How Sir Francis Drake Made History in California

May 24, 2017
Drakes Nagivation Guild

Sir Francis Drake, a critical figure in British naval history, left his mark on this region’s history as well. He visited the Pacific coast of North America during his circumnavigation of the globe in the late 1570s, several decades before the Mayflower sailed.

Bottlenose Dolphins Now Frequenting the North Coast

Jan 6, 2017
Jackie Sones

Bottlenose dolphins have become increasingly frequent visitors along the north coast, as their range and numbers appear to be expanding.

The first bottlenose dolphin was spotted in San Francisco Bay more than 15 years ago, but Bill Keener of Golden Gate Cetacean Research it took them some time to begin venturing farther northward.

"The Flavors of Home"

Dec 22, 2016

All around us, there are edible plants, growing wild. The trick is knowing which ones they are, where to find them, and how best to make use of them.  On today’s North Bay Report, we hear from someone who not only knows all that, she wrote the book on it.

  For Margit Roos-Collins, foraging has been a part of her lifestyle since childhood, a sort of family tradition.

Documentary Focuses on Fish and Fishermen

Dec 10, 2016

  Fishing has long been a major industry on the Pacific coast, but surprisingly little of what is caught here winds up on local tables. A recent documentary examines that paradox.

 The genesis for the project that became Of The Sea was a series of shorter profiles of contemporary fisherfolk along the North Coast. In the longer documentary, says director Mischa Hedges, they concentrated on five to represent differing aspects of the profession.

A Struggle for Survival on the Ocean Floor

Nov 7, 2016

The die-off of starfish along the Pacific coast has disrupted the underwater ecosystem, with a radical impact on other sea life on the region’s ocean floor. 

  Kelp has an unusual two-stage life cycle, explains Fish and Wildlife environmental biologist Cynthia Catton, and the large plants we see are actually just a small part of that.


Our coast is home to dozens of varieties of strange, often elusive, sometimes slimy, yet almost always somehow edible sea life. Kirk Lombard knows where to find them, and what to do with them.

Despite his affinity for "underdog" fish, Lombard reserved one of his longest chapters—a full nine pages—for a popular species he lauds as culturally, economically and recreationally important:  salmon.

The Firewatch Continues at Pole Mountain Lookout

Sep 18, 2016
Rhian Miller, KRCB

  Across California, mountaintop fire lookouts are increasingly rare. Spotters can’t penetrate the smog in the southland, and elsewhere, ubiquitous cell phones have diminished the need for them. But in the remote coastal highlands above and east of Jenner, the Pole Mountain Lookout remains active and essential.  Today, reporter Rhian Miller takes us there.

How Ocean Acidification Imperils the Lowly Sea Snail

Aug 20, 2016
Garbiel Ng

  Increasing acidity in the world’s oceans is affecting far more than coral reefs. A local researcher is studying how changing pH in seawater may alter the balance of life in tide pools along the North Coast.

Sonoma Museum Opens Surfboard Exhibit

Jun 30, 2016
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

  Surfboards---from rough-hewn slabs of wood to carefully shaped pieces of fiberglass, and from Hawaii to Africa—are all on display in Sonoma this summer.

  Every surfboard in the exhibit has a story behind it—including the one that curator Richard Henvin is holding in the photograph at the right.

Included in the Surf Craft show are rare boards designed by the early and influential board-maker Bob Simmons.

Monitoring California’s Black Oystercatchers

Jun 25, 2016

  Black Oystercatchers are distinctive, but not numerous. So these hardy shorebirds are being monitored by naturalists and citizen scientists to see how they are affected by sea level rise and other environmental factors.

Protesters Question SoCal Fracking Resumption

May 26, 2016
Center for Biological Diversity

  A proposal to reinstate fracking for oil and natural gas in federal waters off the Southern California coast drew protesters to Camarillo earlier this week. Suzanne Potter explains why the clean water advocates are upset. 

Remembering the Running Fence, 40 Years Later

Mar 10, 2016

  The Running Fence, Sonoma County’s most iconic artwork, embodied some curious contradictions.  It was public art created without public funds, and took ten times longer to erect that it actually stood. Yet despite—or perhaps because of that short physical existence, it lives on vividly, in both artifacts  and memory.

  While the Running Fence was striking and unusual, SSU Art History professor Michael Schwager says it can also be seen as part of the Earth Art movement that began in the mid-20th Century.  

Erosion Watch on the Sonoma Coast

Feb 18, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  King tides, El Nino, and sea level rise pose a triple threat to homes built too close to the edge of northern California’s seaside buffs. Some homes above Gleason’s Beach on the Sonoma Coast have been lost in years past, while others remain at risk.

  Gary Griggs, a professor of  Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz , has been tracking the eroding cliffs at Gleason Beach for the past decade and a half. He says his periodic return visits show that the problems there continue to advance slowly but persistently.

Busy Times for Sonoma Land Trust

Dec 21, 2015
The California Coastal Records Project

  With three major projects wrapping up in 2015, the Sonoma Land Trust is looking ahead to more in the New Year, including a celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary.

The video below describes and explains the Sears Point wetlands conversion project in greater detail.

  Facts and photographs of coastal birds, animals, flowers and mushrooms fill the colorful pages of Jeanne Jackson’s recent book.

An unabashed lover of Mother Nature, Jackson has no background as a naturalist, but revels in being a natural generalist.


The scenic splendor and abundant wildlife are just part of the story of the Sonoma Coast in Simone Wilson’s new book. Her focus is also on the people who love it.

Simone Wilson has been exploring the Sonoma County coast for several decades, and has a number of favorite spots that she regularly returns to.

