May 10, 2021
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
WSCUHSD Responds to lawsuit Welcome May The PG&E Corporation Foundation is awarding $250,000 in STEM Scholarships Central Student Jared Zang honored at scholarship celebration Does COVID-19 vaccination impact blood donation eligibility? Keep our cars and our river clean Spring cleaning should include creating defensible space for yards and property Former Juvenile Corrections Officer sentenced for felony perjury Child rapist receives life sentence RP man sentenced to 5 years in state prison and ordered to register as sex offender for life Young adults from the foster care system need COVID relief funds now Outdoor summer camps Garden Camp event July 5-30 COVID-19 Vaccine Update PG&E arraigned on charges related to 2019 Kincade fire Governor Newsom provides emergency drought assistance to Russian River Watershed SMART Board of Directors approve $21.4 million Capital Improvement Plan The nursery at Jail Industries Virtual screening at Sonoma County Library Library return hours increase SSU Dept of theatre arts & dance presents senior project festival 2021 A picnic palooza coming to Alicia Park Be a citizen scientist in the City Nature Challenge Hello Sonoma-Marin Fair supporters, exhibitors & friends Reading Cinemas Rohnert Park announces reopening Long-time battalion chief and volunteer firefighter becomes Sebastopol’s new asst. fire chief “Change a life in an hour” Be a connection for Sonoma County Children Cotati Police Dept. hosting DEA drug takeback event May is Mental Health Month University Elementary “Garden Planting Day” Ortega a Safeway Monopoly winner When is Arbor Day? Food for Thought Food Drive Federal tax filing deadline is now May 17 We need your help for clean-up After April 15 all residents 16 and older were eligible for vaccination A fundraiser for the nonprofit, Huntington’s Disease Society of America Gem faire at fairgrounds Local students named to Dean’s List 700 more acres of local farmland protected forever! Summit State Bank among top performing banks Help choose our new mascot Food for Thought to hold drive-thru food drive in Petaluma Santa Rosa Post Office seeks future career employees Blood Drive USBC hosts 2021 women’s championships in Reno Tahoe Technology High ranks #35

Avoid seal pups on California beaches!

By: Mary Jane Schramm
April 2, 2021

Harbor seal pups are now being born on north-central California beaches, and NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary advises beachgoers not to interact with pups they might find on shore. Newborn harbor seal pups, born in late winter and spring, could suffer permanent harm if someone unauthorized for marine mammal rescue were to move or interact with them. Seals are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and to interfere with one could incur legal penalties. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has rescue personnel trained and authorized to recognize a seal in distress, and rescue it. Pupping season is March 1 to June 30.

Each year healthy seal pups are separated from their mothers by people who mistake them for orphans. Harbor seal mothers sometimes leave pups unattended on shore while feeding at sea, then return to nurse them. The presence of a person or dog near a pup could prevent a mother from reuniting with her young, and such disturbance can result in the pup’s death. Repeated disturbances around a seal rookery can also contribute to overall lower birth rates, reduced habitat use, and eventual abandonment of haul-out sites. NOAA advises keeping at least 300 feet away, but even at that distance disturbance can occur.

“The rule of thumb is, if a seal reacts to your presence by raising its head, you are too close,” said Jan Roletto, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary biologist. “Avoid eye contact and back away slowly until it no longer notices you.”

San Francisco-based Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which manages sanctuary waters from lower Mendocino County south to Point Año Nuevo, advises concerned beachgoers to report suspected orphaned or injured pups to a park ranger, or to one of the following facilities, to assess the need for rescue:

• The Marine Mammal Center 415-289-SEAL / 289-7325 (24 hrs.)

• Pt. Reyes National Seashore 415-464-5170 (24 hrs.)

• NOAA Enforcement Hotline 800-853-1964 (24 hrs.)

Approximately one-fifth of the state’s harbor seals live in the Greater Farallones sanctuary. The largest breeding grounds in Marin County are in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore at Drake’s Bay/Limantour Beach. Outside the seashore, Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay are prime spots. In San Mateo County, rookeries are at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and Bean Hollow; in Sonoma County at Jenner, Sea Ranch and Fort Ross.

Harbor seals haul out in groups ranging from a few to several hundred. Females generally give birth to a single pup, fully dependent, and which must nurse for three to four weeks. Pups can swim almost from birth.

Designated in 1981, NOAA’s Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 3,295 square miles of ocean and coastal waters beyond San Francisco’s Golden Gate. The sanctuary supports an abundance of species including the largest breeding seabird rookery in the contiguous United States, white sharks, and endangered blue and humpback whales.

On the Web:

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary:

Greater Farallones Association:

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: