Monday, July 06, 2015

Barnum Point

Thousands of years of wave action has carved off the southeasterly face of this glacial ridge, creating a beautiful high bluff. A thick till drapes the ridge, with outwash sand and gravel below. The relatively straight line of the bluff faces directly down Port Susan, or pretty close to it, making this a nice example of a swash-aligned bluff (something we also see in other places around the Sound). 


Eroding till inevitably leaves behind cobble and boulders. Some is on the beach, but there were also clearly some very large rocks far offshore (some just barely breaking the surface during the paddle and creating some wonderful little rips where the current was fast).

The eagles were out in force - although they seemed to be too intent on watching me than to actually be catching any fish. There were at least four - and there may have been more but they all looked the same to me and I wasn't sure I was double counting.

Increasing recognition of the importance of eroding bluffs in the overall formation of beaches and spits on Puget Sound has resulted in some significant conservation purchases in the last few years. In the past, coastal conservation acquisitions were mainly focused on salt marsh and estuarine habitat, so it's neat to see beaches and even bluffs getting attention. Not only are these bluffs geologically and ecologically significant, they are iconic Puget Sound landscapes.

Barnum Point is one of the more recent examples of this:
Barnum Point (Nature Conservancy)

For another example, check out Lily Point on Point Roberts.

No comments: