Eureka Dunes

Area: Eureka Dunes Preserve contains 80 acres in the city of Samoa in Humboldt County, California.

Location: Eureka Dunes Preserve is located on the North Spit of Humboldt Bay, separating the ocean from Humboldt Bay.  The Preserve is also adjacent to the Samoa Dunes Recreation Area.

Date Acquired: 1996

Acquisition Type: The City of Eureka owns the Preserve and Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) holds a conservation easement. The Nature Conservancy previously held the conservation easement.

Key Habitats: Coastal Scrub, Perennial Grassland, Freshwater / Aquatic Wetland

Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Humboldt Bay wallflower (Menzies’ wallflower) (Erysimum menziesii ssp. eurekense)


In 1983, the Humboldt County Area Plan was amended to rezone 130 acres (from Public Recreation to Coastal Dependent Industry) of dune habitat located on city property. As the condition of the rezoning, the Coastal Commission required that the 80-acre property (now the Preserve) be set aside as a dune restoration study area to mitigate for future impacts to dune resources.

Habitat for two federally-listed endangered plants species, Humboldt Bay wallflower (Erysimum menziesii ssp. eurekense) and beach layia (Layia carnosa) on the North Spit of Humboldt Bay had been severely degraded by coastal development, inappropriate off highway vehicle (OHV) riding, and encroachment of invasive exotic plant species. The primary goal of the Preserve was to protect habitat for these species and the sensitive habitat they occupy.

Conservation Significance

The Preserve is part of an extensive dune system and consists of semi-stable dunes. Vegetation types present include dune mat, herbaceous and woody dune hollows, and dune grass, as well as types dominated by invasive exotic species, including yellow bush lupine (Lupinus arboreus) and iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis and hybrids with C. chilensis). The federally-listed Humboldt Bay wallflower existson site in the sensitive dune mat communities.

Our Work

Management is the responsibility of the City of Eureka. The long-term and primary  goals for eurekadunes2the Preserve include: protection from unregulated access including off-road vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, general trampling, and refuse from camping, target shooting, and dumping;  restoration and enhancement of the Preserve to maintain the sensitive habitats and listed species; and removal of non-native invasive plant species.

CNLM holds a conservation easement over the Preserve and is responsible for monitoring, enforcement, and defense of the Preserve to ensure that the sensitive habitats and species are protected in perpetuity.

Public Access

Due to the vulnerability of the species and habitats that exist on this Preserve, it is not open to the public.


For information about Eureka Dunes Preserve or Center for Natural Lands Management please contact Cathy Little, Regional Preserve Manager at or 760.731.7790 extension 209.