Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Begg Rock State Marine Reserve

Begg Rock, a small pinnacle jutting up around 15 feet from the ocean’s surface, may not look like much to the passing eye, but below the surface its marine life is abundant. Located about eight miles northwest of San Nicolas Island and nearly 60 miles from the Southern California mainland, it is by definition “remote.” Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Begg Rock State Marine Reserve”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area

Carmel Bay SMCA
Looking north along the beach at Carmel Bay SMCA
CDFW photo by L. Gatlin

Carmel Bay has been a vacation destination for decades, but there is more to this area than picturesque views. Just offshore are some of California’s most amazing ocean habitats, which are protected within the Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area

Ten Mile River Bridge
Ten Mile River Bridge crossing Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area
CDFW photo by L. Lopez

The sand dunes, river, and beach at Ten Mile Beach State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are an enticing draw for people staying at MacKerricher State Park. Located off Highway 1 north of Fort Bragg, this marine protected area (MPA) is clearly a special place for beach walks and bird watching.  

What you may not realize is that Ten Mile Beach SMCA has an inland neighbor, Ten Mile Estuary SMCA, that can be found by simply turning away from the ocean to face inland, up the winding Ten Mile River. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Ten Mile Estuary State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Asilomar State Marine Reserve

Asilomar SMR
Asilomar State Marine Reserve
CDFW photo by T. Heitzenrater

After taking a virtual walk along Monterey Bay’s Coastal Recreation Trail through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s blog series Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas, this article continues the walk to Asilomar State Marine Reserve (SMR). Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Asilomar State Marine Reserve”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Russian Gulch State Marine Conservation Area

Russian Gulch SMCA
Russian Gulch State Marine Conservation Area
photo by C. Shen

Imagine a place along the California coast where redwood trees and ferns stand peacefully, securely rooted in the soil. Beneath the adjacent turquoise waters, kelp and other seaweeds are firmly attached to the rocky seabed, swaying and swirling with the churning of the ocean. A visit to Russian Gulch State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and Russian Gulch State Park, located just two miles north of the charming coastal town of Mendocino, brings this vision to life.

Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Russian Gulch State Marine Conservation Area”