This layer is a georeferenced raster image containing acoustic-backscatter data for the offshore area of Refugio Beach, California. The acoustic-backscatter map of the area was generated from data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS mapped this region in the summer 2008 using a 234.5 kHz SEA (AP) Ltd. SWATHplus-M phase-differencing sidescan sonar. These data were later re-processed in 2012. Within the acoustic-backscatter imagery, brighter tones indicate higher backscatter intensity, and darker tones indicate lower backscatter intensity. The intensity represents a complex interaction between the acoustic pulse and the seafloor, as well as characteristics within the shallow subsurface, providing a general indication of seafloor texture and sediment type. Backscatter intensity depends on the acoustic source level; the frequency used to image the seafloor; the grazing angle; the composition and character of the seafloor, including grain size, water content, bulk density, and seafloor roughness; and some biological cover. Harder and rougher bottom types such as rocky outcrops or coarse sediment typically return stronger intensities (high backscatter, lighter tones), whereas softer bottom types such as fine sediment return weaker intensities (low backscatter, darker tones). A map that show these data are published in Scientific Investigations Map 3319, "California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Refugio Beach, California." This layer is part of USGS Data Series 781. In 2007, the California Ocean Protection Council initiated the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) to create a comprehensive seafloor map of high-resolution bathymetry, marine benthic habitats and geology within the 3-nautical-mile limit of California's State Waters. CSMP has divided coastal California into 110 map blocks, each to be published individually as United States Geological Survey Open-File Reports (OFRs) or Scientific Investigations Maps (SIMs) at a scale of 1:24,000. Maps display seafloor morphology and character, identify potential marine benthic habitats and illustrate both the seafloor geology and shallow (to about 100 m) subsurface geology. Data layers for bathymetry, bathymetric contours, acoustic backscatter, seafloor character, potential benthic habitat and offshore geology were created for each map block, as well as regional-scale data layers for sediment thickness, depth to transition, transgressive contours, isopachs, predicted distributions of benthic macro-invertebrates and visual observations of benthic habitat from video cruises over the entire state. This coverage can be used to to aid in assessments and mitigation of geologic hazards in the coastal region and to provide sufficient geologic information for land-use and land-management decisions both onshore and offshore. These data are intended for science researchers, students, policy makers, and the general public. This information is not intended for navigational purposes.The data can be used with geographic information systems (GIS) software to display geologic and oceanographic information. Dartnell, P., Phillips, E.L., Finlayson, D.P. (2015). Backscatter: Offshore of Refugio Beach, California, 2015. California State Waters Map Series Data Catalog: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 781. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/pb804hy8483. Information for the related USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center data collection field activities, S-8-08-SC online at http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/infobank/s/s808sc/html/s-8-08-sc.meta.html. This layer is presented in the WGS84 coordinate system for web display purposes. Downloadable data are provided in native coordinate system or projection.