In the News

News Main Page

Mud Matters: Tracing the Carbon Carriers of the Ocean Floor

January 8, 2024 American Shoreline Podcast

In this episode of the American Shoreline Podcast, hosts Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham engage with NOAA scientists Doug George and Sara Hutto in a discussion about their groundbreaking research on carbon hotspots along Northern California’s coast.


Seafloor with pink urchins and an a long fish swimming above.

California Coastline Dotted with Carbon Hot Spots, New Study by Bay Area Researchers Shows

December 11, 2023 ABC7 Bay Area

Watching a majestic parade of whales migrating by, or discovering the stunning array of marine creatures thriving beneath the surface, it’s easy to understand the urgency of protecting our Bay Area coastline. But now, researchers believe there is another powerful reason — one that could be critical in the fight against climate change.


Julieta Gomez monitors juvenile bull kelp at Bodega Marine Lab

Scientists Try a ‘Field of Dreams’ Approach to Restoring California’s Bull Kelp Forests

August 17, 2023 Bay Nature Magazine

“Aren’t they so cute?” says Rachael Karm, a Sonoma State University research technician, who’s peering into an open-topped tub of swirling seawater, alongside researchers Julieta Gómez and Rietta Hohman, of the Greater Farallones Association. The objects of their admiration are tiny, brown algal sprouts clinging to submerged PVC pipes, illuminated by Barbie-pink grow lights. They look about as consequential as the scum in a dirty fish tank. But these little babies—two-month-old sporophytes of bull kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana—could represent the future of Northern California’s imperiled kelp forests.


Kelp team monitors the rocky intertidal at Fort Ross Cove.

A Highly Ambitious Plan to Restore California’s Underwater Forests has Begun

June 21, 2023 San Francisco Chronicle

Earlier this month, Bay Area researchers […] made baby kelp grow on twine in a lab, then wrapped the twine around clay bricks and deposited them into Drakes Bay, a part of Point Reyes National Seashore that was once dense with the golden, towering strands of seaweed. […]. The restoration will take place within the marine sanctuary, 3,300 square miles of protected waters from Marin County to Mendocino County where about 80 miles of coastline have lost kelp forest and with it opportunities for recreational abalone diving.


Ocean Cove on an overcast day.

How Researchers are Working to Restore Once-thriving Kelp Forest Along Sonoma County Coast

June 13, 2023 ABC7 News

A unique ocean-going restoration effort is just getting underway along the Sonoma Coast and its goal is to rescue an underwater forest that’s critical to marine life. […] “So kelp loss has been a devastating issue along the Northern California coastline, particularly in Sonoma and Mendocino County. And so the scale of loss is incredible. It’s over 90 percent since 2014,” says Rietta Hohman, who’s leading the cutting-edge kelp restoration project for the Greater Farallones Association and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


Underwater photo of green colored bull kelp surrounded by blueish green water in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Keith Johnson

“With Eyes Open” Radio Show

June 12, 2023 KWMR

Greater Farallones Association board president Jeff Loomans and Greater Farallones Kelp Restoration Project Manager Rietta Hohman joined Peter Asmus on the “With Eyes Open” morning news show to discuss our work to restore bull kelp forest in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


Sori (reproductive tissue) of bull kelp cultured at Bodega Marine Lab.

Drakes Bay Study Seeks to Revive Kelp Forests

June 5, 2023 Marin Independent Journal

Alarmed by the rapid loss of the bull kelp forests along the northern California coast in the past decade, researchers are hoping to unlock the key to reviving the vibrant underwater ecosystems along the coast of Marin and Sonoma counties. […] This week, researchers with the Greater Farallones Association—the nonprofit partner of the marine sanctuary—and Sonoma State University will tie lengths of twine that have been infused with bull kelp spores onto hundreds of bricks, which will then be tossed into different parts of the bay.


Bull kelp forest within MBNMS

A Massive Kelp Forest Once Anchored the North Bay’s Marine Ecosystem. Here’s How Scientists are Trying to Bring it Back.

