bridge West Take Highway 101 South Take the Stinson Beach/Mill Valley Exit Follow the signs to Highway 1 Follow the signs to Muir Woods Vehicles over 35 feet long are prohibited. There are no RV parking facilities.
Muir Woods National Monument
Wooden sign and entrance to Muir Woods National Monument
Entrance to Muir Woods National Monument
Bridge through Muir Woods
A wooden bridge crosses Redwood Creek in the redwood forest
Summer is a busy time at Muir Woods. Visit early in the morning for the most pleasant experience.
Sun rays shine down on a visitor among very tall redwood trees
Later afternoon is a gorgeous time of day to visit Bohemian Grove, inside Muir Woods.
A Lady Fern grows over Redwood Creek
At least ten species of ferns grow in Muir Woods - fern seem to grow larger in redwood forests than other forests - possibly competing for attention from the redwoods?
Bench along main trail
A bench along the boardwalk with the sun shining through the redwoods
Relax in the sunshine on this quiet bench along Muir Woods main trail.
A hiker appears very small among the redwood trees
Meander along the main trail and consider your size compared to these giants.
trillium, a white flower with large green leaves in bloom on the forest floor
Trillium ovatum blooms in late winter and early spring along the forest floor.
A yellow banana slug creeping along a twig
Banana slugs creep along the forest floor in Muir Woods and are likely to be abundant in the warmer days of winter.
National Park Getaway: Muir Woods National Monument
Walk among ancient giants in an old-growth forest of redwoods in northern California. Tucked in one of the nation’s largest urban areas, Muir Woods National Monument is a retreat into nature in the bustling neighborhoods of the San Francisco Bay area.
People walking on a boardwalk next to redwoods
New Report Dives In to Cross-Boundary Invasive Plant Survey Results from Mount Tam
Invasive plants don’t see our property lines. The five partners that make up Marin County’s One Tam partnership know this, and they teamed up to create an Early Detection and Rapid Response program tasked with identifying and managing invasives across jurisdictions on Mt. Tamalpais. With early leadership from the Inventorying & Monitoring Network’s Invasive Species Early Detection Program, crews from One Tam surveyed over 400 miles of roads, trails, and stream corridors.
Person in the field, photoraphing a plant with her phone.
2019 Coho and Steelhead Smolt Trapping Season Nearly Over
The coho and steelhead smolt trapping season got off to a late start this year. It has also been interrupted by late season storms. Although May is not over yet, it has already been one of the wettest in recent history with over 4.5 inches recorded at the Bear Valley rain gauge. Still, the numbers of year-old smolts migrating out to the ocean have been especially promising on Redwood Creek where biologists are operating one of their two traps.
Two fishery crew members remove fish from a smolt trap with a net
Preliminary 2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Results Are In
This winter, biologists and volunteers counted 93 live adult coho salmon on Redwood Creek. A preliminary analysis of redd (nest) counts and measurements indicates that they also saw a preliminary total of 61 coho redds. On Olema Creek, surveys before and after the shutdown resulted in counts of 111 live adult coho, seven coho carcasses, and a preliminary total of 63 coho redds. Steelhead were also seen in all four streams that were surveyed.
Biologist leaning over a creek with a measuring stick
Mt. Tam BioBlitz Finds Rare Plant Species
The Redwood Creek Vegetation program hosted a One Tam BioBlitz in mid-May along Bootjack Creek in Mount Tamalpais State Park. This site was of particular interest to park managers because of its serpentine soils, which are rare within the Redwood Creek watershed, and because only limited botanical surveys have been done here in the past.
Small, mostly white flower with shades of pink and purple
2018 Coho and Steelhead Smolt Migration Begins
Coho smolt monitoring traps have just been installed on Redwood and Olema Creeks, but not before a few smolts were seen getting ready to head to the ocean even earlier in the month. Even more surprising were a few large schools of steelhead smolts and seven hatchery-reared adult coho spotted still hanging out in a pool in Redwood Creek in early March.
Smolt trap set up in a creek
2018 Coho Spawning Runs Larger Than Expected
Early January saw enough rainfall for adult coho salmon and steelhead trout to reach their stream spawning habitats. Despite this long wait, the coho and steelhead spawning run in both Olema and Redwood Creeks was larger than anticipated, even when factoring out the addition of hatchery-released coho in Redwood Creek.
Large fish swimming over a rocky creek bed
Bat Inventory of Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument contains natural features that make suitable roosting and foraging habitat for numerous bat species. By identifying which species of bats use habitats in Muir Woods and how they use them, bat inventories can help the National Park Service manage for the coexistence of bats and human visitors.
Bat inventory co-leader handles a hoary bat.
Coho Salmon: Monitoring to Understand Change
Coho have a complex fresh and saltwater lifecycle. Because females are three years old when they spawn, every three years represents a distinct “cohort”, or different group of fish that are living on the same three year cycle together. Three cohorts live in San Francisco Bay Area streams. Year-round monitoring captures coho population dynamics at each life stage, and also for each cohort over time.
Volunteers participate in a coho salmon spawner survey on Redwood Creek
How will Climate Change Affect Bay Area National Park Birds?
The National Audubon Society has created research summaries for 274 national park units that describe how projected changes in climate under different emissions scenarios are likely to affect local bird populations.
Hummingbird and house finch on the same branch
Winter 2017-2018 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary
In a typical year, the coho spawning run would span over two months (December to early February), but this year it was confined to only three weeks. Despite the short spawning window, Olema Creek redd (nest) production increased by 70% from the winter of 2014-2015 when this cohort last spawned. On Redwood Creek, the number of redds was the highest it has been since monitoring began for this cohort, bolstered by the release of hatchery-reared adult coho into the creek.
Person examining the brain cavity of a large coho carcass
Collaborative Bat Study Begins in Marin County
As many as 15 different species are thought to live in Marin County, California, but biologists don’t know much yet about where many of them roost, forage, or raise their young. A new, collaborative study will expand upon ongoing USGS bat research in the region to look at bat distribution, habitat associations, and roosting ecology across the area's parks and open spaces.
Person holding a pallid bat with gloved hands
Preliminary 2017 Coho Smolt Trapping Results Are In; Juvenile Monitoring Underway
The coho salmon smolt trapping season ended in late May, and preliminary results are now available. The Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program has also begun surveys of juvenile coho that hatched in the creeks this past winter. Surveys are underway on Pine Gulch Creek, where many juvenile steelhead have already been spotted.
Juvenile steelhead trout in a measuring tray
Salmon of Redwood Creek: Salmons’ Struggle for Survival
Redwood Creek is one of the only creeks where salmon have not been stocked or re-introduced. Salmon and steelhead seen in the Creek are truly ancient strains of salmonids. They are genetically unique from salmon in other creeks in northern California. Although Muir Woods National Monument is a safe haven from human disturbance, they continually face natural challenges here as well as human and natural challenges outside of Redwood Creek.
Coho salmon juvenile in a clear bag full of creek water for a better view
2019 Early Detection Newsletter Now Available
The 2019 issue of Early Detection News is now available. Brought to you by the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) Program, this newsletter has the latest on invasive plants in the Bay Area. In 2019, surveys took place between March and October at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, John Muir National Historic Site, and Pinnacles National Park.
Patch of tall grass next to a bear bin and fire pit at a campground.
Team Embarks on Third Year of Bat Monitoring in Marin County
The current biggest threat to Bay Area bats are habitat loss and disturbances to the places where they roost. As a result, researchers in Marin County are hoping to check which bat species are present, and learn more about their roosting habits and how they use local habitats. Such information could also help us understand how susceptible local bats are to White-nose Syndrome, and how best to protect them in the event that the fungal disease spreads to the Bay Area.
Pallid bat in a gloved hand
Southwest National Parks Climate Roundtable Webinar Recording Now Available
Following the publication of the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States (NCA4), the National Park Service began hosting a series of roundtable webinars to convey relevant findings to national parks. Each roundtable covers one of the 10 geographic regions defined in the report. This month, they hosted their seventh regional installment, the Southwest Parks NCA4 Roundtable.
Fourth National Climate Assessment: What Does it Mean for National Parks in the Southwest Region?
2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Return Looking Strong
During the winter months, coho and steelhead return from the ocean to their natal stream to spawn. Park biologists, partners, and volunteers survey these “spawners” to assess their success. Counts for both coho and steelhead were strong in Redwood and Olema Creeks. This year was also the last year of the Redwood Creek Captive Rearing Project, a multi-organizational collaborative effort to "jumpstart" our local coho population from the brink of extinction.
Biologist attaching a piece of blue tape to a creek-side tree branch as others look at a datasheet
Water Quality Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area
Freshwater quality affects people’s enjoyment of San Francisco Bay Area national park resources, and plays a direct role in the health of aquatic habitats. In 2006, the National Park Service began monitoring freshwater quality under a long-term monitoring plan developed for Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John Muir National Historic Site, Muir Woods National Monument, Pinnacles National Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore.
Rocky creek with flowing water.
Marin Spotted Owls Buffered From Barred Owl Invasion
Did you know that Marin County, CA, including Point Reyes National Seashore, could be essential refuges for the northern spotted owl subspecies in coming years? In forests farther north, the eastern barred owl has moved down the coast and invaded historic spotted owl territories.
Two northern spotted owls on a branch, a parent and a fledgling
Marin County Vegetation Map & Landscape Database Project Underway, With Plans to Expand
A broad coalition of Marin County land management agencies and other partners have joined forces to meet their common need for a fine-scale vegetation map and landscape database. The first phase of this project will create digital aerial photos at a resolution of six inches, and three-dimensional landscape imagery through LiDAR surveys.
LiDAR imagery of a segment of a Sonoma County river, highlighting flood risk areas
Second Year of Bat Surveys Underway in Marin County
The US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center, Point Reyes National Seashore, and One Tam partners are embarking on their second year of bat surveys in Marin County. The collaborative effort aims to shed light on local bat species diversity, distribution, roosting sites, and disease.
Gloved hand holding a hoary bat
Check Out the New San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network Website
The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network website is now fully updated! The new website features a modern look and feel, is fully accessible, mobile friendly, and makes it easier to find and share information.
Partial screenshot of a new webpage on the new San Francisco Bay Area Network website
Breeding Success for Recently Released Endangered Coho in Redwood Creek
Since January's coho salmon release in Redwood Creek, monitoring crews have been surveying the creek weekly to record the number and locations of coho salmon nesting sites, known as redds. They have found at least 35 coho redds that they believe were created by the released fish due to the presence of hatchery adults at or near the nesting site at the time of the observation.
Large fish in a net being lowered into a creek
Barred Owls in Marin County
Barred owls recently expanded into the forest communities of Marin County where they may be negatively impacting the federally threatened northern spotted owl. The barred owl is an eastern species that has expanded its range westward into the Pacific Northwest and more recently southward into California. During their annual northern spotted owl surveys, National Park Service biologists in Marin also record the presence of barred owls and other potential threats.
2017 Juvenile Coho Monitoring Done; Spawner Monitoring Begins With Some Surprises
The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring Network’s Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program has preliminary results from this year’s summer monitoring. Also, winter spawner monitoring is now underway. While the water is still too low for migrating fish on Olema and Redwood Creeks, partner groups have recorded some surprising salmon sightings on Lagunitas Creek.
Three people wearing waders, standing in a creek with nets and electrofishing gear
Spring 2017 Downstream Migrant Trapping Summary
The 2017 coho and steelhead smolt trapping season began in mid-March. Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program staff and volunteers constructed two traps on Redwood Creek and one trap on Olema Creek to help monitor the annual migration of the year-old fish out to sea. The primary Redwood Creek trap captured a total of 612 coho smolts, and 1,145 coho smolts were captured in the Olema Creek trap. Crews collected valuable data on each fish before sending them on their way.
Juvenile steelhead in a measuring tray
Winter 2016-2017 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary
Although Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program crews were unable to survey as often as in past winters due to many heavy storms, they observed more than double the number of coho redds (nests) on Redwood Creek compared to the winter of 2013-2014, when the previos generation of these fish spawned. The number of redds on Cheda Creek stayed the same, and lower than expected on Olema Creek.
Adult male coho swimming upstream
Frequently Asked Coho Salmon Questions
Visitors to Muir Woods National Monument may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of endangered coho salmon in Redwood Creek. Read on for the answers to several frequently asked questions about these fascinating fish.
Adult female coho salmon
NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Muir Woods National Monument, California
Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development]
sunlight on forest trail
First Phase of Salmon Habitat Enhancement Project Underway in Muir Woods
This month, a project began in Muir Woods that aims to address one of the biggest threats to the survival of endangered coho salmon in Redwood Creek: the lack of good stream habitat for young fish.
