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”

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”

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Asilomar State Marine Reserve

Asilomar SMR
Asilomar State Marine Reserve
CDFW photo by T. Heitzenrater

After taking a virtual walk along Monterey Bay’s Coastal Recreation Trail through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s blog series Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas, this article continues the walk to Asilomar State Marine Reserve (SMR). Continue reading “Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Asilomar State Marine Reserve”