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: 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”