Santa Rosa Island Research Station-Closed until further notice in Response to COVID-19

"The Research Station, its a good place to start from, let's go plant some plants." - Ken N.
On November 1, 2012 Channel Islands National Park granted CI a special use permit to create and develop the CI Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS). CI and the National Park Service (NPS) immediately began improving the existing physical infrastructure and, in collaboration with a wide variety of community partners, developed a strategic plan to provide and support future research, education, and outreach activities. We now operate under a long-term Cooperative Agreement between the National Park Service and CSU Channel Islands. The research station can accommodate up to 36 individuals and provide physical and logistical support for a variety of activities.   

SRIRS Annual Reports


2014-15 Annual Report (PDF, 243K)

2015-16 Annual Report (PDF, 976K)

2016-17 Annual Report (PDF, 1.1M)

2017-18 Annual Report (PDF, 1.6 MB)

2018-19 Annual Report (PDF, 505K) 

2019-20 Annual Report (PDF, 2.2M)


Island Description      

The island contains significant natural and cultural resources , which include threatened and endangered plants and animals, fragile and irreplaceable archaeological resources (including burial sites), and important geological and paleontological specimens. Santa Rosa Island measures about 10 by 15 miles (16 by 24 km) and is 84 square miles (217 km2) in area.  About three miles (5 km) separate Santa Rosa Island from San Miguel Island to the west and Santa Cruz Island lies 5 miles (9 km) to the east. The western part of Santa Rosa Island is low and sandy, closely resembling San Miguel Island. The eastern half is topographically diverse, with gently rolling hills cut by deep canyons, rising in the central part of the island to a group of rounded peaks over 1500 ft (457 m) in elevation (Schoenherr et al. 1999, Natural History of the Islands of California). For more information about Santa Rosa Island geology and topography, please visit the Geologic Maps Foundation website.  The island's rich cultural and natural resources date back tens of thousands of years and include important ancient artifacts and discoveries that continue to help us understand the world around us. 

Human History of Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island’s rich natural and cultural history provides unparalleled opportunities for researchers and educators. Although the earliest date of human arrival on the Northern Channel Islands is not known with certainty, radiocarbon dating places humans on Santa Rosa Island for more than 13,000 years. Wima, the name given to the island by its first human inhabitants,  was home to the Chumash until approximately 1820, resulting in thousands of significant and federally protected archaeological sites throughout the island. In addition to the native Chumash, who occupied the island the longest, European explorers, Aleut sea otter hunters, Chinese abalone fisherman, Spanish missionaries, Mexican and American Ranchers, and the US military have all occupied Santa Rosa Island. Access to Santa Rosa Island was limited until the National Park Service purchased the island in 1986. As a member of the Channel Islands National Park, and now with the establishment of the CI Santa Rosa Island Research Station, many aspects of the island’s unique ecology, archaeology, and geology are currently the subject of innovative research projects and educational curriculum.  

*Photos courtesy of Monica Pereira and Aspen Coty
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