By Ashleigh Papp

Harbor Seals “have this dual existence,” says Sarah Allen, National Park Service ecologist. “They’re tied to the land physiologically and tied to the bay waters for food and travel.” From rocky islets to tidal marshes, the Bay shoreline offers respite to these native marine mammals. Rocky islets like the Castro Rocks, located near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, are particularly important refuges — but more than half the islets that exist throughout the Bay are likely to be erased by sea-level rise this century. Meanwhile, the ability of tidal marsh habitats to naturally respond to rising waters offers hope. “Newly created intertidal marshes may help to accommodate the loss of rocky habitats in the Bay,” predicts an optimistic Allen.

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Hauling Out on Higher Ground

By Ashleigh Papp

Harbor Seals “have this dual existence,” says Sarah Allen, National Park Service ecologist. “They’re tied to the land physiologically and tied to the bay waters for food and travel.” From rocky islets to tidal marshes, the Bay shoreline offers respite to these native marine mammals. Rocky islets like the Castro Rocks, located near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, are particularly important refuges — but more than half the islets that exist throughout the Bay are likely to be erased by sea-level rise this century. Meanwhile, the ability of tidal marsh habitats to naturally respond to rising waters offers hope. “Newly created intertidal marshes may help to accommodate the loss of rocky habitats in the Bay,” predicts an optimistic Allen.

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About the author

Ashleigh Papp is a science writer based in San Francisco. She has a background in animal science and biology, she enjoys writing about emerging environmental issues, our oceans, and conservation-related science. For ESTUARY, she often covers wildlife. When not reading or writing, she's playing outside with friends or inside with her cat, Sandy.

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