Point Reyes National Seashore Forced to Truck in Water for Elk Amid Drought

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

Point Reyes National Seashore is currently trucking in water for its elk population due to a severe drought situation. It’s for the tule elk that happen to roam around Tomales Point. This is a major draw for visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore. These elk usually get their water from creeks and even old stock ponds in the Marin County park. Still, there is a drought going on that has been for three years. What this has done is cause those sources of water to run now. This is the same thing that happened last year before they were replenished by the fall and winter rain.

Park officials, in order to satiate the elk, are hard at work refilling tanks. They supply seven water troughs that were placed last year in areas where the animals typically go to quench their thirst. There are float valves affixed to the thoughts. That is done to ensure a steady supply of water. The water gets trucked to the tanks as long as the area creeks and ponds remain dry.

Concern Grows That Elk Herd Numbers Might Continue To Decline

As for the group of elk at Tomales Point, which is ringed by the Pacific Ocean, Tomales Bay and fencing are put up to contain the animals. This has been historically the largest of three herds in the national seashore. Back in December, though, there were 221 elk in the herd. That happens to be the lowest count in recent memory. It’s also a substantial drop from the two-decade average of about 400.

What is the concern? It is that herd numbers could continue to decline. That’s because of the lack of water and sufficient forage. Previously, the herd’s low point was in 2015 at about 280 elk, which was also an extraordinarily dry time. This is according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Meanwhile, wildlife advocates have sued the park as of last year for not doing more to assist the elk throughout the drought. There are two other herds in the park, around Limantour and Drakes beaches. They are not as contained as the Tomales Point elk. Also, they do not face the same water woes. About 600 elk total happen to live in the national seashore. One time, tule elk lived across much of Central and Northern California before they almost plummeted to extinction. Today, about 6,000 reside in the state. Will the water bring brought in help the elk in need? That’s certainly the hope out in this area of California. It’s quite apparent that the elk mean a lot to this park. So, taking care of them during this drought is a solid idea.