Biologists scooping fish out of a netted-off section of creek.
John Muir was one of the country’s most famous naturalist and conservationist and Muir Woods, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is named in his honor.
John Muir profile portrait
Northern Spotted Owl Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area
Federally threatened Northern Spotted Owls are vital indicators of forest health since their survival depends on the presence of diverse, robust evergreen forest ecosystems. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program and its partners began long-term monitoring of Northern Spotted Owls in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and other public lands in Marin County in 1999.
Female spotted owl perches on a branch
Third Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Release a Success
January 12th marked another milestone in the multi-agency effort to save Redwood Creek’s coho salmon. Staff and volunteers joined together to release 188 adult coho spawners, which had been captured in the stream as juveniles in 2015 and reared in the Don Clausen Fish Hatchery.
Coho being released from a net into Redwood Creek
Plant Community Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area
Plant communities create essential habitat for plants and animals. While several National Park Service projects have included limited forms of vegetation sampling for some time, a recently updated protocol guides comprehensive, long-term plant community monitoring.
Coastal dune vegetation on a hillside at Point Reyes National Seashore
Summer 2016 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary
Preliminary results from our juvenile coho basinwide surveys indicated a decrease in numbers on both Olema and Redwood Creeks when compared to the previous generation. The number of juvenile coho was also fewer than anticipated given the strong return of spawning coho seen during the winter of 2015-2016.
Large juvenile steelhead trout in a measuring tray during summer monitoring
2019 Spotted Owl Breeding Success Near Average
The northern spotted owl monitoring season is winding down, and the results are nearly final as biologists complete the season's surveys. Reproduction for this year was near the average with nineteen fledglings counted from twelve successful nests. One nest failed, and ten pairs of owls did not nest this season.
Fluffy white northern spotted owl fledgling peering down through the trees
Redwood Creek Salmon Habitat Enhancement Project
The Redwood Creek Salmon Habitat Enhancement Project as part of the Redwood Renewal effort, will remove a portion of the rock walls, or “riprap,” that line the creek banks upstream of Bridge 3, and use fallen trees from the forest floor to create fish habitat. Over time, the natural movement of water will finish the job of transforming Redwood Creek from its current hardened state to a more complex, natural, and healthy stream ecosystem.
Two Coho Salmon in Redwood Creek MUWO Photo by TIm Jordan NPS
Winter 2018-2019 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary
The 2018-2019 cohort on Olema has been the strongest cohort since monitoring began, and redd production this season is similar to what was documented three years ago. In comparison, redd abundance on Redwood Creek increased dramatically in 2018-2019 with the successful release of the hatchery-raised adults. Along with a healthy coho return, steelhead were seen in all four streams that were surveyed.
Two large fish lunging at each other at the surface of a creek
Summer 2018 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary
Preliminary results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate an increase in population on both Olema Creek and Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. However, both Olema and Redwood Creek juvenile estimates are lower than expected given the number of redds observed during the winter.
Volunteers with nets walk through a creek on either side of a biologist with an electrofisher
Coho Salmon & Steelhead Trout Monitoring in the San Francisco Bay Area
Federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout are large, charismatic fish that play crucial roles in both stream and ocean ecosystems. The National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program and its partners began monitoring coho and steelhead in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore in 1998.
NPS staff and volunteer measuring a coho salmon smolt
Summer 2017 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary
Preliminary results from juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys in the San Francisco Bay Area indicate a decrease in numbers on Olema Creek and an increase on Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. For an eight consecutive year, surveys found no coho juveniles in Pine Gulch Creek.
Fingers holding filter paper with a coho tissue sample on it
Captive Rearing of Redwood Creek Coho Salmon
Coho salmon in Marin County’s Redwood Creek are at critically low numbers, and are at risk of local extinction. To prevent permanent loss of the fish, a team of scientists and land managers are removing juvenile coho from Redwood Creek and rearing them to maturity.
Two male coho spawners interact as they swim upstream
Spring 2016 Downstream Migrant Trapping Summary
The 2016 coho smolt trapping season began in late March after some unusually strong late winter storms. Two traps were constructed on Redwood Creek and one trap was constructed on Olema Creek. In general, it was a mild spring and there were no major disruptions to smolt trapping operations from late-March through May. Coho smolt production increased on both Olema and Redwood Creeks when compared with the previous time this cohort was seen.
Group of volunteers constructing a smolt trap in Redwood Creek
Community Science Update: 2020 San Francisco Bay Area City Nature Challenge Recap
2020 looked a little different for the City Nature Challenge, an annual community science event. The event encourages urban areas around the world to turn out the greatest number of naturalists, make the most nature observations, and find the most species. In previous years, people have traveled to parks to find nature and make observations. But given local shelter-in-place restrictions, organizers decided on a different strategy.
Bee visiting a flower.
1982–1983 El Niño
As a result of this El Niño, heavy surf and rains severely eroded beaches and fragile sea cliffs in coastal California. National Park System units in California affected by the 1982–1983 El Niño event were Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Pinnacles National Monument.
map of lower 48 united states with color ramp to show temperature
Researchers Identify Winter Bat Roosts in Marin County
Since 2017, One Tam partners have been collaborating with USGS to conduct the first countywide bat monitoring program in Marin. One piece of the program is roost site monitoring, which begins with mist netting to catch bats. This past February, the monitoring team spent seven nights mist netting at Cascade Canyon and near Lake Lagunitas on Marin Municipal Water District land.
Person in the forest holding up an electronic device over his head.
Coast Redwoods v. Climate Change
Climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions has already begun to take a toll on trees in California. In fact, it is tied to a doubling of tree mortality in the Western US from 1955 to 2007 via increasing droughts, wildfires, and insect infestations. But what might climate change mean for California's iconic coast redwood trees?
Grove of coast redwoods.
Could Juvenile Coho Conquer Warmer Stream Temperatures?
It was long ago established that elevated water temperatures are not great for juvenile coho salmon growth and survival. But climate change is making it increasingly difficult to ensure cool creeks for young coho. Thus, researchers at tUC Davis and NOAA wondered: are there other aspects of coho rearing habitat that, if optimal, might mitigate the impacts of warmer water temperatures? In their recently published study, they find that prey abundance is key.
Cluster of netted enclusures along a wide creek, with a mountain in the background.
