Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve


Cape Perpetua

Cape Perpetua by                                              

Just the Facts

Location: The Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve is situated along the central coast between the towns of Yachats and Florence.

Access Points:  There are 6-8 waysides, state parks and US Forest Service managed recreational areas shoreside of this reserve. Cape Perpetua Visitor Center and top of Cape Perpetua offer the best views of the entire reserve.

Management Plan (in development - projected completion Spring 2015)
Cape Perpetua Regulations - Harvest restrictions in effect since January 2014

Marine Compliance Reserve Video

Cape Perpetua Brochure (ODFW)

Cape Perpetua Map (ODFW)

Marine Reserve Boundary 

Habitat and Wildlife

The largest in Oregon’s Marine Reserve network, this reserve covers 14.1 square miles of ocean habitat. There are three Marine Protected Areas that include 18.8 square miles. The reserve and MPAs are joined terrestrially by some of the most protected and outstanding old growth coastal rainforest. The region has been identified as the Central Coast Marbled Murrelet Important Bird Area. The US Fish and Wildlife Service notes it has the state’s highest concentration of ESA-listed murrelets. The small but productive Cape Perpetua Reef Complex within this site hosts a diversity of rockfish species, including copper, vermillion and quillback rockfish. There are 15 seabird nesting colonies, including the largest mainland breeding colony of Brandt’s cormorants in the Pacific at Heceta Head.

The large rocky promontories of Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head, the productive ocean waters and expansive sandy seafloor environments, mark a unique transition from the nearshore rocky reefs to the north off Seal Rock and the subtidal reefs and kelp forests to south at Cape Arago. Between the energetic intertidal habitats and the deeper and stable offshore habitats on the shelf, this nearshore area hosts diverse communities of invertebrates, important forage species, such as sand lance, crabs, flatfishes, and sharks, as well as foraging seabirds and marine mammals. The small, but productive, Cape Perpetua Reef Complex within this site hosts a diversity of rockfish species. This remote and productive area is one of Oregon's natural treasures.

Cool Stuff!

Check out the army of thousands of juvenile Dungeness crab on the sandy bottom habitat of the ocean off Tokatee State Park in the Cape Perpetua Southeast Marine Protected Area.

Seabird Monitoring at Cape Perpetua Marine Protected Area - A Citizen Science Project

seabird poster

The Land-Sea Connection: A unique characteristic of the Cape Perpetua/Heceta Head area is its connection to protected state lands and wilderness areas on shore and its connection with Important Ecological Areas offshore on the continental shelf, particularly Heceta Bank. Marine population connectivity plays a fundamental role in population and community dynamics, population structure, genetic diversity, and the resiliency of populations in response to human exploitation.


Special Features in the Vicinity of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve


Breeding Origins of Seabirds Foraging in the California Current System Off California


black and yellow rockfish
marbeled murrelet


harbor seal
Photos: Left - Black and yellow rockfish. Photo credit: Robert Todd. Top right - Marbeled murrelet. Photo credit: Tom Johnson. Lower right - Harbor seal. Photo credit: Brett Cole.         


The Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership is a fiscally sponsored project of The Ocean Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.