Mike McGuire’s First State Senate Term

Aug 31, 2015

  Eight months into his new job, representing northern California’s huge Second state Senate District, Healdsburg’s Mike McGuire is maintaining his usual frenetic pace as he wades into a new set of complex legislative issues.

  Facing a long list of issues to engage with in Sacramento, State Senator Mike McGuire says he allocates his efforts in accordance with four broad priorities.

The Native People of the Sonoma Coast

Apr 22, 2015

  The Sonoma County coast has been populated for at least 8000 years, and life for the native people there didn’t change much over most of that time.

  Local archeologist  Tom Origer will lead a workshop on the Archeology and History of the Sonoma Coast on Saturday, April 25, 9-2  at the Bodega Bay Fire Station, sponsored by the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods.

The California King Tide Project

Jan 19, 2015
Jeff Poskanzer

  The highest tides of the winter are rolling up on the Pacific Coast today, and the California King Tides Project is watching them with an eye toward the future.

There will be another, slightly lower series of King tides next month, on Feb. 17th  & 18th.  Information about uploading pictures to the California King Tides Project is posted on their website. There's a further explanation of the project in the video below.

The History of the Hole at Bodega Head

Nov 3, 2014
Sonoma County Museum

  Today it looks like a placid pond, but 50 years ago the deep hole at the base of Bodega Head was the focus of a battle that helped galvanize modern environmentalism.

  The crucial moment in the fight against the nuclear facility came when noted seismologist, Pierre St. Amand  was able to visit the site and report back to the US Department of the Interior. Doris Sloan clearly remembers the day she escorted St. Amand to that pivotal visit.


Counting California's White Shark Population

Aug 18, 2014

  How many white sharks are swimming in California’s coastal waters? A new survey debunks an earlier claim that the marine predators’ numbers are declining, and that the species as a whole is endangered.

  Sharks are generally solitary creatures, says George Burgess, but they can be found in sizable groups at locations where their preferred food sources are abundant.

The Sonoma and Marin coast is dotted with such “aggregation” sites for the Whites, Burgess adds, such as Goat Rock Beach near Jenner, and around the mouth of Tomales Bay.

History Comes Alive at Fort Ross

Jul 25, 2014
Fort Ross Foundation

  It may the most unusual historical celebration in the North Bay each year—that’s the annual Cultural Heritage Day at Fort Ross on the northern Sonoma County coast. It comes around again tomorrow, so here’s a peek at what you’ll find there.

Robin Joy Wellman ha’s been working out at Fort Ross for 24 years now—so she’s got some history of her own at the park there. The event runs from 10-6 on Saturday and you'll find a compelte schedule of activities here.

2014 Abalone Rules at Midseason

Jul 23, 2014
Debra Hamilton photo / California Department of Fish & Game

  In an effort to protect the abalone population along the north coast, new restrictions on when and where the tasty mollusks can be taken are being implemented this year.  At the season’s midpoint, we examine those changes and how they are being enforced.

   Fish and Wildlife biologists carefully monitor the abalone population at multiple locations along the north coast, to ensure that they are not being over-fished. Capt. Steve Riske explains the process.

Expanding Protections on the Sonoma Coast

Jun 16, 2014
Ocean Foundation

  For years, even decades, there has been an ongoing effort to permanently protect the Sonoma Coast from oil drilling. That’s close to being finalized now, with a last round of public hearings on the North Coast this week. Today’s Exchange has details for you.

The Ocean Foundation's guide to the expansion plans and the hearings can be downloaded here.

A High Point on the Sonoma Coast

Jun 11, 2014
Sonoma Land Trust

  Another jewel has been added to the string of dazzling public lands along and overlooking the Sonoma Coast, one that will offer some of the most striking views available in the region as it is opened to hikers in the months ahead. Here’s what we can look forward to.

The map below shows how this new acquisition links other publicly-held lands in the coastal area just north of Jenner.

Charging Electric Cars on the Califonria Coast

Jun 9, 2014

  There are 58,000 electric vehicles on the road in California now, and their number has been doubling every year. That’s still a small share of the total, but it does represent a growing market that looks like an opportunity to a North Bay entrepreneur.

Dale Miller, President of the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association, notes that having more charging stations in more locations is another factor helping to boost EV sales.

Tsunami Preparedness Week

Mar 27, 2014

  Along the entire west coast of the United States, this is Tsunami Preparedness Week, a time each year to highlight emergency planning efforts for both the general public, and coastal infrastructure, such as ports and harbors. Today’s Exchange takes a closer look at that process.

Buried Jetty at Goat Rock Beach to be Studied

Mar 6, 2014

  The flat rocky connection between Goat Rock and the adjacent State Beach is NOT the Goat Rock Jetty. That’s a parking lot, but the jetty is rock wall now buried beneath the sand at the mouth of the Russian River. It’s also the subject of a new study that gets underway today, and here’s what that’s all about.

While the study of the Goat Rock State Beach Jetty is underway, the beach will remain open to the public as usual and every effort will be made to avoid disturbing the seals and sea lions that congregate on the sand nearby.

Tax Form Option to Aid CA Coast

Mar 4, 2014
California Coastal Commission

Love the California coast? A check box on your state tax return this year can help it out. Here’s how it works.

Find out more about the Coastal Commission's  Whale Tail grants program here.

Statewide Coastal Trail Group Forming

Jan 13, 2014

  California’s coastline spans 1200 miles and well over 100 local governments and other jurisdictions. A new initiative from Coastwalk in Sebastopol is trying to bring them all together in support of completing a single publicly accessible trail along the entire coast, and we learn more about that on today’s Exchange  segment.