Alameda Point Environmental Report: California Brown Pelicans roosting at Alameda Point, October 22, 2012
The successful recovery effort for the once endangered California brown pelican is evident every summer through fall on Breakwater Island, an area which forms the beginning of the Alameda Point Channel leading to the ship docks and Seaplane Lagoon. The breakwater is a wall of boulders built up from the Bay floor to reduce wave action in the harbor.
California brown pelicans were listed as an endangered species in 1970. The pesticide DDT was identified as the cause of their decline. It caused reproductive harm, and altered the birds’ calcium absorption, which led to thin eggshells that would break under the parents’ weight. Use of DDT was banned in the United States 1972.
A recovery effort was launched in the 1970s on Channel Islands National Park off the coast of Santa Barbara. The only breeding colonies of California brown pelicans in the western United States are within Channel Islands National Park on West Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands.