Big Creek State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area

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Big Creek State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area
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Big Sur
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Location Big Sur, California, USA
Nearest city Big Sur, California
Coordinates 36°07′20″N121°38′0″W / 36.12222°N 121.63333°W / 36.12222; -121.63333 Coordinates: 36°07′20″N121°38′0″W / 36.12222°N 121.63333°W / 36.12222; -121.63333
Established1994
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

Big Creek State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Big Creek State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore of Big Sur on California's central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 22.45 square miles (58.1 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon, albacore, and the commercial take of spot prawn. [1]

Contents

History

Big Creek SMR was established in 1994 and Big Creek SMCA was established in September 2007 by the California Fish & Game Commission. It was one of 29 marine protected areas adopted during the first phase of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (or MLPAI) is a collaborative public process to create a statewide network of marine protected areas along the California coastline. [1]

Geography and natural features

These two marine protected areas adjoin each other off the coast of Big Sur. In the waters off the Big Sur/Big Creek coast are a series of narrow and steep finger canyons that serrate the continental shelf. The sites are adjacent to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Habitat and wildlife

The underwater canyons of the Big Creek marine protected areas provide habitat to a variety of deepwater rockfishes such as cabezon and bocaccio. The area is also an important forage area for southern sea otters. [2]

Recreation and nearby attractions

Adjacent Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park provides hiking trails, including an overlook trail to McWay Falls, an 80-foot (24 m) waterfall that drops into the cove below.

California's marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean. [3] Activities such as kayaking, diving, snorkeling, and swimming are allowed unless otherwise restricted.

Scientific monitoring

As specified by the Marine Life Protection Act, select marine protected areas along California's central coast are being monitored by scientists to track their effectiveness and learn more about ocean health. Similar studies in marine protected areas located off of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands have already detected gradual improvements in fish size and number. [4]

Local scientific and educational institutions involved in the monitoring include Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, University of California Santa Cruz, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Research methods include hook-and-line sampling, intertidal and scuba diver surveys, and the use of Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) submarines.

Related Research Articles

Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area

Año Nuevo State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, on California’s central coast. The area is approximately 55 miles south of San Francisco. The SMCA is 11.07 square miles. Except for limited taking of giant kelp, all living marine resources are protected.

Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area

Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area in Carmel Bay. Carmel Bay is adjacent to the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is near Monterey, on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 2.12 square miles. Recreational fishing of finfish and limited commercial taking of kelp is permitted within the SMCA.

Moro Cojo Slough State Marine Reserve

Moro Cojo Estuary State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area established to protect the wildlife and habitats in Moro Cojo Slough. Moro Cojo Slough is located inland from Monterey Bay on the central coast of California, directly south of the more widely known Elkhorn Slough. The area covers 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve

Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area located at the northern edge of Santa Cruz, California, approximately 75 miles (121 km) south of San Francisco. The SMR covers 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing or other removal of any living marine resource is prohibited.

Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve & Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area

Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore from about a mile south of Black Point to Fisk Mill Cove, in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected areas cover 25.22 square miles. Stewarts Point SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Stewarts Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except recreational shore based take of marine aquatic plants, marine invertebrates, finfish by hook and line, surf smelt by beach net, and species authorized by Title 14 Section 28.80 by hand-held dip net.

Montara State Marine Reserve & Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area

Montara State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore from Montara to Pillar Point in San Mateo County on California’s north central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 18.42 square miles (47.7 km2), with 11.76 square miles (30.5 km2) in the SMR and 6.66 in the SMCA. Montara SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Pillar Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational and commercial take of pelagic finfish by trolling or seine, the commercial or recreational take of Dungeness crab by trap and the commercial or recreational take or market squid by hand-held dip net or round haul net.

Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve & Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area

Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas along the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County on California’s north central coast. These marine protected areas cover a combined 4.04 square miles (10.5 km2), with 1.49 square miles (3.9 km2) in the SMR and 2.55 square miles (6.6 km2) in the SMCA. Drakes Estero SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources from Drakes Estero except the recreational take of clams and formerly the commercial aquaculture of shellfish pursuant to a disputed state water bottom lease and permit, which has been the subject of ongoing legal proceedings since 2012, when the lease was allowed to expire.

