Discover the wildlife taking refuge in California’s marine protected areas

By protecting its coastal waters, California is ensuring that we can enjoy its unique marine ecosystems and wildlife for generations to come.


Joe Belanger |
Kelp forests are common in many of California's marine protected areas, offering shelter to a variety of wildlife, including this harbor seal in Southern California's Channel Islands.

Known for its sunny beaches, California has taken important steps to preserve crucial marine habitats across its coast.

Over the past decade, the Golden State has established a network of marine protected areas that offer refuge to all sorts of marine wildlife, including seals, otters, whales and a whole range of seabirds. These areas act as oceanic state parks, providing space to protect endangered species and restore flagging populations.

From the reefs of Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve to the rocky intertidal zones of Abalone Cove State Marine Conservation Area, and from the fish schools of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to the sea lions of Point Lobos State Marine Reserve, California’s marine protected areas are crucial for Pacific wildlife. Yet today, only 9% of the state’s coastal waters enjoy protections.

Environment California is working to protect 30% of our coastal sea by 2030 to ensure that even more threatened marine species can thrive long into the future.

Check out this post for more information on and beautiful pictures of California’s marine protected areas.

Ben Grundy

Former Conservation Campaign Associate, Environment California


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