Mile 306 Report

January 2, 2017
by Frankie

Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
Monday 12:00 AM
34° F
Calm/Light from the NW
Tide Level:
8.2 ft
Humans / Pets:
No one on the beach. Even at low tide, no sand visible, and the rock berm is steep and slick. Our observations were taken on the cliffs above the water.
Apparent Violations:
Activity Comments:
Many vehicles parked at short-term rental houses, but none at beach access points.
Notable Wildlife:
Dead Birds:
Fish & Invertebrates:
Small rocks·Kelp or Algae·Wood pieces·Styrofoam·Ocean-based debris (from fishing boats, ship trash, etc.)
Lots of marine debris has come in in the last month, more than in any of the previous months of 2016.
New Development:
Drainage pipes
Because the cliffs in the central part of the Cove are actively eroding, we can see white seep pipes and a few black septic drainage pipes.
New riprap or shoreline protection structures
* No modifications as yet, however a few ocean front homeowners are discussing ways to reinforce the cliffs from wave action. Several suggested improvements are illegal though I don't think the owners actually know that.
Natural Changes:
Landslides/major boulder falls·Major cracks appearing in bluffs·Newly exposed roots/trees falling·Visible retreat of solid bluff·Evidence of wave overtopping
The central section of Cove Beach seriously eroded this past year. One set of steps was washed away in spring. The second set was rescued at the last minute before being swept away. (These are heavy 20-ft long pressured treated planks, secured to the cliff by bolts and ropes.) Currently, that public access is unusable.

In 2015, we saw the highest accummulation of sand in 50 years. We were able to walk on dry sand on the WEST side of the offshore rocks. In 2016, that dramatically changed to the lowest sand levels in 50 years. The sand disappeared. Basalt rocks which buffer the cliffs from the ocean waves were washed out in several places (mostly in a 300 yard swath in the middle of the Cove.) Sandstone bedrock was exposed below the unconsolidated silts and clay. To strengthen the "geology in action" sensation, logs and stumps from the 1700 earthquake came into view as the waves pounded the banks. The strong El Nino appeared to change current patterns; more debris came in on the tides, notably a tsunami skiff, and a dead whale.  

Naturally homeowners were concerned about cliff erosion. Renters were upset they couldn't easily access the beach. And at high tide, many of us deemed the beach too hazardous to walk on, even in summer. We can report at least a dozen tense exchanges with visitors who, unfamiliar with the danger, allowed their kids and pets to play in the water. The rip currents were particularly impressive this year.

HOWEVER, while battering ocean waves really get people's attention, the bigger problem isn't as easily recognized. With 90+ homes in the Cove (up from 20 houses 15 yrs ago), almost all on septic or sand-filter systems, sub-surface ground water levels have increased a lot. Combined with wetter storm events, the increased water runoff actually caused most of the cliff erosion we saw this year. Once the rainy season started, our french drains were full all the time. At our home, we installed rain barrels not to conserve water but to direct it away from the house. Understanding our soils and adopting water usage guidelines is a conversation our community needs to have. 




No one on the beach due to heavy surf. No notable wildlife sightings. Biggest issue is cliff erosion from both wave action and sub-surface water runoff.

Other Mile 306 Reports (31)


September 30, 2022 - Fire Mountain School
Today was our first CoastWatch beach survey. We found seven skate egg cases on the beach, all dead. Lots and lots of small silver fish; they all had tiny holes in their body. There were two dead...
July 2, 2022 - jkcornelius
  • Beached dead grey whale
June 29, 2022 - jkcornelius
An eagle was obtaining breakfast from Gull Rock. As he approached the rock from above there was a terrible outcry from all the birds as they left the rock. When he landed on the rock it became...


November 8, 2021 - jkcornelius
These observations were made over the last 3 months walking the beach at different times of day but not keeping a record which I will try to start.
  • Salmon Shark


August 8, 2019 - Frankie
Numerous violations observed, including campfire in unsafe location and harvesting tidepool organisms in the marine reserve.  There has been an uptick in problematic activity on the mile due to more...
July 13, 2019 - Frankie
36 people and 11 dogs on mile 306 at low tide. 7 surfers, a higher number than usual. Adult bald eagle. Continuing bluff erosion.


