Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve

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Gerstle Cove Gerstle Cove Salt Point State Park CA.jpg
Gerstle Cove

Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that lies onshore from Salt Point State Park, within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area, in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.1 square miles. Gerstle Cove SMR prohibits the take of all living resources.

Contents

History

Gerstle Cove SMR is one of 22 marine protected areas adopted by the California Department of Fish and Game in August 2009, during the second phase of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. The MLPAI is a collaborative public process to create a statewide network of protected areas along California's coastline.

The north central coast's new marine protected areas were designed by local divers, fishermen, conservationists and scientists who comprised the North Central Coast Regional Stakeholder Group. Their job was to design a network of protected areas that would preserve sensitive sea life and habitats while enhancing recreation, study and education opportunities.

The north central coast marine protected areas took effect on May 1, 2010.

Geography and natural features

Gerstle Cove SMR lies onshore from Salt Point State Park, within the Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area in Sonoma County on California's north central coast. This SMR modifies the protections of the pre-existing underwater park at Gerstle Cove, a well-established intertidal MPA.

Gerstle Cove SMR is bounded by the mean high tide line and a straight line connecting the following points:

  1. 38°33.95′N123°19.92′W / 38.56583°N 123.33200°W / 38.56583; -123.33200 and
  2. 38°33.95′N123°19.76′W / 38.56583°N 123.32933°W / 38.56583; -123.32933

Habitat and wildlife

Gerstle Cove SMR protects intertidal habitat in an existing marine reserve that appears to be working for resident species. As part of a cluster with the larger Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve & Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area and Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area, Gerstle Cove will provide even more protection for a broader range of species. It also provides recreational and educational opportunities for the public, as part of an interconnected land-sea protection and management regime in waters adjacent to Salt Point State Park.

Recreation and nearby attractions

Nearby Salt Point State Park features six miles of rugged coastline, free diving and SCUBA diving, 20 miles of hiking trails, pygmy forests, horseback riding and two campgrounds. Fisk Mill Cove is a day use area that offers stunning ocean views from Sentinel Rock and provides visitors with paved parking, picnic tables, small upright barbecues, restrooms, and drinking water. Stump Beach is another picnic area that also offers one of the few sandy beaches north of Jenner. Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve adjoins Salt Point State Park and features hiking trails through pristine forests of Douglas fir, tanoak, grand fir and rhododendrons.

Of historical interest is nearby Fort Ross State Historic Park, the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the North American continent that was established as an agricultural base to supply Alaska. It was the site of California's first windmills and shipbuilding, and Russian scientists were among the first to record California's cultural and natural history.

Gerstle Cove SMR prohibits the take of all living resources. However, California's marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean. [1] 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. [2]

Related Research Articles

Salt Point State Park State park in California, United States

Salt Point State Park is a state park in Sonoma County, California, United States. The park covers 6,000 acres (2,428 ha) on the coast of Northern California, with 20 miles (32 km) of hiking trails and over 6 miles (9.7 km) of a rough rocky coast line including Salt Point which protrudes into the Pacific Ocean. The park also features the first underwater preserves in California. The constant impact of the waves forms the rocks into many different shapes. These rocks continue underwater providing a wide variety of habitats for marine organisms. The activities at Salt Point include hiking, camping, fishing, scuba diving and many others. The weather is cool with fog and cold winds, even during the summer.

Asilomar State Marine Reserve

Asilomar State Marine Reserve (SMR) is one of four small marine protected areas (MPAs) 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.

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.

Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area

Sea Lion Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that lies onshore, just south of Point Arena in Mendocino County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.22 square miles. Sea Lion Cove SMCA prohibits the commercial and recreational take of invertebrates, algae and other plants, but allows the take of all other species.

Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve marine reserve in California

Del Mar Landing State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area that lies onshore, about two miles (3 km) south of the town of Gualala and three and a half miles north of Sea Ranch in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 0.22 square miles (0.57 km2). Del Mar Landing SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources.

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.

Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area marine protected area in California

Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that lies onshore from Fisk Mill Cove and south along Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 3.12 square miles. Salt Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational take of abalone and finfish.

Point Arena State Marine Reserve & Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area

Point Arena State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Arena State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Point Arena in Mendocino County on California’s north central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 11.11 square miles (28.8 km2), with 4.38 square miles (11.3 km2) in the SMR and 6.73 square miles (17.4 km2) in the SMCA. Point Arena SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Point Arena SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except commercial and recreational salmon trolling.

Bodega Head State Marine Reserve & Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area protected marine areas in California

Bodega Head State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas off Bodega Bay in Sonoma County on California’s north-central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 21.64 square miles (56.0 km2), with 9.3 square miles (24 km2) in the SMR, and 12.34square miles in the SMCA. Bodega Head SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Bodega Head SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational and commercial take of pelagic finfish with troll fishing gear or seine, Dungeness crab by trap, and market squid by hand-held dip net and round haul 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.

Point Reyes State Marine Reserve & Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area

Point Reyes State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Point Reyes Headlands and within Drakes Bay in Marin County on California’s north central coast. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 21.49 square miles, with 9.38 in the SMR, and 12.11 in the adjacent SMCA. Point Reyes SMR prohibits the take of all living marine resources. Point Reyes SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational and commercial take of Dungeness crab by pot and salmon by trolling.

Russian River State Marine Reserve and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area marine protected areas in California

Russian River State Marine Recreational Management Area (SMRMA) and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are two adjoining marine protected areas in the Russian River estuary area in Sonoma County, California, on the north-central coast of the state. The combined area of these marine protected areas is 1.21 square miles (3.1 km2), with 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2) in the SMRMA and 0.86 square miles (2.2 km2) in the SMCA.

Big Creek State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area

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.

Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve

Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area in Carmel Bay including a unique underwater pinnacle formation with adjacent kelp forest, submarine canyon head, and surfgrass. Carmel Bay is adjacent to the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is near Monterey, on California’s central coast.

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.

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.

Abalone Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and Point Vicente State Marine Reserve (SMR) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore in Los Angeles County on California's south coast. The two marine protected areas cover 19.87 square miles. The marine protected areas protect natural habitats and marine life by protecting or limiting removal of wildlife from within their boundaries. Point Vicente SMR, prohibits all take of living marine resources. Abalone Cove SMCA, prohibits take of all living marine resources, except recreational take of pelagic finfish, including Pacific bonito and white seabass by spearfishing, market squid by hand-held dip net, commercial take of coastal pelagic species and Pacific bonito by round haul net, and swordfish by harpoon.

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.

Upper Newport Bay State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area in Newport Bay in Orange County and the South Coast region of Southern California. It extends inland/northeast from the Pacific Coast Highway crossing of the bay, within the city of Newport Beach.

References

  1. Department of Fish and Game. "California Fish and Game Code section 2853 (b)(3) Archived March 26, 2013, at the Wayback Machine ". Marine Life Protection Act. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  2. 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.