Sandy beaches and lagoons offer a dynamic arena for the interaction of marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Coastal Southern California national parks. Sandy beaches harbor high densities of detritus, infauna, and macro-invertebrates that supply food and habitat for both marine and terrestrial organisms. Many bird species utilize sand beaches as nesting and foraging habitat. Terrestrial mammals and birds prey and scavenge on sand beach organisms. All these organisms in turn play a vital role in the functioning ecosystem we classify as sandy beaches. Sand beaches are utilized by a wide variety of species for feeding, resting, and breeding. Sea and shorebirds feed on beach macrofauna, snowy plovers breed on beaches, pinnipeds haul out to rest and molt on island beaches, and people enjoy the solitude and sweeping vistas of wilderness beaches. Coastal lagoons are a rare resource in Southern California yet they play an important role for spawning fish and breeding waterfowl.

  • Sandy beaches are a major component of the intertidal region of the northern Channel Islands. On Santa Rosa Island, sandy beaches make up approximately 30 km of shoreline, encompassing a wide variety of exposures and beach types.