Coho Spawners Come Up Short in 2019-2020, but Steelhead Return Looking Strong
Recent surveys revealed the coho run has ended for our coastal Marin streams. Overall, coho spawning numbers were lower than anticipated, even with beneficial December rainfall. Surveys will continue through April to document steelhead spawning.
Three people hike along the rocky banks of a creek wearing waders and carrying measuring poles
2019 Juvenile Coho Population Smaller Than Expected
Summer juvenile salmonid monitoring has revealed that the juvenile coho population was smaller than expected on both Olema and Redwood Creeks given the substantial spawning activity seen during the winter of 2018-2019. Possible reasons for lower survival rates include the major storm events that occured in February of 2019.
Close-up of a juvenile coho salmon
Marin Vegetation Mapping Project Reaches New Milestone
A draft “Lifeform Map” is now available for Marin County. It represents the latest milestone in the Marin Countywide Fine Scale Vegetation Map and Landscape Database Project, co-led by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in collaboration with a broad coalition of agencies and partners.
Map of Drakes Estero showing many different colors, each representing different land cover classes.
Summer 2019 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary
Preliminary results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate a decrease in the population on both Olema Creek and Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. In addition, juvenile coho estimates were lower than expected for both streams given the number of redds observed during the winter. Meanwhile, summer 2019 juvenile steelhead totals were the highest since surveys were initiated in 2009.
Sculpin in a measuring tray showing that it is more than 8 inches long.
Slow Start to 2019-2020 Coho Spawning Season
This year, after a dry fall, the first rains arrived during the last week of November, and rain continued to fall in December. With flows on both Olema and Redwood Creeks high enough for adult coho to migrate in from the ocean, the Salmonid Monitoring Program began spawner surveys to count how many coho are returning. As of December 19, the monitoring team had counted one redd in Redwood Creek and two redds in Olema Creek.
Coho redd, appearing as a shallow, lighter-colored depression in a creek bed.
2020 AAM MUSE Award Winner
Harpers Ferry Center (HFC) in partnership with the University of Hawaii (UH) has been awarded a Gold place in the category of Research & Innovation in the prestigious 2020 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) MUSE awards.
A woman with shoulder length brown hair wearing a pink sweater holds a device up to hear ear
Pacific Border Province
The Pacific Border straddles the boundaries between several of Earth's moving plates on the western margin of North America. This region is one of the most geologically young and tectonically active in North America. The generally rugged, mountainous landscape of this province provides evidence of ongoing mountain-building.
Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore. NPS photo/Sarah Codde
Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project Hits Major Milestone
Starting in 2014, One Tam partners joined the international Wildlife Picture Index Project (WPI) with an array of cameras on NPS, Marin Municipal Water District, and state and county park lands across the Lagunitas Creek Watershed.
Wildlife camera image of a baby gray fox climbing up a steep slope.
The United Nations Memorial Service at Muir Woods
San Francisco played an important role as host to the birth of the United Nations. The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.
historic photo of women and men sitting formally in a redwood grove
Civilian Conservation Corps Work at Muir Woods
During the 1930s, Civilian Conservation Corp workers shaped and enhanced the natural environment and visitor facilities at Muir Woods.
CCC crews at work building stone revetments in Redwood Creek
Winter 2019-2020 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary
By the second week of December, conditions were ideal for coho spawning. However, spawner surveys conducted during the first two weeks of December revealed only one coho salmon redd in both Olema and Redwood Creeks and no coho activity in Cheda Creek. By the end of December, it became apparent that the coho runs in coastal Marin County would be weak, and that survival between the smolt and spawner life stages for these cohorts was very low.
People in waders hike up the center of a swiftly flowing creek carying backpacks and wading poles.
How Women Saved Muir Woods
The women of San Francisco have so willed. They will preserve the grove. They want to create a park In the picturesque canyon that shall particularly be for the edification of the people of this city” - Marin Journal, December 1st 1904
four white women in front of old car with sign
The Kent Family and Conservation
The Kents are complex historical figures. They are associated with the conservationist movement, yet they were also involved in politics. William served in Congress and fought to exclude Chinese and Japanese immigrants from this country, while Elizabeth Kent participated in the women’s suffrage movement.
John Muir and William Kent pose
Mist Netting, Radio Telemetry, and Acoustic Monitoring: What We’re Learning About Bats in Marin
Since 2017, One Tam partners have been collaborating with USGS to conduct the first countywide bat monitoring program in Marin. This October, we dove in to the results from last winter's roost site monitoring, and discussed the implications of what park researchers have learned from three years of bat monitoring.
Researcher smiles while holding a bat with gloved hands.
Summer 2020 Juvenile Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Summary
Results from our juvenile coho salmon basinwide surveys indicate a slight increase for the Olema Creek population and decrease for Redwood Creek when compared to the previous generation. Juvenile estimates were lower than expected for Redwood Creek and slightly higher than expected for Olema Creek given the number of redds observed during the last winter.
Person in a wetsuit snorkeling in a shallow creek.
Ohlones and Coast Miwoks
Native Americans have called the San Francisco Bay region home for over 10,000 years. Park areas south of the Golden Gate, from the San Francisco Peninsula, to the East Bay and south to Monterey, are the aboriginal lands of the Ohlones (also called Costanoans).
drawing of ohlone looking at the bay
National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate.
Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map
2020 Coho Salmon Spawning Season Off to a Dry Start
After a dry year marked by wildfire, the coho salmon spawning season is off to a similarly dry beginning. As of the end of November, the salmonid monitoring team had not spotted any coho salmon in Redwood and Olema Creeks. Fortunately, it is still early in the spawning season.
A large greenish-brown fish with black spots swims over a rocky streambed.
Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas
The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.
park scene mountains
Series: Coastal Geomorphology—Storms of Record
Storms can bring about significant coastal change as well as substantial economic damage and loss in the human environment. Read about a few storms of interest that have since made history due to their unique intensity, characteristics, or impacts.
aerial view of a major storm along the northwest coast of the united states and canada
Series: Physiographic Provinces
Descriptions of the physiographic provinces of the United States, including maps, educational material, and listings of Parks for each.
George B. Dorr, founder of Acadia National Park
Coho Salmon: Habitat and Climate Matter
Endangered coho salmon in coastal streams within the Golden Gate National Recreational Area and Point Reyes National Seashore may be on the verge of disappearing from these sites. These populations are affected by what happens in both their stream and ocean habitats.
Aerial view of the Giacomini wetland and Lagunitas Creek mouth after restoration efforts
Zeroing In On Spawner Surveys
Just before Thanksgiving, the fisheries crew with the San Francisco Bay Area Network Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Program conducted “Zero Count Surveys” along the lower sections of Redwood and Olema Creek. Zero counts are spawner surveys that occur before winter flows permit fish passage throughout a creek.
A lagoon surrounded by vegetation
First Redds and Fish: 2021 Salmonid Spawner Season
It's been a slow salmonid spawner season in San Francisco Bay Area I&M Network parks with the first coho redds and fish observed in January. Stream flows have been low, but there's hope for a few more spawners to enter the system with several storm events in the forecast.
A spawner salmon tail poking out from under a log in a stream
Connecting the Dots: Muir Woods Hidden Figures
The history of how many significant moments at Muir Woods were influenced by a network of influential women and LGBTQ+ leaders. Learn about the conditions of the time period and how Pauli Murray, Jane Addams, Frances Perkins, and others effected change.
Collage of redwoods and foliage, portraits of six women are featured
Scientist Profile: Alex Iwaki, Hydrology Monitor
"While I was in college, I didn't want to go back home for the summer to work at the local grocery. I applied for a bunch of environmental internships and got a fisheries internship in Colorado. I had no prior experience or any interest in fish, but I thought 'why not?' I went out there, learned a lot, and had an amazing time. After the fisheries internship, I knew I wanted to continue to work in natural sciences."
Scientists Discover Silent Threats to Pacific Coast Salmon Populations
For decades, coho salmon returning to spawn in urban Pacific Northwest streams have been mysteriously dying in the aftermath of large storms. Now, after a painstaking search for answers, a team of scientists have found the culprit: a previously undescribed chemical nicknamed 6PPD-quinone. Meanwhile, scientists in California’s Central Valley noticed odd behavior and high mortality among juvenile Chinook salmon in multiple hatcheries just last winter.
Listening for Owls: A Multi-agency Collaboration to Preserve Spotted Owl Habitat Across the West
For over 25 years, biologists from the National Park Service and several other agencies have collected spotted owl monitoring data to inform forest management that is guided by the multi-agency Northwest Forest Plan. Yet traditional field surveys for spotted owls have become less effective as their numbers have dwindled. Thus in 2021, the Northwest Forest Plan’s spotted owl monitoring design is transitioning to remote acoustic monitoring (also known as passive monitoring).
Audio recording unit, with microphones on either side, mounted on a tree trunk.
Wrapping Up Coho Spawner Season
The 2020-2021 coho salmon spawning season has come to an end in the San Francisco Bay Area parks. Unfortunately it is likely one of the worst seasons on record for Redwood Creek with no live coho observed and only one steelhead carcass. With the spawning season over, the salmonid team will transition to smolt trapping operations.
A close up of fish tail
Biologists Begin Acoustic Monitoring to Study Spotted and Barred Owls
National Park Service biologists have been tracking federally threatened northern spotted owls in the forests of Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area for decades. But this February, biologists began to supplement traditional surveys with a new method: remote acoustic monitoring. Biologists also received a grant to use acoustic monitoring to conduct the first comprehensive inventory of invasive barred owls on park lands.
Map of northern Marin County, CA, with a haxagonal grid overlayed on the study area.
For This Week, A More Personal Note on Education in Watersheds
Hi, my name is Dustin Geisen and I am part of the San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew. I serve in the California Conservation Corps Watershed Stewards Program in partnership with AmeriCorps (WSP). Today, I am excited to share about a specific part of my service that I started this week: teaching for a WSP education series called Wonders of Watersheds (WOW!).
Dustin Geisen in waters and a safety vest, knee-deep in a brisk creek collecting a water sample.
Funding Granted for Much-needed Monarch Conservation Efforts in Marin County
Working within the structure of the One Tamalpais Collaborative, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy received $400,000 in funding through the California Wildlife Conservation Board’s pollinator rescue program to invest in protection of monarch butterflies in Marin County.
Close up photo of an adult monarch butterfly perched on green vegetation.
The 2021 smolt trapping season has begun
With the onset of spring, the San Francisco Bay Area Inventory and Monitoring (SFAN) fisheries crew has moved to a new form of monitoring: smolt trapping. Data gathered from the traps can help to estimate ocean survival and productivity and assess rates of survival through the winter season.
A wide mouthed funnel attached to a pvc pipe leads to a wooden box in a stream bed.
From the Field: Winter 2021 Low Rainfall Impacting Salmonid Populations
In this salmonid monitoring field update, learn how a historically low rainfall for Winter/Spring 2021 is affecting coho salmon and steelhead trout monitoring results.
Photo of stream channel linking the lagoon and the ocean at Muir Beach, near Redwood Creek
Top Ten Tips for Visiting Muir Woods
Top Ten Tips for visiting Muir Woods
Hikers looking at a trail map at Muir Woods National Monument
Low Stream Flows Cause Smolt Trapping to End Early
For the first time in the Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program’s history, the monitoring crew had to stop outmigrant coho salmon smolt trapping early due to low flows. They removed the traps from both Olema and Redwood Creeks. This is just one of many indicators showing how severe the drought is this year.
Damp creek bed where water should be flowing at the entrance to the Olema Creek smolt trap.
One Tam is Excited to Announce the Return of the Tamalpais Bee Lab in 2021!
In collaboration with Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn and her lab at San Francisco State University, One Tam is continuing our efforts to monitor and understand more about Mount Tamalpais’ wild bees and other pollinators. Building on the initial 2017 survey of Mt. Tam’s wild bees, we’ll be expanding monitoring to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin Water, California State Parks, and Marin County Parks from 2021-2025.
Close-up of a black & yellow bee dusted with yellow pollen inside a bright orange & yellow flower.
Marin County Fine Scale Vegetation Map Complete
Since 2018, a broad partnership co-led by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy has been working towards creating a fine scale vegetation map of Marin County. After collecting high resolution aerial imagery, LiDAR, and on-the-ground data, they released a draft “Lifeform Map” last year with 22 vegetation classes. This June, they finalized that map and completed it’s fine scale counterpart!
Brightly colored map of southern Marin County, California.
