Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

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Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Address:One Bear Valley Rd
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Phone:415-663-0314
Fax:415-663-0315
Web: cordellbank.noaa.gov
Location:Rises from the sea floor about 52 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge and at the edge of the continental shelf, just outside of San Francisco, California.
Activities:Whale watching cruises, bird watching, fishing, and nature excursions.
Special Features:Forty-seven species of seabirds have been identified and 26 species of marine mammals have been observed in sanctuary waters. It is one of the most important feeding grounds in the world for the endangered blue and humpback whales, which travel from their breeding areas in Mexico and Central America to feed on the abundant krill and schooling fish that aggregate near the bank. The sanctuary is known as the "albatross capital of the northern hemisphere," as five of the fourteen albatross species have been documented here. Description:Description: The Sanctuary encompasses 526 square miles of Pacific Ocean waters surrounding and including Cordell Bank. The Bank consists of a series of steep-sided ridges and narrow pinnacles resting on a plateau and lies in the middle of the California Current upwelling system, one of five major upwelling areas in the world. The waters depth around most of Cordell Bank is 200 feet, and along a few of its ridges and pinnacles this submerged island rises to within 120 feet of the ocean's surface. Cordell Bank is approximately 9.5 miles long and 4.5 miles wide. Waters are 6,000 feet deep to the west of the bank and about 300-400 feet deep to the east. Common Species: Dall's porpoise, shearwater, and the following engangered species: humpback whale, stellar sea lion, brown pelican, blue whale, and the short-tailed albatross. Environmental Issues: Protecting the upwelling region from commercial and recreational fishing. Habitats: Open ocean, rocky subtidal areas, and soft sediment continental shelf and slope. Access: This Sanctuary is one of the least accessible due to the depth of waters, strong currents, and its distance from the mainland. Access is only available by way of boat.
Year Designated: 1989.

See other parks in California.
References in periodicals archive ?
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the Oceanic Society has added trips to adjacent Cordell Bank to their regular summer cruises.
However, "since tine 1940s, sport clam diggers have been venturing to the sandbars at low tide to dig clams," says Dan Howard, assistant manager at 526-square-mile Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, 60 miles northwest of San Francisco: Studies document an elevated seal mortality rate, mainly because scared mother seals become separated from their pups in the presence of the diggers.
The marine waters surrounding Cordell Bank, off Point Reyes, Calif., were designated as a national marine sanctuary, placing the area under the protection and management of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), by that agency in May 1989.
Cordell Bank, which lies on an underwater plateau 300-400 feet below the surface, consists of a series of steepsided ridges and narrow pinnacles rising from the edge of the continental shelf to within about 115 feet of the surface.
Schmieder was studying a nautical chart of california waters when he noticed the Cordell Bank, a shallow rise 50 miles northwest of San Francisco.
"As scientists, it was pretty obvious that we had to go there and explore," says Schmieder, now head of Cordell Bank Expeditions, based in Walnut Creek, Calif.
And now, as a result of Schmieder's expeditions, Cordell Bank is on its way to being formally designated a national marine sanctuary by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Because Cordell Bank lies much closer to the ocean surface -- 120 feet at its highest peaks -- than most of the EEZ, the resolution of swath data for the bank is among the highest achieved in NOAA's program.
Ironically, the Cordell Bank, with its exceptionally high-resolution swath data, has the added distinction of being one of two tiny spots in the 3.9 billion acres of the EEZ that have escaped classification.
In the end, the Navy decided to release the Cordell Bank data because of the bank's small size and its biological importance.
(The ship was named, coincidentally, for George Davidson, who first discovered Cordell Bank in 1853.) Because NOAA is charged with making nautical charts over large areas, it normally filters out a lot of the fine details in its routine data processing.