Signs of Progress Along Our Coast
Planting one of the first MPA signs along Los Angeles’ coast felt like it’d been a long time coming.
California lays claim to the only statewide network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), or underwater parks, where ocean wildlife can thrive with less disturbance from humans. Yesterday our Coastal Resources Director Sarah Sikich and I, along with our colleagues at L.A. Waterkeeper, installed the first MPA signs in Los Angeles County along access points in Malibu’s marine reserve.
Southern California’s marine protected areas have been in effect for a year — after years of hard work to implement them– and now they’ll finally be marked.
Point Dume State Marine Reserve is located on the Malibu Coast, and includes a rocky headland peninsula, one of the world’s most popular coastal destinations. Migrating gray whales often stop off and feed along Point Dume, and the reserve’s kelp forests, canyon, and tide pools teem with octopus, anemones, and sea stars. Historically, Point Dume’s kelp forest has been the largest in southern California, providing food and shelter for a variety of sea life, including sea lions, grunion, and spawning squid.
It took over a year to get these initial simple signs designed, approved, funded, and installed- but an even longer public process to identify, negotiate, and designate MPAs along the Southern California Coast. Big thanks to the collaborative efforts of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Los Angeles Waterkeeper for helping to make these signs become a reality!
Next up are installing MPA signs along the Palos Verdes coast and Catalina Island … and later on this year, beautiful and informative MPA interpretive signage which will include images, maps, and multi-lingual descriptions of our local MPAs. For Heal the Bay, this is just the first step in education signage, but an exciting one to help with marine protected area education.
–Dana Roeber Murray, Heal the Bay’s Marine & Coastal Scientist
For ocean lovers who want to get more involved with underwater parks, join our MPA Watch training program on January 30 and February 2 to help monitor these vital environmental resources.