Into the Canopy - The 2014 Muir Woods BioBlitz
In 2014 scientists led a BioBlitz at Muir Woods National Monument. This historic study was the first time scientists had climbed the old growth trees at Muir Woods. The scientists found an entirely different ecosystem as they entered the redwood forest canopy.
Scientists climb a redwood tree at Muir Woods National Monument
Juvenile Salmon Summer Monitoring: Electrofishing Surveys in Redwood Creek
The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network salmon team is continuing their summer juvenile salmon surveys and are currently performing electrofishing surveys throughout Redwood Creek in Marin County, CA. Electrofishing is a common technique in fisheries biology for sampling fish populations and determining species health, abundance, and density.
Three staff members stand in a creek with one holding a long rod with a metal ring in the water.
Second Round of Invasive Plant Surveys on Mount Tam Yields Few New Priority Weed Populations
Brushing and flossing every day isn’t a glamorous task. But if you don’t do it, you risk serious dental health issues. So it is with Invasive plant surveys. They aren’t flashy, but the health of ecosystems depends on them. On Mount Tamalpais, invasive plant surveys are coordinated by the One Tam Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program. In mid-June, the EDRR program finished a second cycle of early detection surveys along Mt. Tam’s road and trail network.
Two people use a long torch to burn an invasive plant on a grassy ridge overlooking the ocean.
San Francisco Bay Area Network 2019 Long-term Monitoring Updates
The San Francisco Bay Area Inventory & Monitoring Network has created a new product for sharing our science with the Bay Area parks community: an immersive, multimedia StoryMap! Discover key highlights from the 2019 monitoring season along with striking photos, interactive maps, annotated graphs, audio recordings, and more.
Person sitting among ferns beside an enormous tree, recording owl data.
How Will Climate Change Impact Muir Woods?
The impacts related to climate change are evident throughout the redwood forests of California. At Muir Woods, climate change has resulted in a significant impacts on the iconic trees, wildlife, and annual precipitation.
Redwood Creek at Muir Woods
Migration: How Birds React to Climate Change Paints a Picture for People
Birds are sensitive to environmental changes around them. They also are easy to identify and count, so there’s a wealth of data about where they live and their abundance. For this reason, scientists and park staff can focus on shifts in bird populations as a way to monitor the changing ecosystem.
Spotted owl perched on a redwood tree branch
As Drought Continues, Young Coho and Steelhead in Redwood Creek Need a Helping Hand
This summer continues to be a challenge for the San Francisco Bay Area Network Fisheries Team and the aquatic life that inhabit our coastal streams. During our summer habitat monitoring, we found several drying pools in lower Redwood Creek in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. We also noted fish displaying signs of distress like rising to the surface for air. Our team is working closely with park managers and regulatory agencies to help save these young coho and steelhead.
An aerator pumps air into a small pool a fisheries crew prepares to rescue the pool's fish.
Winter 2020-2021 Coho and Steelhead Spawner Survey Summary
Due to drier than normal conditions, the 2020-2021 spawners needed a very wet start to the spawning season to access their creeks. That did not occur. The Olema Valley Rain Gauge only recorded 2.37 inches of rain in November. This was okay, but not enough to get the spawning season underway. To our dismay, storm after storm went by with only small amounts of rain each time. Finally, the creeks rose enough at the end of December to allow some coho to migrate upstream.
Rear half of an adult salmonid decaying on a rocky streambed.
Fog, Redwoods and a Changing Climate
Explore the ways in which climate change will impact life at Muir Woods National Monument and people around the world with the changing availability of water.
Light pours through thick fog in a redwood forest.
Fire & Redwoods—What Does the Future Hold for this Ancient Species?
Coast redwood trees’ evolutionary adaptation to fire–sprouting–means they can survive. What does this mean in the age of climate change and mega-fires?
Redwood sprouts from a tree after a fire.
A Climate Resilient Future for Muir Woods
Solutions to building a climate resilient redwood forest.
A couple hiking on the Main Trail at Muir Woods.
Marin Bat Project Resumes Radio Telemetry After Covid-19 Hiatus; Continues Acoustic Monitoring
After a long hiatus due to concerns of the unknown risk of transferring COVID-19 from humans to bats, the Marin Bat Monitoring Project team was finally able to safely resume the bat-handling portion of our research this summer.
White gloved hands hold a small, furry bat.
Kings Ride the Atmospheric River into Unexpected Places
On Sunday, October 24th, 2021 a highly anticipated atmospheric river swept through the Bay Area, dumping over a foot of rain on Mount Tamalpais. Besides inciting disbelief in drought-accustomed Californians, this weather event has had very new and interesting impacts on anadromous salmonids (salmon, trout, and their relatives that split their lives between freshwater and ocean environments).
Chinook salmon swimming side-by-side, spawning.
Kings Continue to Make a Splash in Bay Area Streams
This year Redwood Creek, Olema Creek, and Pine Gulch are all playing host to adult Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon due to their impressive size, for the first time in monitoring history. To date, our San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew has recorded over 80 Chinook across the creeks we monitor! For comparison, the highest historic number of adult Chinook for Lagunitas Creek, the nearest creek with a frequent spawning run, was 65 in winter 2018-2019.
Two people kneeling on either side of a large, light-colored salmon carcass.
Team Leads Successful Search for Invasive Thoroughwort on Mount Tamalpais
Keeping invasive plants at bay is a powerful way to help native plants and wildlife flourish. But that’s no easy task when you aren’t quite sure where they are; first, you have to find them. The One Tam Conservation Management Team recently set out to do just that to help land managers keep one particular species of concern off of upper Mount Tamalpais: thoroughwort (<em>Ageratina adenophora</em>).
Person heading down a steep, grassy slope into a narrow gully.
Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks
Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios.
Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background
December 2021 Rainfall Guides Coho Salmon Up West Marin Creeks
Almost three weeks of near-constant rainfall in December provided ideal conditions for spawning coho salmon. However, the survey conditions for our San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew were less than ideal. High flows prevented us from performing regular weekly surveys. The water also remains quite murky, which makes it harder to spot fish and redds (fish nests). Despite the low visibility, our surveys and the salmon have carried on.
Large fish, greenish above and red below, swimming over a depression in a creek bed.
Biologists Brave Cold Waters to Count Juvenile Salmon
With the coho spawner season over, our San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew shifted focus to a different generation of salmonids in Redwood Creek. Deep pools and sheltered banks below the creek’s surface are home to juvenile coho salmon and steelhead trout. Crew members braved the cold and plunged into the 47°F water to conduct snorkel surveys and assess winter habitat use by these populations.
