The Island Inventory

The island inventory is easily the largest project with which the Farallon Islands Foundation has been involved to date. FIF Chairman Dick Spight spearheaded this multi-year effort to photograph the north, east, south and west sides of all 243 salt water islands from Canada to Mexico. It took 7 years, thousands of photographs, nearly 5,000 nautical miles on the Oceanographic Research Vessel Blitzen, two sets of professional boat crews and two dockside computer programmers along with several researchers to get it done.

County records have been scoured by computer as well as staff at the county seats for latitude, longitude, size and location. And when an island has only one owner we provided that information as well.

The Inventory has many potential uses. One of importance for ornithology is to identify and locate islands that are suitable for re-introduction of bird species such as was done on Egg Island in Maine where Atlantic Puffins were re-introduced in the 1970s.

Possibly the most valuable biotic real estate points on the planet are where rivers reach the sea and islands. Man long ago took over the former so we must limit man’s use of islands to the extent we can in order to reduce the rapid rate of wildlife extinctions. Islands, for many species of birds, animals and plants, have become the place of their last refuge.

Below is an example of the County data.

Here are examples of the pictures taken:

The Oceanographic Research Vessel Blitzen traveled over 5,000 miles to make the Pacific Coast Island Inventory possible.

There are many defintions of an island. However, for the purposes of this inventory, our defintion is a named island that is a body of land entirely surrounded by salt water at mean high tide.