The Blog Aquatic » california north coast http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Kayaking in Humboldt Bay’s Newly Protected Area http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/28/kayaking-in-humboldt-bays-newly-protected-area/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/28/kayaking-in-humboldt-bays-newly-protected-area/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 19:08:16 +0000 Jennifer Savage http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6208

Humboldt Bay invites exploration. From the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary on the north end to the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the south, animal life abounds.

In the middle of the bay, two islands stand tall: Indian Island, the traditional center of the Wiyot people’s world, and Woodley Island, home to a marina that includes HumBoats, where kayaks and stand-up paddleboard rentals provide means to discover the bay.

In the northern end, kayakers and rowers regularly glide between oyster farmers and fishermen. Down in the southern end, more mystery exists – especially where a square off the bay’s southern peninsula was designated as a marine protected area in December 2012.

Read more at California’s Redwood Coast Blog.

 

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Celebrating a Big Week for California Coasts http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/21/celebrating-a-big-week-for-california-coasts/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/21/celebrating-a-big-week-for-california-coasts/#comments Fri, 21 Dec 2012 17:59:20 +0000 Sarah van Schagen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3978 Marin headlands shoreline and Golden Gate Bridge

Penny Harmeyer, Photo Contest 2011

California coasts—and all of the wildlife and people who enjoy them—are having “the best week ever.”

North Coast protected areas go into effect

Earlier this week, we celebrated the official completion of California’s statewide network of underwater parks—the first in the nation—as the North Coast marine protected areas went into effect.

As our own Jennifer Savage wrote, earlier in the week, this completed network marks the culmination of many years’ work, and protected areas will go a long way toward ensuring that ocean wildlife can thrive:

From the Oregon border to the Mexican border, the fish, birds, mammals and plants that depend on the dynamic habitats of the California coast now have a series of reserves and conservation areas that will allow their populations to recover where needed and protect them from depletion in the future. Not only is this good for the sea creatures, but a thriving ocean benefits all of California, from the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on healthy fisheries to all aspects of the state’s tourism-dependent economy …

Sea otter restrictions lifted in California waters

California’s conservation victories continued this week with news that the “otter-free zone” off the coast of California is being eliminated, allowing sea otters to swim freely throughout the region.

Allowing these important predators to expand into and migrate through the nearshore environment will result in real ecosystem benefits, says Lilian Carswell of the National Fish and Wildlife Service. “It gives a richness and integrity to our natural system.”

President Obama to expand national marine sanctuaries

And finally, in a triple-win for the coastal state, President Obama announced plans to expand two of California’s national marine sanctuaries and permanently ban oil drilling along more than 50 miles of Northern California coast.

The proposed expansion will more than double the size of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries, enlarging them by 2,771 square miles.

“This area is a national treasure,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who led sanctuary expansion efforts. “It needs and it deserves permanent protection from oil and gas exploration.”

The sanctuary expansion effort is expected to take up to two years to complete.

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Slide Show: Exploring California’s New Underwater Parks http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/20/slide-show-exploring-california-new-underwater-parks/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/20/slide-show-exploring-california-new-underwater-parks/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:32:00 +0000 Paul Hobi http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3956

Dive in above for a closer look at California’s recently completed statewide network of underwater parks, some of the species they protect, and the people that are enjoying them.

Over 120 new parks now dot the California coast, protecting habitat-rich areas and iconic locations like Point Reyes, La Jolla, Point Lobos, and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. These parks have the potential to restore abundance to depleted areas, and ensure a healthy ocean full of fish for the future.

Read our in-depth look at the nation’s first statewide network of underwater parks here.

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California Celebrates 19 New Underwater Parks, Completes First Statewide Network in Nation http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/19/california-celebrates-19-new-underwater-parks-completes-first-statewide-network-in-nation/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/12/19/california-celebrates-19-new-underwater-parks-completes-first-statewide-network-in-nation/#comments Wed, 19 Dec 2012 07:10:59 +0000 Jennifer Savage http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3927

The brand spanking new Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area. Photo Credit: Kip Evans/Ocean Conservancy

Each day, many of us do small things we hope will benefit the ocean. We bring our own coffee mug. We pack our groceries into cloth bags. We wash our cloth napkins in cold water and buy our detergent in bulk. We bring our own to-go containers to the sushi spot – and we always order our fish based on what’s sustainable.

But the ocean is in trouble, and needs more than individual efforts for deepened protection. In California, efforts to restore the state’s depleted fish populations resulted in the Marine Life Protection Act, which passed the legislature back in 1999.

Today, the California network – the first in our nation – finally becomes complete: The North Coast marine protected areas go into effect. From the Oregon border to the Mexican border, the fish, birds, mammals and plants that depend on the dynamic habitats of the California coast now have a series of reserves and conservation areas that will allow their populations to recover where needed and protect them from depletion in the future. Not only is this good for the sea creatures, but a thriving ocean benefits all of California, from the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on healthy fisheries to all aspects of the state’s tourism-dependent economy – people come to California to see the ocean, be awed by the magnificence of migrating whales, explore the glowing tide pools along our beaches, delight in barbecuing lingcod, fresh-caught or bought off the docks.

The Central Coast was finished first in 2007 and includes gems such as Point Arguello, home to tunas and rockfish, and critical for the recovery of southern sea otters. The North Central Coast followed in 2010, establishing greater protection for remarkable places likePoint Reyes, home to 45 percent of North American bird species. South Coast marine protected areas went into effect in 2012, creating safe places for ocean wildlife to thrive in iconic places including Big Sur and La Jolla.

The journey from inception of the Marine Life Protection Act to completion of the state network wasn’t easy, but along the way, we learned. Scientific studies highlighted the importance and success of marine protected areas around the world. Economic analysis helped broker compromise, where necessary, between commercial fishermen and ocean advocates. The state’s relationship with tribal citizens evolved dramatically – particularly in the North Coast, where ensuring historical tribal gathering could continue uninterrupted was a focus of every discussion. Joint efforts between tribal representatives, state elected officials, regional stakeholders and California’s Department of Fish & Game resulted in tribal use being incorporated into marine protected area regulations.

The North Coast is also notable for being the only region where all stakeholders – commercial and recreational fishermen, divers, birders, tribal representatives, conservationists, educators and harbor masters – agreed on a single proposal. Again, along the way, we learned.

The 19 new North Coast underwater parks span from just south of Fort Bragg up to the Oregon border and cover about 13 percent of the region. They include Pyramid Point’s rugged coastline; Point St. George Reef, home to the second largest nesting seabird colony south of Alaska, and waters at the mouth of waterways such as Ten Mile River that are critical for salmon and steelhead populations.

Efforts to solve the ocean’s problems must include the big steps as well as the small – but all matter. Today and in the future, we can celebrate the great achievement of the Marine Life Protection Act by visiting California’s beaches – picnic foods packed in reusable containers, stainless steel water bottles filling our cloth tote bag. And as we relax, we can admire the birds, seals, anemones and other sea life that make our ocean so amazing, and rejoice in the greater protection they’re now provided.

Watch a slide show celebrating California’s new underwater parks.

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