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Point Lobos State Reserve
Location Monterey County, California
Nearest city Carmel-by-the-Sea
Coordinates 36°31′1.56″N 121°56′33.36″W / 36.5171°N 121.9426°W / 36.5171; -121.9426Coordinates: 36°31′1.56″N 121°56′33.36″W / 36.5171°N 121.9426°W / 36.5171; -121.9426
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation


Point Lobos is the common name for the area including Point Lobos State Reserve and two adjoining marine protected areas: Point Lobos State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). Point Lobos is just south of the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California on the coast of the Pacific Ocean but north of Big Sur.

Point Lobos contains a number of hiking trails, many next to the ocean, and a smaller number of beaches. It is the site of a historic marine reserve, which was expanded in 2007. It is also the home to a museum on whaling, which includes a historic building once used by area fishermen. The longstanding wildlife protection and iconic seascape have led to Point Lobos' reputation as an unparalleled local recreational scuba diving destination.

Contents

Geography and Natural Features

The iconic Point Lobos area is geologically unique and contains a rich and diverse plant and animal life both on shore and in the water. Called the “greatest meeting of land and water in the world” by landscape artist Francis McComas, Point Lobos is considered a crown jewel in the California state park system.

Rock formations typical to the area

The precipitous drop in the ocean floor off Point Lobos (reaching depths characteristic of the mid Pacific Ocean within a few kilometres of shore) gives rise to unique tidal effects, with unusually high levels of oxygen being injected into the ocean water. This in turn attracts an unusual variety of plant and animal marine life, ranging from high plankton concentrations, moving up the food chain to marine mammals.

Rock formations typical to the area

Marine Protected Areas

The former Point Lobos Ecological Reserve was created in 1973. As one of California's most well known and longstanding no-take reserve, Point Lobos became a hotspot for non-consumptive recreational diving known for its large and diverse fish populations.

In 2007, the Ecological Reserve was expanded and renamed with the establishment of The Point Lobos SMR and Point Lobos SMCA by the California Fish and Game Commission. They were two of 29 marine protected areas adopted during the first phase of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. The Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (or MLPAI) is a collaborative public process to create a statewide network of marine protected areas along the California coastline.

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State Marine Reserve

Point Lobos SMR covers 5.36 square miles.[1] All living marine resources are protected in the no-take marine reserve.[2] The marine reserve is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:[3]

  • 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 55.55’ W. long.;
  • 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.;
  • 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.; and
  • 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 121° 56.30’ W. long.

State Marine Conservation Area

Point Lobos SMCA covers 8.83 square miles.[1] Harvest of all living marine resources is prohibited in the conservation area except the recreational and commercial take of salmon, albacore, and the commercial take of spot prawn.[2] The area is bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:[3]

  • 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.;
  • 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 122° 01.30’ W. long.; thence southward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
  • 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 122° 00.55’ W. long.;
  • 36° 28.88’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.; and
  • 36° 31.70’ N. lat. 121° 58.25’ W. long.

Habitat and Wildlife

The Point Lobos marine protected areas provide shelter to a wide range of fish, invertebrates, birds and marine mammals, from those that rely on the near-shore kelp forest to those that inhabit the deep waters of the Carmel Submarine Canyon.[4]

Point Lobos is one of only two places where the Monterey Cypress can be found in the wild.[5] The waters around Point Lobos contain extensive kelp forests.

Whalers Cove at Point lobos

Whaler's Cabin Museum

Point Lobos features a building constructed in the 1850s to house Japanese and Chinese fishermen. This building has been preserved, and now houses a museum dedicated to the area whaling industry. The museum also highlights the history of Point Lobos, including its cinematic appearances and plans at the turn of the 20th century to develop the area for densely packed suburban housing.

Whalers Cabin

Recreation

Point Lobos State Reserve offers outstanding coastal scenery, hiking trails and dive sites. The adjacent marine protected areas provide ample opportunities for scuba diving.

California’s marine protected areas encourage recreational and educational uses of the ocean.[6] 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.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b California Department of Fish and Game. “California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Summary of Central Coast MPAs as Adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission”. Retrieved on December 22, 2008.
  2. ^ a b California Department of Fish and Game. "Online Guide to California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas". Retrieved on December 18, 2008.
  3. ^ a b California Department of Fish and Game. "Central Coast Marine Protected Areas". Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  4. ^ Department of Fish and Game. "Appendix O. Regional MPA Management Plans". Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (approved February 2008). Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  5. ^ C.Michael Hogan and Michael P. Frankis. 2009. Monterey Cypress: Cupressus macrocarpa, GlobalTwitcher.com ed. N. Stromberg
  6. ^ Department of Fish and Game. "California Fish and Game Code section 2853 (b)(3)". Marine Life Protection Act. Retrieved December 18, 2008.
  7. ^ 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". 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.

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