A snorkeler in shallow water illuminates the creek bed before him with a flashlight.
Women in Landscape-Scale Conservation: Alison Forrestel
As co-lead of the Golden Gate Biosphere Network, Alison Forrestel has helped create momentum for the biosphere network that is actively fundraising and assessing the network for climate change vulnerabilities.
closeup of woman in park ranger uniform.
In Bay Area National Park Creeks, Fish Must Race to Beat the Drought
This has been a highly productive spawner season for the salmon in the Olema and Redwood Creek watersheds. The San Francisco Bay Area Network coho and steelhead monitoring crew spotted over 140 Chinook, coho, and steelhead redds (nests) in these creeks since November. These encouraging numbers are largely due to the heavy rainfall the Bay Area received in late fall and early winter. However, two months without significant rain has sounded some alarms for our coastal streams.
Tiny fish with comparatively large eyes swimming in a crevice between two rocks.
Challenging The Ranger Image
In spite of programs to encourage hiring of individuals with disabilities, it was often others’ misconceptions or discomfort that prevented women with disabilities from getting National Park Service (NPS) jobs. Those hired in the 1970s and early 1980s brought diverse skillsets and new perspectives to the workforce. Like the earliest women rangers in the 1910s and 1920s, they often only had short-term positions. They all challenged ideas of what it takes to be a park ranger.
Ranger Vicky White in a wheelchair with a visitor and man in military dress.
Meet the Watershed Stewards Program
A partnership between the California Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps, and California Volunteers, the Watershed Stewards Program (WSP) is dedicated to improving watershed health. Since 1994, WSP has partnered Corpsmembers with placement sites at the local, state, and federal level throughout the state of California. And since 2012, the San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew at Point Reyes National Seashore has been one of the sites hosting Corpsmembers.
Two young people standing in waders in the middle of a rushing creek beneath towering trees.
Native Conservation Corps
Learn about a program for Native American youth to engage in conservation work in national parks and extend their experiences into their communities. Native Conservation Corps members become dual ambassadors between the National Park Service and Native American tribes.
Staff Spotlight: Rebecca Au and Jackson Lam
Meet Rebecca Au and Jackson Lam!
Becca and Jackson at Muir Woods on Earth Day 2022
2022 Smolt Trap Recap
Each spring, young salmonids enter their smolt life stage and begin migrating downstream towards the ocean. The San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew maintains downstream migrant traps, or smolt traps, on Olema and Redwood Creeks to study them. In the 12 weeks that our smolt traps were operating, our crew captured over 1,700 salmonid smolts. Coho salmon made up the majority of our smolt numbers, but Chinook and steelhead salmon were also found on both creeks.
Hand scooping a silvery fish with large eyes and dark fin tips out of a net.
Fisheries Crew Launches Pilot Study on Salmon Interactions in West Marin Creeks
In May, the San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew launched a pilot study to look at the interactions between Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout in Olema and Redwood Creeks. With this data, they will seek to determine if juvenile Chinook, which have never been observed rearing in Olema and Redwood Creeks prior to this year, interact with coho and steelhead. If so, they'll aim to describe the interactions between the species.
Chinook salmon fry swimming in a pool. Its shadow can be seen on the creek bed beneath it.
King Salmon’s Surprise Reign in Muir Woods
A record-breaking storm drew dozens of huge, spawning fish into a small creek at the heart of Muir Woods. They unleashed a flood of questions.
Man in NPS uniform on side of stream holding a fish to take a tissue sample
Marin County Northern Spotted Owl Population Remains Stable in 2022
Each spring, National Park Service staff monitor northern spotted owl breeding activity in national and state parks in Marin County. With the 2022 breeding season now almost over, we’ve found that the local population appears stable. Marin remains the only part of the owl's historic range, which stretches north to Canada, where the population is not in severe decline.
Fluffy white spotted owl fledgling being observed by an out-of-focus biologist in the foreground.
Muir Woods Proclamation
To protect the area from logging and development, William and Elizabeth Kent purchased Redwood Canyon in 1903. It was a financial risk for them at the time. Learn the story of how that land became the Muir Woods we know today. Read President Theodore Roosevelt words proclaiming the famous forest by the Bay a National Park.
William Kent and Gilford Pinchot pose in front of redwoods trees, and large stone.
July 2022 Botany Newsletter Now Available
Botany News is back with it's second issue of the season! One top takeaway is that the Invasive Species Early Detection (ISED) team is seeking volunteers for year-round invasive species surveys. Field days involve up to five miles of walking on easy to moderate trails, oftentime less. At least a general knowledge of invasive species of the Bay Area is preferred, and data collection training will be provided.
Person in hiking gear on a trail, leaning down to take a photo with a cell phone camera.
Botany News – August 2022
Internship projects, invasive species early detection surveys across Golden Gate, and plant community surveys in squishy salt marshes and dense Douglas-fir forests are among the features in this August issue of Botany News. You'll also find info on two high priority invasive plants to look out for, parrot's feather and old man's beard, and a native species spotlight on the beautiful, sturdy, and ecologically and ethnobotanically significant blueblossum ceanothus.
Cluster of small light bluish-purple flowers at the tip of a branch covered in glossy green leaves.
Celebrating a Successful 2022 National Public Lands Day
Celebrating a successful National Public Lands Day with the highlight of three National Park Service volunteer events held on September 24, 2022. Volunteers at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Catoctin Mountain Park, and Muir Woods National Monument gathered to celebrate the nation's largest single-day volunteer event for public lands.
An infographic with photos of the word NPLD.
Meet the 2022-2023 Watershed Stewards & Summer Basinwide Surveys Conclude
The San Francisco Bay Area Network coho and steelhead monitoring crew is excited to welcome the 2022-2023 Watershed Stewards Program Corpsmembers! Elizabeth Bear and Catherine Masatani will work at Point Reyes and Golden Gate until August 2023, aiding in salmon population recovery on Olema, Redwood, and Pine Gulch creeks. The first task as incoming Corpsmembers is reviewing summer basinwide habitat typing data and making sure everything lines up.
Underwater view of a large creek pool filled with hundreds of small fish.
