Made possible by the Richard Grand Foundation, the Point Lobos Foundation recently began facilitating natural resource research projects within Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in 2015. A collaborative effort on the part of the Point Lobos Foundation, the Monterey District of California State Parks (State Parks) and California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB), the paid internships are restricted to graduate students.
Managed by environmental scientists at State Parks, the resulting data and recommendations will be used to assist State Parks in making management decisions and prioritizing rehabilitation projects at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The data will be stored in perpetuity to build an archive of real-time natural resource information necessary to protect Point Lobos for generations.
Vegetation is a very important natural resource within Point Lobos. Unique and varied plant communities and rare plants are one of the main draws for visitors and vegetation plays a critical role in the health of wildlife. Invasion by non-native species, high levels of visitor traffic, off-trail use and years of drought have impacted and continue to impact vegetation at Point Lobos. To learn more about these impacts and prioritize restoration projects to promote the health and diversity of vegetation at Point Lobos, vegetation mapping was the focus of a recent PLF-funded research project.
An ongoing and long-term project, this research focuses on documenting wildlife (marine mammal, shorebird, and seabird) use of the shoreline in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The presence and distribution of marine mammals, seabirds and shorebirds on the shoreline are being documented. Wildlife behavioral observations, including natural behaviors and those caused by visitor disturbances, are being recorded.
This study involved mapping and measuring human and naturally caused erosion on the coastal bluffs along the shoreline at Point Lobos. A trail impact assessment was completed for all of the trails with common impacts including vegetation loss and compositional changes, soil compaction, erosion, muddiness, exposure of plant roots, trail widening, and the proliferation of visitor-created side trails. Ideal trail realignment recommendations were made and impacted trails were prioritized based on the level of need.
Research within Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and the surrounding marine protected areas requires permitting. To request a permit, please contact Matthew Allen at Matthew.Allen@parks.ca.gov, Senior Environmental Scientist at the Monterey District of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
All intern positions are currently filled.
If you are a graduate student in natural resources and interested in making a difference through Point Lobos, let us know. We can keep you apprised of paid interning opportunities as they come up. Thank you!