Salt Point State Marine Conservation Area

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Salt Point State Park Tide pool salt point state park ca.jpg
Salt Point State Park

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.

Contents

History

Salt Point SMCA 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 May 1, 2010.

Geography and natural features

Salt Point 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. Salt Point SMCA adjoins Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve at its southern boundary.

Salt Point SMCA is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

  1. 38°35.6′N123°20.8′W / 38.5933°N 123.3467°W / 38.5933; -123.3467
  2. 38°35.6′N123°21.0′W / 38.5933°N 123.3500°W / 38.5933; -123.3500
  3. 38°33.5′N123°21.0′W / 38.5583°N 123.3500°W / 38.5583; -123.3500 and
  4. 38°33.5′N123°18.91′W / 38.5583°N 123.31517°W / 38.5583; -123.31517 , except that Gerstle Cove is excluded.

Habitat and wildlife

Salt Point SMCA protects a complex rocky habitat which includes coves, kelp, wash rocks, shelves, walls, cobble and boulders as well as associated species like red abalone, red urchin and rockfish. Bull kelp thrives along this area and can grow up to ten inches per day as it reaches for sunlight at the ocean's surface.

The SMCA provides continuous land-sea protection and management in waters adjacent to Salt Point State Park, protecting diverse habitats in a highly scenic and relatively remote area for both consumptive and non-consumptive recreational purposes.

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.

Salt Point SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational take of abalone and finfish. 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

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.

Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve Marine reserve in California

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.

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 protected area 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 taking of all living marine resources.

Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area

Saunders Reef State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area that extends offshore, just south of Schooner Gulch State Beach and north of Sail Rock in Mendocino County on California’s north central coast. The marine protected area covers 9.35 square miles. Saunders Reef SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the commercial and recreational take of salmon by trolling and the commercial take of urchin.

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.

Duxbury Reef State Marine Conservation Area

Duxbury Reef State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is a marine protected area located about 1 mile (2 km) west of Bolinas in Marin County on California’s north central coast. This marine protected area covers 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2). Duxbury Reef SMCA prohibits the take of all living marine resources, except the recreational take of finfish from shore only and the recreational take of abalone.

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

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 Marine conservation area in California, United States

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.

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.

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 Marine protected area in Californias central coast

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.

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."

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.

Point Dume State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) and Point Dume State Marine Reserve (SMR) are two adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore in Los Angeles County on California’s south coast. Together, the areas cover 23.28 square miles, protecting natural habitats and marine life by protecting or limiting removal of wildlife from within their boundaries.

Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is one of a cluster of four adjoining marine protected areas that extend offshore of Newport Beach in Orange County on California’s south coast. The SMCA covers 3.45 square miles of near shore waters. Crystal Cove protects marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders, including tide pools. Take of all living marine resources is prohibited except: recreational take of finfish by hook-and-line or by spearfishing, and lobster and sea urchin is allowed. Commercial take of coastal pelagic species by round haul net, spiny lobster by trap, and sea urchin is allowed.

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.

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 2013-03-26 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". 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.