Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area

Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area as seen from the water.
photo by E. Johnston

Along the coast of San Luis Obispo County between Morro Bay and Pismo Beach lies a scenic and sparsely populated stretch of shoreline. In 2007, a portion of the undersea and tidal habitats off the coast was designated for protection from fishing as part of California’s network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs). Point Buchon State Marine Reserve (SMR) protects all marine resources from take, starting at the mean high tide line and extending offshore. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area

Overlooking Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area
Overlooking Saunders Reef SMCA
CDFW photo by S. Worden

From its gravel- and boulder-strewn shoreline, to the craggy bedrock of the intertidal that extends to an offshore reef and surrounding stands of bull kelp, Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a location prized for its highly complex, diverse, and productive habitats. Saunders Reef SMCA and its regulations were adopted in 2010 by the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) as part of California’s globally recognized Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network. It is one of the 124 marine protected areas (MPAs) established statewide from 2004 to 2012 during the implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act. Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Egg (Devil’s Slide) Rock to Devil’s Slide Special Closure

view of Egg Rock from the mainland
View of Egg Rock from the mainland
photo by P. Gonzales

In 1986, a devastating oil spill wiped out an entire population of more than 3,000 common murres nesting on Egg Rock off the coast of San Mateo County. But this restoration story has a happy ending – over the last quarter century, the common murre population here has rebounded to more than 2,000 birds. Read on to find out how state and federal interventions assisted in this comeback… Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Egg (Devil’s Slide) Rock to Devil’s Slide Special Closure”

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”