Boiler Bay

Serving Lincoln and Tillamook Counties since 2006

The Oregon Coast Rocks!


The Audubon Society of Lincoln City (ASLC), and


Is to encourage residents and visitors to protect and enjoy the native birds, other wildlife, and habitats found on the Central Oregon Coast.


We can make this the year to protect Oregon’s rocky coastal habitats, helping to ensure that Oregon’s amazing tide pools, underwater kelp forests, nearshore reefs, and offshore rocks and islands continue to inspire future generations.

Cape Foulweather


Make up about 41% of our Oregon coastline. State and federal policies, strategies, and rules have long been in place to manage and protect coastal habitats.

One of these strategies, Oregon's Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, is being updated for the first time since 1994. Many protected sites were re-approved, but some were not, and there are many others with little to no protection in place.


Our proposals to designate Marine Conservation Areas (MCA) at Cape Lookout and Cape Foulweather are still alive but the timeline for the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) to review and approve has been extended.

Our proposals to designate both Cape Lookout and the Cape Foulweather Complex as Marine Conservation Areas (MCAs) were among 12 community-based proposals submitted to OPAC. At their May 17th meeting, OPAC approved two of the twelve and rejected four. The remaining six, including our proposals, were moved to a category for further evaluation.

The next steps are uncertain, but we will continue to need your input and support. Sign up for our Coastal Habitat mailing list to stay informed!


Includes the ability for individuals and communities to be an active part of designing and implementing new goals and management based on the best available information.

This matters, because:

  1. Visitors matter: Our rocky habitats are one of the primary attractions of our tourist economy. Managing access and accountability will help to keep these areas pristine for years to come.
Lincoln City tidepool clinic
  1. Residents matter: We live here in part because of the quality of life provided by our beloved coastal landscape. We have an opportunity to support the unique wildlife and scenery for our community’s ongoing livability.
Sunset on the rocks
  1. Habitat matters: Visitors to this area can unintentionally cause damage if they don't know how to safely and respectfully interact with our tide pools and surrounding wildlife. A designation can provide greater levels of education to tourists to keep them from trampling over sensitive natural areas and disturbing wildlife.

  1. Education matters: We will be able to offer education opportunities for the local community, including our children for whom we can inspire a love of learning and understanding of local wildlife.
Learning about rocky habitat
  1. Wildlife matters: We can protect our wild neighbors like Black Oystercatchers, pelicans, sea lions, and seals that depend on our rocky coastal habitats.
Brown Pelicans, photo Jack Doyle

Tidepooling, photo Camden Bruner


At several important locations in Lincoln and Tillamook counties, we decided to submit proposals to designate Cape Lookout and the area around Cape Foulweather as MARINE CONSERVATION AREAS.

Please read our information pages about these two locations, including our recommended management goals, and join us in supporting these designations to preserve our rocky habitats.


To support new protective designations, we can create more awareness of rocky habitats, support important research to better understand our changing ocean, and keep these amazing areas safe while providing equitable public access. Together we can ensure that Oregon’s amazing coast continues to inspire future generations.

Learn how you can TAKE ACTION to become even more involved in protecting Oregon's Rocky coast.


What is the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy?

Also referred to as Part 3 of Oregon's Territorial Sea Plan (TSP), the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy is the coordinated management framework used to manage Oregon's coastal rocky habitats zero to three miles from shore. The strategy includes both coast-wide and site-specific management recommendations.

The goal of the strategy, adopted May 6, 2020, is: "... to be a coordination and adaptive planning framework focused on the long-term protection of ecological resources and coastal biodiversity within and among Oregon's marine rocky habitats, while allowing appropriate use."

The Management Strategy recognizes special rocky habitat areas along the Oregon coast that are in need of site-specific management using adaptable designations. These designations outline recommended management and goals based on the best available ecological and human use information. There are three protective designations in the Strategy, and some existing sites fall under those designations. Beginning in June 2020, others may be proposed by the public at any time.

How does this differ from Marine Reserves?

Marine Reserves and Marine Protected Areas were established by statute in 2008. Oregon has 5 Sites currently designated as Marine Reserves. Two of these, Cascade Head, and Otter Rock, fall within Lincoln and Tillamook counties; and two, Cape Falcon, and Cape Perpetua, fall partially within our two counties. Within the Marine Reserves all removal of marine life is prohibited, as is ocean development. Marine Protected Areas are adjacent to existing Marine Reserves and have similar, but somewhat less restrictive, regulations.

PHASE I (completed)
Determine public interests and priorities in the Rocky Shore. Update the general coast-wide strategy and incorporate public interests.

PHASE II (completed)
Update the Rocky Shores Natural Resource Inventory with the best available science. Develop and use the Rocky Habitat Web Mapping tool to collect community proposals for adapting site designations.

PHASE III (ongoing)
Review and incorporate accepted community proposals into the strategy and rocky shores resource inventory. Develop and distribute rocky shores communication plan.

What are Rocky Habitats?

Rocky habitats, as defined in the Rocky Habitat Mangement Strategy, extend to the Territorial Sea boundary and include:

  1. Rocky shoreline, including rocky upland (to the vegetation line) and rocky intertidal,
  2. Submerged rocky reefs, and
  3. Offshore rocky islands
Oregon's Rocky Shores
Oregon's Rocky Shores: A Place of Wonder

Aren't Rocky Habitats already protected as State Parks?

Past state leaders did a great of providing public access to the coast with the Oregon Beach Bill. And we have a number of state parks along the coast. But this designation does not protect the rich diversity of fish and wildlife habitat found along Oregon’s rocky shores, including our lush tide pools, nearshore reefs, underwater kelp forests and many important offshore rocks and islands. In fact, many coastal residents have raised concerns about unintended consequences and real damage in heavily trafficked areas on our coast. Lacking awareness, well-meaning visitors often trample rocks that harbor important wildlife and get too close to marine mammals like seals and their pups.

Recognizing this, the state of Oregon has created a rocky habitat designation proposal process to help protect rocky shores for education, research, and conservation. By working together to propose new protective designations, we can create more awareness of rocky habitats and support important research to better understand our changing ocean – all while keeping these amazing areas safe and open to the public.

What are the new protective designations?

Marine Research Area (MRA)

Characterization:  Relatively intact system that has, or may benefit from, scientific study and monitoring.

Goal:  Maintain the natural system to support scientific research and monitoring while maintaining ecological integrity.

Lincoln and Tillamook MRAs are Boiler Bay and Pirate Cove

The Boiler Bay Marine Research Area includes “all rocky areas, tide pools, and sand beaches situated between extreme high tide and extreme low tide lying between a line projected due west from the mouth of Fogarty Creek, on the north, and a line projected due west from the westernmost tip of Government Point at Boiler Bay State Wayside on the south.”

Boiler Bay Marine Research Area
Boiler Bay Marine Research Area, photo by dawn villaescusa

Marine Education Area (MEA)
also known as Marine Gardens

Characterization:  High public visitation and educational potentiaL.

Goal:  Protect rocky habitat resources to support public enjoyment, learning opportunities and maintain ecological integrity. These sites should be prioritized for providing enhanced education, enjoyment, public access, and resource awareness.

Lincoln and Tillamook Marine Gardens are located at Cape Kiwanda, Otter Rock, Yaquina Head, Yachats, and Cape Perpetua.

The Yaquina Head Marine Garden The entire Yaquina Head area is part of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (YHONA). An approximately 1.8 mile section of this coastline is one of Oregon’s seven marine gardens. The Yaquina Head marine garden encompasses “all rocky areas, tide pools, and sand beaches situated between extreme high tide and extreme low tide lying between the sand beach on the north, and the sand beach on the south of Yaquina Head. Includes rocky areas abutting the sand beaches on the north and south sides of the headland.”

Yaquina Head Marine Garden
Yaquina Head Marine Garden, photo by dawn villaescusa

Marine Conservation Area (MCA)
formerly known as Habitat Refuges

Characterization:  Relatively intact system with high ecological value.

Goal:  Conserve the natural system to the highest degree possible by limiting adverse impacts to habitat and wildlife.

Management:  This designation allows for different types of management prescriptions based on site conservation goals and needs.

Lincoln and Tillamook Marine Conservation Area is at Whale Cove.

Whale Cove is the only currently state designated Marine Conservation Area (formerly known as marine habitat refuge) in Oregon. The MCA includes “all areas in Whale Cove below extreme high tide east of a line drawn across the mouth of the cove."

Whale Cove Marine Conservation Area
Whale Cove Marine Conservation Area, photo by dawn villaescusa


The Oregon Coast Rocks!

The Oregon Coast Rocks! printable flyer [PDF]

Managing our Rocky Coast [PDF]

Frequently Asked Questions

Cape Foulweather
Cape Foulweather information sheet
Cape Foulweather: Not a Foul View (essay)
Cape Foulweather printable flyer [PDF]

Cape Lookout
Cape Lookout information sheet
Looking out for Cape Lookout (essay)
Cape Lookout printable flyer [PDF]


Five reasons to protect rocky habitats [PDF]

Five reasons to protect kelp [PDF]

Birds that rely on our Coastal Habitats

Oregon Ocean Information: Rocky Habitat Management Strategy

The Oregon Nearshore Strategy

Citizen's Guide to Oregon's Coastal Management Program
Website designed by Ernie Rose, Rose Designs, Lincoln City, Oregon. Copyright: Audubon Society of Lincoln City.