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Fast Facts

Administering Campus: UC Santa Barbara

Established: 1970

Location: Goleta, Santa Barbara County, 4 miles west of the UCSB campus.

Size: 170 acres, owned by UC.

Site Elevation: Sea level to 50 ft m above mean sea level 

Average Precipitation: 38 cm (15 in.) per year

Temperatures Range:
August maximum: 24ºC (75ºF)
January minimum: 6ºC (42ºF)

One of the best remaining examples of a coastal-strand environment in Southern California, the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve protects a wide variety of coastal and estuarine habitats. Largely undisturbed coastal dunes support a rich assemblage of dune vegetation and have become a nesting site for the threatened Snowy Plover.

In the heart of the reserve, Devereux Slough is a seasonally flooded tidal lagoon that dries out in the summer to form salt flats and hypersaline ponds and channels. A variety of intertidal habitats occur along the sandy beach and the large rocky reef at the point. The intertidal and subtidal zones at Coal Oil Point are protected as part of the Campus Point Marine Protected Area (MPA). Thousands of migratory birds visit throughout the year. Coal Oil Point Reserve is part of Audubon's designated Goleta Coast Important Bird Area (IBA).

Located adjacent to the Santa Barbara campus, the reserve provides a unique and accessible research and teaching resource. It is used by many university courses for field studies. The reserve is also used and enjoyed by students on field trips, birders, and the general public.


The mission of the Natural Reserve System is to contribute to the understanding and wise management of the Earth and its natural systems by supporting university-level teaching, research and public service at protected natural areas throughout California.