Cambria State Marine Conservation Area

Cambria State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area located off the coast of the city of Cambria, California on California’s central coast in San Luis Obispo County, California. The marine protected area covers 6.26 square miles (16.2 km2). Within the SMCA recreational fishing and take is allowed while commercial fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area

Edward F. Ricketts State Marine Conservation Area is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four areas together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). Within SMCAs fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of finfish by hook-and-line and the commercial take of giant and bull kelp under certain conditions.

Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area

Greyhound Rock State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of two adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of San Mateo County and Santa Cruz County, on California’s central coast. The area is approximately 55 miles (89 km) south of San Francisco. The SMCA is 11.81 square miles (30.6 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of giant kelp, squid, salmon, and other finfish, subject to various conditions. Also permitted is the commercial take of giant kelp, salmon, and squid, subject to various conditions.

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve

Lovers Point State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area

Pacific Grove Marine Gardens State Marine Conservation Area is one of four small marine protected areas located near the cities of Monterey and Pacific Grove, at the southern end of Monterey Bay on California’s central coast. The four MPAs together encompass 2.96 square miles (7.7 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational take of finfish and the commercial take of giant and bull kelp by hand under certain conditions. According to the Frommer's guide, the Marine Gardens area is "renowned for ocean views, flowers, and tide-pool seaweed beds."

Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area

Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore of San Luis Obispo County on California’s central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 19.68 square miles (51.0 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon and albacore.

Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area

Point Buchon State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore Point Buchon in San Luis Obispo County on California’s central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 18.21 square miles (47.2 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of any living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon and albacore.

Point Sur State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area protected area

Point Sur State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Sur State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that lie offshore of Point Sur, part of the Big Sur area on California's central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 19.68 square miles (51.0 km2). The SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited. Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of salmon and albacore.

Portuguese Ledge State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is an offshore marine protected area in Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is on California’s central coast with the city of Monterey at its south end and the city of Santa Cruz at its north end. The SMCA covers 10.9 square miles (28 km2). Within the SMCA fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of pelagic finfish.

Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area

Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is an offshore marine protected area in Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay is on California’s central coast with the city of Monterey at its south end and the city of Santa Cruz at its north end. The SMCA covers 23.41 square miles (60.6 km2). Within the SMCA, fishing and taking of any living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial and recreational take of pelagic finfish.

White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area

White Rock (Cambria) State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area located off the coast of the city of Cambria, California on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 2.32 square miles (6.0 km2). Within the SMCA the take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the commercial take of giant kelp and bull kelp under certain conditions.

Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area

Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of four adjoining marine protected areas off the coast of Orange County, CA, on California’s South Coast. By itself, the SMCA measures 3.45 square miles. The SMCA protects marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders, including tide pools. Dana Point SMCA prohibits take of living marine resources except: only the following species may be taken recreationally below the mean lower low tide line only: finfish by hook-and-line or by spearfishing, and lobster and sea urchin. The commercial take of coastal pelagic species by round haul net, and spiny lobster and sea urchin only is allowed.

Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Laguna Beach in Orange County on California’s south coast. The SMR covers 6.27 square miles, and the SMCA covers an additional 3.44 square miles. These two MPAs are part of a four-MPA complex on the coast of southern Orange County. Each protects marine life by prohibiting or limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders.

References

  1. 1 2 California Department of Fish and Game. "Online Guide to California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas". Retrieved on December 18, 2008
  2. Department of Fish and Game. "Appendix O. Regional MPA Management Plans". Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (approved February 2008). Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  3. Department of Fish and Game. "California Fish and Game Code section 2853 (b)(3) Archived 2013-03-26 at the Wayback Machine ". Marine Life Protection Act. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  4. Castell, Jenn, et al. "How do patterns of abundance and size structure differ between fished and unfished waters in the Channel Islands? Results from SCUBA surveys Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine ". Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at University of California, Santa Barbara and University of California, Santa Cruz; Channel Islands National Park. Retrieved December 18, 2008.