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

Hopkin's rose nudibranch
Montara State Marine Reserve is an excellent place to find many different species of tiny sea slugs, such as this Hopkins rose nudibranch.
photo by R. Cala

Summer temperatures in California’s land-locked central valley can soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, forcing residents to take refuge in their air-conditioned homes. Another popular way to beat the heat is to visit the coast near San Francisco, where billows of silvery fog and a cool, salt-soaked breeze beckon visitors during the summer months. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Montara State Marine Reserve”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Lovers Point-Julia Platt State Marine Reserve

Monterey beckons to people who love the seaside. Families, kayakers, divers, and photographers flock to its breathtaking ocean views, historic charm, and easy coastal access. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Lovers Point-Julia Platt State Marine Reserve”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Submarine Canyon Habitats

Deep and mysterious waters lie just off California’s coast, sometimes within a stone’s throw of the beach. A millennium of tectonic forces, and more recent geologic forces like ice ages and erosion have brought these present-day deep ocean habitats, called submarine canyons, to our coastal doorstep. Exotic ocean life and biological diversity abound in these deep canyons. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Submarine Canyon Habitats”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area

The Point Arena Lighthouse is a popular landmark to visit along California’s picturesque Mendocino Coast. Standing 115 feet above the flat coastal prairie, the lighthouse rises from the headland’s edge, bravely overlooking the pounding waves below. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area

Big River Estuary SMCA
Kayaker at Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area
photo by L. Kashiwada

Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a small marine protected area located just south of the town of Mendocino. It covers less than a quarter square mile of estuary habitat along 1.3 miles of riverbank east of the Highway 1 bridge. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Big River Estuary State Marine Conservation Area”