Santa Barbara Island
Santa Barbara Island is a small island of the Channel Islands archipelago in Southern California. It is protected within Channel Islands National Park, and its marine ecosystem is part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
With a total area of about 640 acres (2.6 km2) it is the smallest of the eight Channel Islands. It is the southern-most island in the Channel Islands National Park. The highest peak on the island is Signal Hill, at 634 feet (193 m).
While in Ventura County, the island is defined by the United States Census Bureau as Block 3012, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10 of Santa Barbara County. According to the 2000 census the island is uninhabited and has a total land area of 1.0136 square miles (2.625 km2).
Like most of the Channel Islands, it can be seen from the mainland on exceptionally clear days (usually in winter).
The steep wave-cut cliffs of its shoreline indicate that this is one of the younger Channel Islands. It exhibits at least six marine terraces; evidence of repeated tectonic uplift and subsidence (so called porpoising). Arch Point, on the north-east shore of the island is a 130 ft (40 m) arch caused by wave erosion of fault weakened rock.
Offshore, there are two named rocks: Shag Rock off the northerly shore (1-acre (4,000 m2)) and Sutil Island off the southwest end (12 acres (49,000 m2)).
The first European visitor to the Channel Islands was Portuguese explorer João Rodrigues Cabrilho in 1542. He made no specific mention of this island.
In 1852, Charles Melville Scammon, in the brig Mary Helen, hunted northern elephant seals and sea lions on Santa Barbara Island. In December 1934, the steam-schooner California spent a week anchored off the island, processing blue, fin, and sperm whales caught by her two steam-driven whale catchers Hawk and Port Saunders.
Santa Barbara Island is home to a large sea lion rookery and seabird nesting colonies. It is also home to the largest breeding colony for Xantus's Murrelet, a threatened seabird species. Xantus's murrelet is listed as vulnerable because so much of its breeding takes place on such a small and isolated island.
Santa Barbara Island live-forever (Dudleya traskiae) is a succulent plant endemic to the island. A variety of St. Catherine's lace buckwheat (Eriogonum giganteum), Eriogonum giganteum var. compactum or Santa Barbara Island buckwheat, is endemic to and particularly rare on Santa Barbara Island.
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- Flora of the Channel Islands of California
- Coastal islands of Alta and Baja California
- List of islands of California
- Block 3012, Block Group 3, Census Tract 29.10, Santa Barbara County United States Census Bureau
- "Pleistocene Paleoecology and Biostratigraphy, Santa Barbara Island, California", Jere H. Lipps, James W. Valentine, Edward Mitchell, Journal of Paleontology, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Mar., 1968), pp. 291–307
- Natural History of the Islands of California, Allan A. Schoenherr, C. Robert Feldmeth, Michael J Emerson, 1999, University of California Press
- Scammon, Marine Mammals of the North-western Coast of North America (1874), pp. 116, 118, 132–34.
- Keyes, Blubber Ship (1939), pp. 232–235.