Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve and State Marine Conservation Area

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Laguna Beach SMR and SMCA. Also shown are Crystal Cove SMCA to the north, and Dana Point SMCA to the south. (click to enlarge)

The idyllic shoreline of Laguna Beach is made up of rocky headlands with towering cliffs, sandy beaches and a myriad of tide pools teeming with life. It is also home to one of the largest coastal “no-take” marine protected areas (MPAs) in southern California. Located adjacent to a densely populated city, the area is a popular attraction for scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, beach walking and sun bathing. These popular activites make Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) two of the most visited MPAs in California’s statewide network.

Laguna Beach SMR and SMCA, along with 48 other MPAs along California’s southern coast, were established in 2012 to protect critical marine species and habitats, including intertidal tide pools Continue reading