Marine Protected Area Tours ~ Morro Bay State Marine Reserve

Dive into California’s Underwater Parks!

Explore California’s Underwater Parks without getting your feet wet through a new online tour! The California Google MPA Tour features detailed descriptions of each of the state marine protected areas, National Marine Sanctuaries, and National Estuaries, with stunning photos and videos, and links to local “things to do” for your enjoyment and ease of vacation planning.

Morro Bay State Marine Reserve (SMR) is part of Morro Bay, but it’s the shallow mud flat eastern end that you see driving through the state park on State Park Road and along South Bay Blvd. toward Los Osos. You can also see some of this area from the Elfin Forest in Los Osos. On the map, this area looks like a bulge to the east of the main part of the Bay, and at low tide, much of it is drained. Unlike the rest of the bay, this is protected and a no-take area.

Passed by the California State Legislature in 1999, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) required the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to redesign its system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to increase its coherence and effectiveness at protecting the state’s marine life, habitats, and ecosystems. For the purposes of MPA planning, a public-private partnership commonly referred to as the MLPA Initiative was established, and the state was split into five distinct regions (four coastal and the San Francisco Bay), each of which had its own MPA planning process. All four coastal regions have completed these individual planning processes. As a result, the coastal portion of California’s MPA network is now in effect statewide.