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

lighthouse and reserve
Point Arena Lighthouse and Point Arena State Marine Reserve   photo by R. Win

Occasionally warm and sunny, but more often cool and shrouded in a layer of fog, the Point Arena headland is a uniquely beautiful and ecologically important site on California’s northern coast. Located five miles north of its namesake town and 150 miles north of San Francisco, the waters off Point Arena are part of a major upwelling zone Continue reading

Management Update for Southern California Marine Protected Areas

On April 27, 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) presented our five-year management review regarding the south coast marine protected areas (MPAs) alongside the State of the California South Coast report to the California Fish and Game Commission. At the Commission meeting, CDFW recommended that no regulatory changes be made at this time, Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area

Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) lies four miles offshore of the Monterey peninsula in central California. The SMCA was established following the passage of the Marine Life Protection Act in 1999, which mandated the redesign of California’s marine protected area (MPA) system into a cohesive network. Currently, only 14 of the 124 state MPAs protect deepwater, submarine canyon habitat; Portuguese Ledge SMCA was one of the first such MPAs to be established. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Bolsa Chica wetlands
Venture onto the 400-ft. walkway to view the Bolsa Chica Wetlands from the south entrance.  CDFW photo by S. Hubbard

One of the last remaining wetland ecosystems in Southern California, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands form the largest saltwater marsh south of Point Conception, Santa Barbara County. Approximately 1,300 acres in size with an intricate five-mile trail system, the wetlands are home to more than 65 species of fish, birds, invertebrates, and mammals Continue reading