Estero de Limantour SMR, Drakes Estero SMCA, Point Reyes SMR & SMCA


Like state and national parks protect wildlife and habitats on land, marine protected areas (MPAs) conserve and restore wildlife and habitats in our ocean. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, California began a historic effort to establish a science-based, statewide network of MPAs through a collaborative effort that includes the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks. California is taking a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs, and has divided the state into five regions: the north coast, south coast, north central coast, central coast and San Francisco Bay.

MPAs contribute to healthier, more resilient ocean ecosystems that can better withstand a wide range of impacts such as pollution and climate change. By protecting entire ecosystems rather than focusing on a single species, MPAs are powerful tools for conserving and restoring ocean biodiversity, and protecting cultural resources, while allowing certain activities such as marine recreation and research. There is a global body of scientific evidence about the effectiveness of marine protected areas and reserves to restore marine ecosystems (http://www.piscoweb.org/outreach/pubs/reserves).

In the waters adjacent to Tomales Bay State Park there are four MPAs, Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve (SMR), Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Point Reyes State Marine Reserve (SMR), Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

  • Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area consists of waters below the mean high tide line within Estero de Limantour and within Drakes Estero, southward of a line connecting the following two points:
      38° 02.66' N. lat. 122° 56.89' W. long.; and
      38° 02.66' N. lat. 122° 56.15' W. long.
      And northward of a line connecting the following two points:
      38° 01.783' N. lat. 122° 55.286' W. long.; and
      38° 01.954' N. lat. 122° 56.451' W. long.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

  • Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
    • This area includes the waters below the mean high tide line within Drakes Estero northward of a line connecting the following two points:
      38° 02.66' N. lat. 122° 56.89' W. long.; and
      38° 02.66' N. lat. 122° 56.15' W. long.
    • Over 120 known village sites of the Coastal Miwok Indians, the first human civilization, exist on the Point Reyes peninsula, dating back 5,000 years!
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Allows the recreational take of clams and the commercial aquaculture of shellfish pursuant to a valid State Water Bottom lease and permit.

  • Point Reyes State Marine Reserve (SMR)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:
      37° 59.90' N. lat. 123° 01.29' W. long.;
      37° 59.90' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.;
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.;
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.;
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 122° 57.34' W. long.; and
      38° 01.75' N. lat. 122° 55.00' W. long.;
      thence westward along the mean high tide line onshore boundary to
      38° 01.783' N. lat. 122° 55.286' W. long.; and
      38° 01.954' N. lat. 122° 56.451' W. long.
    • The Point Reyes peninsula hosts 45% of North America’s bird species and almost 18% of California's plant species.
    • There are over 50 species of animals at Point Reyes that are listed by the state or federal government as threatened, rare, or endangered.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Take of all living marine resources is prohibited.

  • Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)
    • This area is bounded by the mean high tide line and straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed except where noted:
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.;
      37° 56.71' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.;
      thence eastward along the three nautical mile offshore boundary to
      37° 56.36' N. lat. 122° 57.34' W. long.;
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 122° 57.34' W. long.; and
      37° 59.00' N. lat. 123° 02.00' W. long.
    • Permitted/Prohibited Uses: Allows recreational take of salmon by trolling and Dungeness crab by trap and commercial take of salmon by troll fishing gear and Dungeness crab by trap.

This information does not replace the official regulatory language found in California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 632, including commercial allowances and restrictions.

  • A fishing license is required for any fishing.
  • All existing take regulations still apply in addition to the ones listed above.
  • Unless otherwise stated, all non-consumptive recreational activities are allowed.

Additional Resources:

For additional information on MPAs please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/

For resources related to MPAs, please visit the Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative’s website: http://www.californiampas.org/