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

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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 (other than sea palm), 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.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Contents

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

History

Stewarts Point SMR and Stewarts Point SMCA are two 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 Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was passed in 1999 and is part of the California Fish and Game Code. The MLPA requires California to reevaluate all existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and potentially design new MPAs that together function as a statewide network. The MLPA has clear guidance associated with the development of this MPA network. MPAs are developed on a regional basis with MLPA and MPA-specific goals in mind and are evaluated over time to assess their effectiveness in meeting these goals. The overall goals of the Marine Life Protection Act are to maintain the diversity of marine ecosystems, conserve its populations, better educate people on human-marine life interactions, protect habitats, and effectively enforce MPAs. The establishment of this policy is an important step in expanding science-based management and decision making regarding policies.

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

Stewarts Point SMR and Stewarts Point 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 Stewarts Point SMR is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 40.50’ N. lat. 123° 25.37’ W. long.;

38° 40.50’ N. lat. 123° 30.24’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to

38° 35.60’ N. lat. 123° 26.01’ W. long.; and

38° 35.60’ N. lat. 123° 20.80’ W. long., except that Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area as described.

The Stewarts Point SMCA is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:

38° 40.50’ N. lat. 123° 25.37’ W. long.;

38° 40.50’ N. lat. 123° 25.50’ W. long.;

38° 37.50’ N. lat. 123° 23.50’ W. long.; and

38° 37.535’ N. lat. 123° 23.027’ W. long.

Habitat and wildlife

Stewarts Point SMR and Stewarts Point SMCA protect 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. It includes an area with a relatively steep depth gradient and provides continuous land-sea protection and management in waters adjacent to Salt Point State Park. Stewarts Point SMR and SMCA protect diverse habitats in a highly scenic and relatively remote area for natural heritage purposes.

Sebastidae family of fishes

Sebastidae is a family of marine fish in the order Scorpaeniformes. Their common names include rockfishes, rock perches, ocean perches, sea perches, thornyheads, scorpionfishes, sea ruffes and rockcods. Despite the latter name, they are not closely related to the cods in the genus Gadus, nor the rock cod, Lotella rhacina.

Salt Point State Park

Salt Point State Park is a state park in Sonoma County, California, United States. The park covers 6,000 acres (2,400 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.

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.

Fort Ross State Historic Park State park in California

Fort Ross State Historic Park is a historical state park in Sonoma County, California, including the former Russian fur trading outpost of Fort Ross plus the adjacent coastline and native coast redwood forests extending inland. Fort Ross, active from 1812 to 1842, was the southernmost settlement in the Russian colonization of the Americas. The 3,393-acre (1,373 ha) park was established in 1909.

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 (other than sea palm), 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. 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

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 reserve in California

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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.

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

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Montara State Marine Reserve & Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area

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

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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.

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 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.

Vandenberg State Marine Reserve

Vandenberg State Marine Reserve (SMR) is a marine protected area located offshore of Vandenberg Air Force Base, near the city of Lompoc on California’s central coast. The marine protected area covers 32.84 square miles (85.1 km2). Vandenberg SMR protects all marine life within its boundaries. Fishing and take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.