Rainbow at Haystack Rock

Friends of Haystack Rock

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Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium

This month's Creature Feature 

Stalked Tunicate 


You would be well within your rights to be taken aback by the delightfully elegant and downright odd appearance of the Stalked Tunicate. It may come as even more of a surprise to find out that not only is this "alien-like structure" an animal (and not a plant), but it is also your distant evolutionary cousin.


Stalked Tunicates belong to the same phylum as vertebrates. Though as adults they do not have a backbone, developing larvae posses a tail, a dorsal nerve cord, and a dorsal stiffening structure (not composed of bone) called the notochord. Because of this, tunicates are thought to be more closely related to vertebrates such as fish and people. They have two siphon tubes which are easily seen when the tunicate is submerged in water. The upper siphon tube (the incurrent siphon) allows the tunicate to take in seawater, extracting food and oxygen as the water passes through the creature. The lower siphon tube (the excurrent siphon) allows the spent seawater to exit the animal.


All tunicates have a long, tubular heart that is able to contract and "beat" in two opposing directions. This allows the tunicate to pump blood in one direction for about 100 beats, stop for a moment, then reverse course and begin pumping in the opposite direction. The purpose of this phenomenon is unknown and has stymied scientists for over 100 years.You can find this odd-looking creature in high-current areas all along the Oregon Coast.  


Attached to hard surfaces, the Stalked Tunicate can reach up to 12 inches in length, making it one of the largest tunicates found in intertidal waters. Though the maximum lifespan of this animal is yet to be determined, we do know that they can live for at least 3 years.  

Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium


HRAP End of Year Celebration will be held at the Cannon Beach Community Hall
207 N Spruce


You can help Friends of Haystack Rock earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!

How? It's Easy! Sign up for the Community Rewards Program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards card to Friends of Haystack Rock.You can search for us by name or by our nonprofit number
At the end of each quarter, Fred Meyer will make a donation to participating nonprofits based on the accumulated spending of the Rewards customers linked to each nonprofit.  
You still earn your reward points, fuel points and rebates just as you do today but every time you shop and use your rewards card you are helping Friends of Haystack Rock earn a donation!

and Amazon will make a donation to Friends of Haystack Rock

Friends of Haystack Rock is a non-profit organization that provides guidance and financial support for the Haystack Rock Awareness Program (HRAP) in cooperation with the City of Cannon Beach promoting the preservation and protection of the intertidal life and birds that inhabit the Marine Garden and the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge at Haystack Rock.
Friends of Haystack Rock is guided by a volunteer board of directors and advisors consisting of committed community members.

Friends of Haystack Rock
PO Box 1222
Cannon Beach, OR 97110

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During each Saturday shift for the rest for season, all the donations collected on the beach will go towards the purchase of a brand new pickup truck for HRAP. Our current vehicle is about ready to bite the dust. In order to provide the quality programs we offer, we need a reliable vehicle to get our signs, equipment, and staff down to the beach. Help us by volunteering during a Saturday shift and encouraging visitors to contribute to our fund drive. 100% of all donations go to the program. So far we have raised a little over $700.
Thank you to all who have donated!



Find us at the following participating merchants:

Cannon Beach Book Company 

Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce

Cannon Beach City Hall

Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals

Cannon Beach Yoga Arts

Center Diamond

Copies and Fax

Dogs Allowed Cannon Beach


Ocean Lodge

Seaside Aquarium

Under the Big Top Toys

The Wine Shack


On Wednesday, August 20th, the HRAP trailer, staff, and volunteers will be at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport to share information and educate visitors about Haystack Rock. Every Wednesday during August, the Aquarium hosts community groups to foster partnerships, spread awareness, and gain support for other marine education organizations. HRAP has been fortunate enough to participate in two of the events this year. On August 6th, we were stationed in front of the Aquarium welcoming visitors, handing out Seafood Watch Guides, and entertaining guests with an impromptu puppet show featuring our favorite Tufted Puffin. We've got big plans for our next visit!
You can still sign-up to join HRAP at the Oregon Coast Aquarium on Wednesday, August 20th. The agenda for the day is as follows:

7:00 AM - Meet at Cannon Beach City Hall
7:15 AM - Depart City Hall in carpool
10:00 AM - Arrive at Aquarium and set-up
11:00 AM - HRAP booth (bring your own sack lunch)
3:00 PM - Break-down and depart aquarium
4:00ish PM - Dinner at Local Ocean Seafoods (dinner is on HRAP, please bring cash for a tip)
5:30ish PM - Carpool back to City Hall
You can also meet us at the Aquarium in Newport. Wear your HRAP gear and meet us at the entrance. Please contact HRAP Volunteer Coordinator Alix Lee, [email protected], to sign-up and for more information.

The Haystack Rock Awareness Program has extended their beach schedule to cover everyday in September because of the Black Oystercatcher nest present in the lower refuge.