Cordell Bank: Blue Water Oasis

Just 50 miles north of San Francisco, California, is an offshore oasis for marine life above and below the surface. The combination of ocean conditions from the prevailing California current and undersea topography creates a rich and diverse marine community.

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary was established in 1989 to protect and preserve this extraordinary marine ecosystem. The sanctuary covers nearly 400 square nautical miles. This region is a destination feeding area for migratory seabirds and marine mammals that travel from around the Pacific to feed in these nutrient rich waters.

The centerpiece of the sanctuary is Cordell Bank, an underwater granitic rocky reef at the edge of the continental shelf. The bank emerges from the soft sediments of the continental shelf, with the upper pinnacles reaching to within 115 feet of the ocean’s surface. This rocky area serves as a unique refuge for invertebrates that thrive on the bank, and provides habitat and food for over 150 species of fish.

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System manages 14 specific marine areas that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

This film is narrated by Dr. Tierney Thys and Produced by Kip Evans of Mountain and Sea Productions for NOAA’s Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

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