Showing all articles with tag: south coast region.
Tomorrow, Southern California will celebrate the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island's coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.
California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.
“Our nation has been protecting treasured areas on land for 150 years, and now California is doing the same for our ocean, through the Marine Life Protection Act,” said Karen Garrison, Oceans Program Co-Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “From Point Reyes to Big Sur to La Jolla, the state is creating Yosemites of the sea so future generations can experience their grandeur.”
“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”
The marine protected areas going into effect January 1 were designed by local citizens, including fishermen, surfers, conservationists and business leaders, to protect productive ocean areas while leaving about 90% of the coast open for fishing (see a map of fishing areas left open). Many of the are located alongside public beaches and state parks, creating great opportunities for education, research, and recreation.
California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year, and more than 90 percent of visitors comes to walk the beach, dive, surf, swim, or kayak, making the new ocean parks a smart investment in the region's environmental and economic health.
On January 1, California will celebrate the grand opening of a series of underwater parks along the south coast. Enjoy this visual tour!
After more than two years of planning, we are gearing up for the grand opening of southern California’s new underwater state parks! Originally, the marine protected areas were scheduled to open on October 1. However, the State is still working to make sure the final rules match up to the plans proposed by our community and approved by the Fish and Game Commission. So, we will have to wait a few more weeks to celebrate.
While looking forward to the opening of protected areas at south La Jolla, Laguna, Point Dume, and Naples Reef, you can whet your appetite by exploring some of California’s existing ocean parks. Check out these 3-D swim through videos of Elkhorn Slough and Point Buchon on the central coast. Or watch a live dive tour of the Channel Islands marine reserve offshore from Santa Barbara.
Anyone that has experienced Anacapa Island’s lush kelp forests knows the Channel Islands marine reserves, created in 2002, have produced great results in just nine years: the protected areas are teeming with life. And that’s just one success story among many! A new study from Scripps Institution of Oceanography documented record-breaking benefits from a Baja California marine reserve.
The Scripps report showed the number of fish in Mexico's Cabo Pulmo marine reserve soared 463 percent in a decade. This jewel of Baja was once depleted, but the local community banded together to secure its protection, and now both fishing and tourism are booming in the area.
Marine ecologist Enric Sala said in National Geographic, “[the study] shows that protecting an area brings the fish back, and creates jobs and increases economic revenue for the local communities. I have seen it with my own eyes and, believe me, it is like a miracle, only that it is not–it’s just common business sense.”
The Cabo Pulmo results are extraordinary, but Scripps fisheries ecologist Brad Erisman said in the San Diego Union-Tribune that a similar turnaround is possible in southern California.
We will let you know about the new opening date for southern California’s marine protected areas as soon as the Commission announces it at their September 15 meeting.
The planning meetings have come and gone. The Blue Ribbon Task Force, Regional Stakeholder Group, Science Advisory Teamand general public have all had their say. Now the future of southern California’s coastal waters sits with the Fish and Game Commission, which met December 9, to gather input from the community and MLPA advisors before sending off four marine protected area plans for further economic and scientific analysis.
South coast residents can still weigh in via mail or email, and will have additional opportunities to comment in person when the Commission returns to southern California for three more meetings in 2010.
Although the Commission has adopted the BRTF’s Integrated Preferred Alternative as the “proposed project,” all four of the current proposals for marine protected areas on the south coast remain on the table.
So what does that mean? It means now is the time to remind the Fish and Game Commission that science should guide our state’s resource management decisions. And the conservation plan—also known as Proposal 3—is the only one that meets science guidelines and protects all southern California’s iconic ocean places, like Naples Reef, Point Dume, Palos Verdes, Laguna, Catalina Island and La Jolla. At the December 9 meeting, Dr. Steve Murray of the Science Advisory Team confirmed that Proposal 3 would produce the greatest ecosystem benefits.
Please send an email or note to the Commissioners voicing your support for Proposal 3.
Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
c/o California Natural Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
Tell them to adopt a plan that will serve the region’s economy and environment. We only get one shot at this and we need to get it right!
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