MacKerricher State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) extends north along almost four miles of coastline starting near renowned Glass Beach at the northern end of Fort Bragg. It covers more than two square miles of ocean habitat with a maximum depth of around 120 feet. Sandy beaches, rocky intertidal areas, high bluffs, small pocket coves between headland points, creek outlets, rocky reefs, and soft seafloor environments dot the coastline here. Tidepools teem with algae, invertebrates, and small fish, while shorebirds can be seen probing the sand for their next meal or diving for smelt and surfperch.
Offshore, rocky reefs provide kelp attachment sites where the algae can grow to form underwater forests. Rockfish, greenlings, and cabezon move around in the kelp, and invertebrates like white-plumed anemones and gorgonians find refuge on the seafloor. Interspersed amongst the reef, swaths of soft, sandy seafloor support beds of sand dollars, swaying sea pens, and perfectly camouflaged flatfish.
It is unlawful to injure, damage, take, or possess any living, geological, or cultural marine resource, EXCEPT:
Commercial and recreational take in accordance with current regulations is allowed. Commercial take of bull kelp and giant kelp is prohibited.
California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 632(b)(22)
MPA size: 2.48 square miles
Shoreline span: 4.1 miles
Depth range: 0 to 119 feet
- Rock: 3.46 square miles
- Sand/mud: 1.07 square miles