June 1, 2023 The Press Democrat

More than 90% of a once-abundant bull kelp forest, which towered from ocean floor to the surface, has disappeared from the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts over the last decade […] researchers hope their experiment may hold the key to is survival, with the potential to begin regrowing a few lost kelp beds off the Sonoma Coast as early as this fall. The experiment is being conducted through the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the nonprofit Greater Farallones Association. The goal is to find the best way to culture and capture kelp reproductive material for introduction to select offshore sites.


Underwater photo of green colored bull kelp surrounded by blueish green water in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Photo Credit: Keith Johnson

Funding for Farallones Marine Sanctuary kelp comes just in time

May 12, 2023 Marin Independent Journal

Thanks to community outreach and the support of Rep. Jared Huffman, $4.9 million in federal funding is coming to local ocean conservation nonprofit, Greater Farallones Association, to lead the important work of restoring an essential building blocks of our blue backyard: kelp forests off the Sonoma-Marin coast in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.


Kelp team in the field

Bay Area Bountiful: California’s Decimated Kelp Forests

August 10, 2022 Northern California Public Media

Bull kelp forests off the Sonoma-Mendocino coast have declined significantly in recent years due to a combination of environmental factors including a shift in urchin populations and a large ocean heatwave connected to climate change. Listen to two of our ocean experts speak about this important project and how restoring kelp forest within NOAA Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will help wildlife and people, and help combat climate change.


Large cargo ship sails toward the out edge of the photo frame.

Student Postcards to Ships Help Boost Whale Survival in the Bay Area

August 5, 2022 ABC7 Bay Area

Greater Farallones Association delivered a school-wide assembly to K-6th grade students at Orchard School on nature-based solutions to climate change. We highlighted the importance of the role whales play in the carbon cycle and talked about our efforts alongside Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries to reduce the risk of ship strikes to endangered whales through voluntary vessel speed reduction initiatives.


Sara Hutto

Interview with Greater Farallones Climate Program Coordinator Sara Hutto

October 8, 2021 KOWS 92.5 FM, Tommy's Holiday Camp Show with Arnold Levine

Listen to radio show host Arnold Levine interview Sara Hutto about Greater Farallones Association’s work with Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Office of National Marine Sanctuary to advance the research and application of blue carbon in marine protected area management and ocean protection globally.


Beach watch volunteers surveying

Stewards of the Land, Sea, and Sky

February 8, 2021 Wild Hope

Beach Watch operates in one of the most biodiverse regions of the world. Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (the Sanctuary) is a 3,295 square mile patch of ocean northwest of San Francisco Bay managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


Commercial diver removes purple urchin.

Purple Urchin Removal Program Begins After COVID Delay

August 5, 2020 The Mendocino Beacon

Purple urchins are being removed from the waters surrounding the Mendocino coast to see if it will bring back the once-lush kelp forest, which has been decimated by a combination of warm water and the overpopulation of purple urchins.


Lending a Kelping Hand in Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

January 20, 2020 NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

In recent years, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the Greater Farallones Association, and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary have collaborated with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ocean Protection Council, and The Nature Conservancy to document the transition from kelp-dominated to urchin-dominated ecosystems along the West Coast, a shift accompanied by a steep decline in biodiversity.


Photo of purple sea urchins in the intertidal zone. Photo by Gina Contolini/NOAA.

Northern California’s Coasts are Turning into Underwater Deserts

October 23, 2019 Popular Science

Francesca Koe, who is on the Greater Farallones Association Board of Directors and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, has competed in freediving events all over the world, including vibrant tropical seas. Even so, the cold waters off Northern California’s coast are special to her. She is working with the Association, the Sanctuary, and a state-wide kelp recovery network to restore kelp forests.


View from the observation deck. NOAA/ACCESS/PointBlue/RREAS.

Scientists Assess Waters Off San Francisco and Fear a Climatic Intruder

September 27, 2019 San Francisco Chronicle

The scientists [including GFA staff] leaned over the rail of the research vessel Fulmar to get a closer look at the frenzy of five humpback whales and 150 sea lions feeding near the Farallon Islands when, suddenly, a towering spray shot out of a blow hole and misted the researchers with a stinky mucus-like goo.


