California’s Ocean Habitats: Kelp Forests

harbor seal
Bountiful food in the kelp forest attracts marine mammals like this harbor seal in Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve
CDFW photo by M. Haggerty

Kelp forests provide countless ecosystem services, benefiting both marine species and landlubbers alike. They form the foundation of marine food webs, coastal economies, and Indigenous traditions. They protect juvenile fish from predation by providing nursery habitat, and coastlines from erosion by buffering wave energy. Continue reading “California’s Ocean Habitats: Kelp Forests”

Catalina Island Marine Protected Area Collaborative: California’s Island Collaborative

MPA Speakers Training for Catalina educators with both Catalina and LA Collaborative members.
Educators gather for an MPA Speaker Series training held by the Catalina Island and Los Angeles MPA collaboratives
photo courtesy MPA Collaborative Network

While Los Angeles County is home to 13 of California’s 124 marine protected areas (MPAs), only four of those can be easily accessed from the mainland. The remaining nine MPAs surround Santa Catalina Island, known simply as “Catalina,” and can be reached via ferry, boat, helicopter, or private aircraft.

Continue reading “Catalina Island Marine Protected Area Collaborative: California’s Island Collaborative”

The Santa Cruz Marine Protected Area Collaborative: Partnering with Parks and More

Natural Bridges SMR
Natural Bridges State Beach and State Marine Reserve. UC Santa Cruz’s marine science campus is located on the far point, bordering the reserve.
CDFW photo by C. Shen

The laid back, beachy vibe of the colorful coastal town of Santa Cruz conjures images of surfers gracefully riding the waves at Steamer Lane or locals leisurely navigating an oceanside bike trail on beach cruisers. Continue reading “The Santa Cruz Marine Protected Area Collaborative: Partnering with Parks and More”

The Mendocino Marine Protected Area Collaborative: Engaging Partners to Fill Local Needs

Mendocino MPA Collaborative members at a state historic park
Mendocino Marine Protected Area Collaborative members pose for a photo at Point Cabrillo Light Station
State Historic Park
Marine Protected Area Collaborative Network photo

Mendocino County is well known for its stunning coast and towering redwoods. These natural features are protected by an abundance of marine protected areas (MPAs) and state parks throughout the county. MPAs and state parks are often found side by side here, with nine of the 14 state-managed MPAs lying adjacent to a state park. About 25 percent of California’s MPA-state park pairs are located in Mendocino County.

Continue reading “The Mendocino Marine Protected Area Collaborative: Engaging Partners to Fill Local Needs”

Honoring the Ocean Around Mainland Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Marine Protected Area Collaborative

Map of LA County's MPAs
Los Angeles County’s marine protected areas.
Image courtesy Los Angeles Marine Protected Area Collaborative

California’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) spans north to south, border to border, and touches every coastal county. Thirteen of the 124 MPAs managed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife are located within Los Angeles County. Continue reading “Honoring the Ocean Around Mainland Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Marine Protected Area Collaborative”