Younger Lagoon Reserve is located on the California central coast near the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. YLR typically experiences wet, cool winters and dry, warm summers with significant summer fog. Winds generally come from the northwest in summer and from the south in winter storms.
The lagoon is vulnerable to fluctuating water conditions throughout the year and can even dry out under certain conditions. The lagoon’s salinity level and water level both vary throughout the year, and these qualities in turn affect the animals and plants that live in and around the lagoon. The pictures below show the seasonal difference in water level that the lagoon experiences.

Winter rains can dramatically raise the water level in the lagoon. This picture was taken in January, 2003.


The water level in the lagoon was relatively low when this
picture was taken in October, 2004.


The lagoon is present most of the year because of a sand berm that develops on the beach and acts as a barrier between the lagoon and the ocean. When winter storms raise the water level in the lagoon high enough, however, the berm is breached and a brief exchange of saltwater and freshwater occurs. On rare occaisons the sand berm is washed away entirely by a storm and the lagoon drains much of its water into the ocean.