Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve

Discover the Natural Wonders of Oregon’s Ocean

The rocky shores of the marine reserve and North MPA host some of the most biologically diverse rocky intertidal habitats found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Underwater, the reserve and MPAs are dominated by sand and gravel habitats. The site also features a deep, isolated rocky reef home to a wide diversity of groundfish and invertebrates. Upwelling, followed by periods of relaxation, create highly productive waters around the Cape Perpetua area.

The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve is Oregon’s largest marine reserve. The site is located off the central Oregon coast stretching between the towns of Yachats and Florence. The site includes a marine reserve, two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and a Seabird Protection Area.

Marine Reserve Area

Marine Protected Areas

Seabird Protected Area

What Makes Cape Perpetua Unique

Beneath the Surface

The rocky shores of the marine reserve and North MPA host some of the most biologically diverse rocky intertidal habitats found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Underwater, the reserve and MPAs are dominated by sand and gravel habitats. The site also features a deep, isolated rocky reef home to a wide diversity of groundfish and invertebrates. Upwelling, followed by periods of relaxation, create highly productive waters around the Cape Perpetua area. These waters are also known to experience episodes of hypoxia (low oxygen) and acidification (low pH).

 

Harvest Restrictions Began

January 1, 2014

Monitoring Began

2012

Size

Reserve: 37 sq km (14.3 sq mi)
MPAs: 49 sq km (19 sq mi)

Depth Range

0-55 m (0-164 ft)

Habitats

Mostly soft bottom habitats. Small, low-relief, isolated rocky reef in deeper water. Rocky intertidal habitats.

Habitat Connectivity

Isolated rocky reef entirely contained within the reserve.

Prior Fishing Pressure

Relatively moderate fishing pressure on groundfish in rocky reef habitats. Relatively high fishing pressure on crab in soft bottom habitats.

Monitoring Comparison Areas

Seal Rock and Tokatee

Design & Placement Matter

The ODFW Marine Reserves Program uses different monitoring tools tailored to each of Oregon’s marine reserves based on the reserve’s size, habitats, depths, prior fishing activities, and other unique characteristics of each reserve.

The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve has a deep, isolated rocky reef — which is unique to this area as sand and gravel habitats tend to dominate in this region. There is no rocky reef habitat at a similar depth, with similar oceanographic conditions and fishing pressure, anywhere in the nearby vicinity.

Sampling Approach  For this marine reserve we are looking at how this isolated, rocky reef marine community changes through time. We’re also looking at how these trajectories of change inside the reserve compare to other, shallower rocky reef habitats in nearby areas outside of the reserve over time.

Long-term Monitoring Hotspot  The rocky intertidal habitats in the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve are a hotspot of biodiversity. Scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) and PISCO have been monitoring the dynamics and intertidal species here for decades. In addition, scientists from OSU, PISCO, and ODFW have been conducting oceanography, hypoxia, and ocean acidification studies in this area since the early 2000s.

Monitoring Activities

ODFW uses the the following tools and sampling intervals to monitor the reserve at Cape Perpetua based on the site’s unique characteristics.

In addition to these activities, their Partners at OSU, PISCO, and ODFW’s Marine Habitat Project are conducting rocky intertidal surveys, hypoxia-ecology studies, and oceanographic surveys at the site.

Find out more About the Science.

Planning a Visit?

For more Cape Perpetua activities, including hikes and viewpoints, visit here to plan your trip.

Spirit of Discovery

Highlights from Cape Perpetua Ecological Monitoring

Hook-and-Line
ROV
Species
Research Tools

Take a Deeper Dive

There’s More Beneath the Surface

Cape Perpetua Collaborative Newsletter

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Cape Perpetua Collaborative Newsletter

Fill out the information to receive our quarterly newsletter highlighting citizen science and volunteer opportunities, upcoming events and research taking place in and around the Cape Perpetua area.

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