May 10, 2018 - Frankie
New slides on cliff. These are most likely caused by groundwater movement, not wave action.
  • slides
April 3, 2018 - Frankie
Wave erosion down to sandstone bedrock.
  • sandstone bedrock
January 23, 2018 - Frankie
At 1:30am, our NOAA radio announced a tsunami watch for the Oregon coast, predicting a possible tsunami at 5:10am in our area. We immediately started packing up necessities for an extended stay away...


December 31, 2017 - Frankie
The afternoon low tide -- and mild weather -- on New Year's Eve brought out 40 people (and 3 dogs) on to Cove Beach, mile 306. They were walking, taking photos, crabbing, playing on the sand, and...
September 20, 2017 - Frankie
  • beacon close-up
July 24, 2017 - Frankie
Everything OK. No new erosion.
May 20, 2017 - Frankie
April 6, 2017 - Frankie
Continuing bluff erosion, some from waves undercutting, but mostly from subsurface water runoff.


September 17, 2016 - Frankie
Update on the whale which washed up Friday evening: It appears to be a sub-adult humpbacked whale. Its flippers measured +- 7ft so it was approximately 21 ft long. Its tail was missing. When it...
September 17, 2016 - Volunteer Trainer
Update on the whale which washed up Friday evening: It appears to be a sub-adult humpbacked whale. Its flippers measured +- 7ft so it was approximately 21 ft long. Its tail was missing. When it...
July 21, 2016 - Frankie
Exciting news from Mile 306! An overturned boat encrusted with pelagic barnacles came ashore. A Falcon Cove Beach resident photographed its arrival. Since it showed up, scientists and state park...
April 11, 2016 - Frankie
Mile 306's main public access washed away w/in the last month. Beach sand retreat has been enormous this winter. (Sand is visible at low tide on Mile 307.) Underlying sandstone is exposed in several...
  • cliff collapse, the lower half of the access stairs washed away. the cliff hasn't stabilized.
  • As the cliff faces are being scoured, buried trees are showing up. Note stratification: tree in unconsolidated soil, silt, sand; gray clay; sandstone.
  • basalt & sandstone
January 3, 2016 - Frankie
A beautiful way to start 2016: having a two-mile long all to ourselves on a mild winter day. Sand and rocks scoured clean from recent storms. Driftline high up on rocks filled with logs and bull kelp...
  • dumped debris, Tillamook County, Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
  • looking north on mile 306


December 2, 2015 - Volunteer Trainer
Orcas feeding off the beach 2 for sure, at least 1 and maybe 2 more, orcas were chasing sea lions just beyond the breakers. Sea lions were porpoising, surfing, and scattering like crazy. Saw the...
November 9, 2015 - Frankie
Visitors in the neighborhood reported a bird entangled in fishing line with a big hook embedded in its shoulder. They managed to remove most of the line but couldn't remove the hook. Brave souls for...
  • cormorant bird with fishing hook in shoulder, Oregon coast
November 2, 2015 - Frankie
Just in time for Halloween: red and pink weird-slightly-creepy-looking finger-sized worms. All over the drift line. Alive. Thanks to Fawn Custer for identifying them as PEANUT WORMS. Can't decide if...
  • peanut worms, Tillamook County, Cove Beach south, Tillamook-Clatsop county line
  • peanut worms on beach
September 17, 2015 - Frankie
Surf rough, tide going out. Sub-adult gulls feeding in the receding waves, "kneading" the wet sand with their feet to bring up mole crabs. Pelicans beginning to gather; 25 on the rocks on mile 307; 3...
August 31, 2015 - Frankie
After the storm, the beach was scoured clean. All the changes listed in the August 29 dispatch had disappeared.The sand on the beach was smooth. No washed up logs. Very little detritus.
July 4, 2015 - Frankie
On 4th of July, Falcon Beach was crowded with 40 people and 18 dogs -- at least by our standards. Most people were visitors. The access point nearest my house had 9 vehicles, leaving little room for...
April 19, 2015 - Frankie
13 razor clammers.
April 18, 2015 - Frankie
Clam tide, though surf was rough so few clams were gotten.
April 14, 2015 - Frankie
Observed an adult, breeding plumage Brown Pelican standing on the rocks early this AM. After several hrs, called Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Joshua & Bradley arrived from Astoria early PM...
April 12, 2015 - Frankie
Apparent tsumani debris
  • Living organisms - barnacles
April 11, 2015 - Frankie
Velella velella all over


July 6, 2012 - torythompson
Picked up styrofoam, yellow foam, japanese food foil wrapper and an aerosol can with japanese writing.