Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area

Did you know that Crystal Cove State Park is home to a Marine Protected Area? MPAs are regions along the California coastline that have been granted specific protections in an effort to preserve marine ecosystems. MPAs were created as a result of the Marine Life Protection Act (1999), which sought to conserve and protect both marine life and habitat through education outreach, research opportunities, and a well-managed network of MPAs. Crystal Cove State Park’s MPA is a State Marine Conservation Area or SMCA, which allows for limited recreational and commercial take. Absolutely no take is allowed from the tidepools. A healthy network of MPAs will encourage restoration and resiliency of habitat for marine life and better strengthen our marine ecosystems against growing environmental impacts.

To learn what may be taken from the Crystal Cove State Park SMCA visit the following link:

For additional MPA resources visit the following links:

Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) Quick Facts

MPA Training Modules


Footage taken by the Crystal Cove Conservancy’s education team aboard one of their educational MPA Cruises. Middle school and high school students are able to explore Crystal Cove State Park’s MPA by engaging in hands-on citizen science programs.  Visit the following link to learn more about these innovative education opportunities.


Monitoring Human Impacts at Crystal Cove State Park Marine Protected Areas

This program designed for 9th-12th grade students incorporates an understanding of how the human presence affects intertidal organism populations and citizen science. How do we know if MPAs are working? Help collect data with park Interpreter Alex and Crystal Cove Conservancy Educator Kaitlin and learn how monitoring owl limpet populations can help us understand human impacts in tidepool habitats!