Whale tail trophies. Photo by Anastasia Kunz/NOAA

More Ships Slow Down Off California to Avoid Killing Whales

May 17, 2019 Associated Press

On May 16th, Greater Farallones, Cordell Bank, and Channel Islands sanctuaries, with support from the Greater Farallones Association, hosted an awards ceremony to recognize shipping companies that participated in NOAA’s 2018 voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction program. The speed reduction efforts are aimed at protecting endangered whales from ship strikes in sanctuary waters.


Image of yellow coral against black background

New Deep-Sea Coral Species Discovered in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

May 1, 2019 NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

A new deep-sea coral species described as a small, yellow octocoral and named Chromoplexaura cordellbankensis, was discovered in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Researchers, including staff from Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Greater Farallones Association, made the discovery during an expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada in the summer of 2018. Remotely operated vehicles (ROV) were used to collect the individual specimen, and the species was formally described by scientists at the California Academy of Sciences and University of Costa Rica.


Cordell Bank

Marin Coast Seafloor Explored for Clues on How to Protect Sensitive Areas

August 4, 2018 Marin Independent Journal

Greater Farallones Association with Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, and other partners, set out for a two-week deep-sea expedition off the Marin coast in August 2018. The goal of the trip is to learn more about the corals, sponges, and other marine life adapted to this unique environment, in order to inform management activities that protect these sensitive areas and important animals.


Aerial view of Stinson Beach and Bolinas Lagoon

Stinson Beach Study Says Sand Dunes May Stem Erosion Caused By Sea Level Rise

February 6, 2018 CBS SF Bay Area

Sea levels may be rising but one Bay Area beach community is not going down without a fight. In Stinson Beach many believe sand dunes are the key to battling erosion. Dr. Doug George, coastal geologist at the Greater Farallones Association, and Marin County are deep into the process of getting the money together for a study to find solutions. When they do, the study will likely take several years. Public commenting, permitting, will add even more time so beachgoers won’t see construction any time soon.


GFNMS Pier House at sunrise. Fog bank seen in background.

Decades of Data from Tiny San Francisco House Helps Predict King Tides

January 3, 2018 ABC7 Bay Area

Tuesday and Wednesday’s high tides were several feet higher than normal–a phenomenon known as “king tides” that were once a mystery, but now easily predicted thanks to many decades of data. At the end of a narrow pier in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge sits a tiny house with a big job: ever since the Gold Rush, it’s the place where oceanographers have charted the tides coming in and out of San Francisco Bay.


A hand holds an invasive green crab upside down above a bucket filled with more removed invasive crabs.

Ecologists Strike Back Against Invasive Green Crabs

November 7, 2017 KQED, The California Report

The European green crab is costing the fishing industry nineteen million dollars a year on the East Coast alone. And now, the invasive species has been spotted up and down the West Coast from British Columbia to here in California. But a group of California ecologists are striking back. The team has focused their efforts on a small inlet in Marin County called Seadrift Lagoon. The key to fending off this species is to let them grow into adulthood.


Two sanctuary staff members pose on Duxbury Reef

Honoring Women in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

March 1, 2017 NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

In celebration of Women’s History Month, NOAA’s Office of Marine Sanctuaries is celebrating those women who are making history through education, research, conservation and stewardship. Among those honored from Greater Farallones are Maria Brown, Superintendent; Francesca Koe, Sanctuary Advisory Council and Greater Farallones Association Board Member; and Beth Cataldo and Holly Reed, Marine Debris and Beach Watch Volunteers.


Group of Beach Watch volunteers surveying a coastline at sunset

Sentinels of the Coast: Surveying the Beaches After Cosco Busan

November 1, 2016 National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Office of Response & Restoration

On Nov. 7, 2007 reports on the Cosco Busan spill reached Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Staff of the Sanctuary and Greater Farallones Association began to mobilize Farallones Beach Watch volunteers.


Two students sit exploring what they see in the intertidal habitat with a quadrant. One student is holding a species identification sheet. Credit: PAUHS Teacher

Young Scientists Attend San Jose Gathering with Ph.Ds

February 13, 2015 ABC7 Bay Area

The Greater Farallones Association’s LiMPETS program empowered high school students to present their science alongside professionals. “It was incredible to have scientists coming up to us, asking questions about our research. They were all blown away by how we’re only in high school, and we have the opportunity to present at a prestigious conference,” said Frankie Gerraty at The Branson School.


View by Program