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”

Just Released: Two Scientific Reports Informing Marine Protected Area Network Management and Evaluation

California’s network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs), completed in 2012, is approaching its 10-year anniversary. This milestone will be recognized by an inaugural MPA Decadal Management Review in 2022. Continue reading “Just Released: Two Scientific Reports Informing Marine Protected Area Network Management and Evaluation”

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”

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”