Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

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Abbotts Lagoon, Point Reyes National Seashore

by | Jan 9, 2020

Abbotts Lagoon is a two-stage lagoon on the northwestern coast of the Point Reyes National Seashore, 9 miles (14.5 km) south-southeast of Tomales Point, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) west-northwest of Inverness, California. The upper lagoon is a freshwater impoundment that overflows into a lower brackish level with occasional winter tidal exchange.

American Natives of the Coast Miwok tribe lived in the area prior to 19th-century European colonization. The land surrounding the lagoon was used for cattle and dairy ranching by the 1870s. In 1941, the U.S. Navy was granted permission to use Abbotts Lagoon for dive-bombing practice for pilots from airfields in Hamilton, Santa Rosa, and Alameda. In 1952, the air space danger areas covering this target were canceled and the government initiated action to cancel the lease for the ground rights to the site. In 1962, the lagoon was authorized for addition to the National Park System as part of Point Reyes National Seashore. Today, the Tule Elk Reserve encompasses the north end of the Point Reyes peninsula including Tomales Point. Much of the western end of the peninsula consists of pastoral lands associated with dairy and cattle ranches that are maintained in cooperation with the National Park Service. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains communication stations near Abbotts Lagoon and at Palomarin Beach.

Abbotts Lagoon is usually separated from the Pacific Ocean by dune sand to the west. In 2011, a large dune restoration project removed up to 120 acres (49 ha) of non-native invasive European beachgrass and ice plant from the dunes south of Abbotts Lagoon. The Abbotts Lagoon Coastal Dune Restoration Project is restoring natural dune processes and functions to a system that is home to at least 11 threatened and endangered, but whose ecological value has been severely imperiled by the rapid spread of species once planted to stabilize dunes for adjacent development. Read more here and here. Explore more of Abbotts Lagoon here:

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