Projects and Research

Three Arch Rocks provides researchers with a unique opportunity to study wildlife populations and secluded habitat largely outside of direct human influence. See how the refuge is contributing to our scientific understanding of seabird populations along the Oregon Coast. 

Seabird Surveys

Each year, Oregon Coast Complex staff conduct seabird surveys through aerial photography and near-shore boat surveys.

Three Arch Rocks is just one of more than 200 sites coastwide that are photographed as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s surveying of Oregon’s nesting seabirds. Seabirds use sea stacks, offshore islands, and precarious rocky cliffs like those of Three Arch Rocks Refuge to nest and raise their young. For the aerial surveys, Service employees don bright orange flight suits and helmets, grab their cameras, and hop in a helicopter to fly from Astoria to the California border, snapping images of each of Oregon’s seabird colonies. This data is then used to approximate populations of five seabird species which nest atop the rocks and cliffs. The Service has been collecting data these via these surveys since the 1970s.


Coastwide Tufted Puffin Survey