Martin Dunes | Marina

News Alert!  Montage Health land donation to Big Sur Land Trust enhances conservation of sensitive dunes habitat in Marina (Press Release)

Want to experience Martin Dunes? Volunteer for a stewardship day out on the dunes or join a guided hike! View guided hikes and stewardship events here.

Martin Dunes is an important component of protected sand dune ecosystems along the arc of the Monterey Bay State Seashore. Since 2000, BSLT has protected 125 acres at Martin Dunes adjacent to the USFWS Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge on the Monterey Bay coastline. The sandy dunes closest to the beach serve as ideal habitats for snowy plovers and are protected from human disturbance, dogs, horses, hunting, etc.

Stewardship strategies are paying off

Successful dune restoration efforts implemented by Big Sur Land Trust make Martin Dunes a model for land stewardship in coastal habitats. Part of the Monterey Bay Dunes Complex – the largest coastal dune system in California, with a high concentration of rare, threatened, and endangered species – Martin Dunes is considered some of the best quality remaining dune habitat within this landscape.

Over the past 10 years, BSLT has implemented long-term stewardship strategies at Martin Dunes to restore the natural dune habitat. Since 2009, the removal of invasive plants has been a priority. As a result, the infestation of ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis), European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria), and ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus) has been significantly reduced, which has allowed native flora and fauna to thrive. Removing these non-native plants directly benefits the snowy plovers nesting on the dunes, as well as several other threatened and endangered species unique to the Monterey Bay Area.

In 2012, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognized Big Sur Land Trust for the success of this dune restoration project. In 2019 and 2020, the USFWS funded a grant to BSLT for extensive monitoring and mapping of special status species. The buckwheat host plants for federally endangered Smith’s blue butterfly and other rare plants were carefully identified and mapped.

Protected species found on or near the property include:

  • Western snowy plover
  • Smith’s blue butterfly
  • Monterey spineflower
  • Monterey gilia
  • California legless lizard
  • California least tern
  • Yadon’s wallflower