Point Reyes National Seashore Creeks land use and habitat


Point Reyes has been recognized as an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society. The extensive saltmarsh and mudflats of Drake’s Estero provide habitat for many migrating and wintering waterbirds.

Species that live here

  • Over 45% of North American bird species
  • 20% of the State’s flowering plants
  • 37 native land mammals
  • A dozen marine mammals have been identified on the peninsula

Coastal habitats

  • Estuaries
  • Mud flats
  • Sandy shores
  • Intertidal communities

Upland habitats

  • Coastal scrub
  • Riparian woodland
  • Douglas fir forest
  • Bishop pine forest
  • Grasslands


The Point Reyes Peninsula is home to numerous rare, threatened and endangered animals.


  • Point Reyes mountain beaver (which are found nowhere else)
  • Point Reyes jumping mouse
  • Bats
  • Whales


  • California freshwater shrimp
  • Myrtle’s silverspot
  • Point Reyes blue butterfly
  • San Francisco forktail damselfly


Steelhead trout have been documented in Alamere Creek near the southern portion of the peninsula.

Tule elk

Point Reyes has one of the largest populations of tule elk in the state.  Large herds of elk thrived throughout the grasslands of central and coastal California 200 years ago,  but they were over-hunted and disappeared from the Point Reyes peninsula by the 1860s.

In 1978, a small herd of 10 animals was reintroduced to PRNS. Today, there are several hundred elk in two separate herds:

  • Tomales Point has the largest herd
  • Limantour wilderness area has a much smaller herd

Land use

Changes to the watershed

Livestock grazing too close to the cliffs on the Point Reyes Headlands may contribute to excessive erosion.

History and recreation

There are 147 miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, beaches, and a variety of recreational opportunities.

Conservation and restoration

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board identified the  Headlands and Duxbury Reef as an Area of Special Biological Significance. This requires solutions to environmental problems. To address these issues, the Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program is reducing pollution, including sediment, by:

  • Installing fencing and cattle guards
  • Replacing the stairs the Sea Lion overlook with ecological materials

More information

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