Marin Bat Monitoring Team Starts Using Motus Tracking System to Study Migratory Species
Through acoustic monitoring, winter mist netting, and summer radio telemetry, researchers have started to describe Bay Area bats’ habitat preferences, roosting sites, and more. But there’s a whole other black hole of bat knowledge that they’re just now beginning to peer into: bat migrations. This fall, the team started leveraging an automated wildlife tracking system for the first time to better understand bats’ journeys as they migrate through—and beyond—local parks.
Cute bat with silver-tipped fur and its tongue sticking out, held in a scientist’s gloved hands.
Tales from a Summer Night of Bat Research by Redwood Creek
On one memorable nighttime visit to Redwood Creek in Muir Woods, I met with several National Park Service and US Geological Survey biologists to learn about and photograph their bat research. Turns out it’s a good place to catch bats that like to hunt along the creek for mosquitos, flies, and beetles. In the last few moments of sunlight, we set up four mist nets (loose, nearly invisible mesh nets) over different parts of the creek and crossed our fingers.
Tiny bat, gently held between a biologist's thumb and fingers as the they collect a swab sample.
Series: Climate Change at Muir Woods
What does a changing climate mean for Muir Woods? How will redwoods adapt and become climate resilient? A new report found that climate change may threaten the redwood trees of Muir Woods. Find out how climate change is impacting Muir Woods and learn ways you can become a part of the solution.
A dry Redwood Creek next to the Main Trail at Muir Woods National Monument.
Runs and Rainfall: When Will the 2022-2023 Spawner Season Begin?
With winter fast approaching, the rain that marks the beginning of spawning season has just arrived. Without rainfall, the adult coho salmon native to Olema and Redwood Creeks wouldn’t be able to migrate upstream to their spawning grounds. It is truly a special time, as coho salmon are completing their three-year life cycle while attempting to produce the next generation of fish.
At least three large fish with red sides swimming against the current of a briskly flowing creek.
Historic Rainfall Surges Bay Area Creeks, but Where are the Salmon?
‘Atmospheric rivers’ and ‘bomb cyclones’ have occupied headlines these past few weeks as significant storms have battered the area, bringing historic rainfall amounts and causing our local creeks to surge. But what exactly do these meteorological terms mean? And what do surging creeks mean for the Coho & Steelhead Monitoring Team and the spawning coho salmon we are trying to monitor?
Hand holding a partial coho salmon carcass--a piece of a head--over a flowing creek.
Coho Salmon's Upstream Battle Against Climate Change
A coho salmon valiantly pushes against the current of Olema Creek as winter settles in West Marin. She is lucky. At every stage in a salmon’s life cycle, they face perilous challenges and high mortality rates. This has always been true – predators have been around as long as the salmon have, after all – but conditions are growing increasingly challenging because of human disturbances, including manipulation of the environment and anthropogenic climate change.
Large, olive-colored fish with small black spots, swimming over a rocky creek bed.
Series: Using Science to Preserve the Past
Conserving our nation’s rich cultural heritage – the stories, places, traditions, and artifacts that make up the fabric of our shared history – is an important part of the NPS mission. Throughout the Pacific West Region, park archeologists and paleontologists, museum curators, historic preservationists, and more are using scientific practices to better steward the cultural resources they protect. Explore these articles to learn more about their work.
Museum object of cat-like nimravid skull with large incisors
Spotted: Chinook Spawning in Redwood Creek Once Again
During last year’s spawning season, 2021-2022, the San Francisco Bay Area Network fisheries crew observed an unusual event: Chinook—or king—salmon migrating into Redwood Creek to complete their life cycle and spawn. Now, for the second year in a row, we observed a female Chinook on her redd, or nest, in Redwood Creek.
Large fish swimming against the current of a clear, shallow, gravelly creek.
50 Nifty Finds #15: The Art of Politics
Political cartoons have long been a way for artists and their editors to bring attention to important social issues or political corruption and to support meaningful causes. The NPS History Collection includes drawings by some of the most influential cartoonists from the 1920s to the 1950s. Their support publicized the National Park Service (NPS) while helping build political support to protect park resources from commercial interests.
Cartoon of a foot labeled
One Tam Weed Program Spreads Across California
Perhaps the last thing a weed cares about is where one property ends and another begins. As part of their efforts to collaboratively care for Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, the five One Tam partners—National Park Service, California State Parks, Marin Water, Marin County Parks, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy—teamed up to create an Early Detection Rapid Response program to manage weeds across boundaries. Now, the successful program is spreading across California.
Person talking and gesturing across a hilly, sunny landscape as others look on.
Botany News – Winter 2022-2023
Meet GIS Intern Shea Nolan, get a peek at post-field season indoor botany, and test your invasive species ID skills in this fall-winter issue. Also catch invasive species profiles of two grassland troublemakers, <em>Bromus tectorum</em> and <em>Rytidosperma penicillatum</em>, and a native species profile on the charming redwood forest floor groundcover <em>Oxalis oregana</em>.
Microscope view of yellowed grass spikelets with long, needle-like awns.
Almost a Wrap: Observations from the 2022-2023 Coho & Steelhead Spawner Seasons
As winter transitions into spring, the 2022-2023 coho spawning season is coming to an end. Steelhead are still moving into our coastal Marin streams, but the San Francisco Bay Area Network coho and steelhead monitoring crew have not seen signs of coho since January. It’s been a season of minimal coho salmon observations: no live fish seen, only a few carcass parts collected, and a couple redds counted.
Two people walk along a stream bank beneath towering redwoods.
Extreme Home Makeover: Salmon Habitat Project Yielding Impressive Results
Three years after implementing Phase 1 of Muir Woods’ salmon habitat enhancement project upstream of Bridge 3, Redwood Creek’s ability to support coho juveniles has vastly improved. Water Year (WY; from October to September) 2021-2022’s annual monitoring report showed increased winter habitat density, more natural sediment deposition, and changes in woody debris placements that led to habitat improvements.
Person in a wetsuit snorkeling along the bank of a creek near a large buildup of woody debris.
Scientist Profile: Rachel Townsend, Wildlife Biologist
“I'm originally from Iowa, born and raised. I guess I’ve been out in nature since I was a little kid. My dad was a hunter and fisherman. In the winter times he would take me out along the Mississippi River, and we'd be eagle watching—watching them catch fish in the ice. And [we’d go] canoeing and were always going to science museums. I was a pretty high energy kid and so I think part of it was probably trying to get me outdoors, going crazy with me inside."
Rachel gently stretching a nearly-invisible black net across a creek bed.