Off the southern Oregon coast. This area changes in size and location (due to seasonal and annual changes in wind and current patterns), but is generally located within 25 miles west of Cape Blanco and south up to 50 miles. This area has relatively consistent winds and a physical obstruction to ocean currents (Cape Blanco) that combine to create the most dependable and nutrient-rich upwellings away from the immediate coastline on the Oregon coast. When this nutrient-rich water is brought to the ocean surface (upwelling), a diverse community of marine life is supported by its bounty.

Ornithological Summary

This area has some of the highest concentrations of seabirds in the California Current System (CCS). Because of the consistency of the upwelling at this site, the area may be particularly important during segments of climatic cycles when marine food resources are relatively scarce along the West Coast.
From Briggs et al. 1992: "Several sections of the upper continental slope seemed to support substantial numbers of albatrosses more consistently than others: . . . the slope off Cape Blanco."

From Ainley et al. 2005: "The high seabird density in the Heceta Bank and Cape Blanco areas indicates them to be refuges contrasting the low seabird densities currently found in most other parts of the CCS, following decline during the recent warm regime of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation." And, "Given that the Sooty Shearwater, by far the most abundant species in the CCS (and which contributes immensely to overall biomass), declined by 90% in the CCS since 1976..., our results are surprising. We expected to encounter significantly fewer numbers and biomass than was present, as we have noted in central California studies.... It is possible that in addition to their overall decline in the CCS, the shearwaters have become more confined to those regions that still provide high food availability. If so, the areas around Cape Blanco and Heceta Bank have apparently retained their importance to seabirds regardless of the apparent overall decline of zooplankton and presumably micronekton in the CCS...."


The area of upwelling west and south of Cape Blanco isn't precisely fixed, but is consistently within 25 miles off the coast and south up to 50 miles. Within this area, state and federal agencies are the primary authorities. Within 3 miles of the shoreline (including 3 miles around the Orford Reef)
is state territorial sea. A variety of agencies manage various aspects of
the waters, resources and the bottom. Contact Bob Bailey ( with the state of Oregon for more detail. Beyond 3 miles is Federal jurisdiction with the oil gas and minerals managed by MMS, fisheries by NOAA-Fisheries etc. Bob can help you with understanding the Federal side as well.

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