From the remote, rugged environment of the Channel Islands to the urban shores of Santa Monica and San Diego, the South Coast is a region of extremes. Along the mainland, sandy beaches dominate the nearshore habitats. Moving offshore, warm and cold currents mix and collide to create a complex oceanographic environment and habitats that support a high species diversity.
The South Coast region includes approximately 1,144 square miles of state waters along the California coast from Point Conception to the border with Mexico, including state waters around the Channel Islands. MPAs in this region were implemented in 2012 under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), incorporating the existing MPAs at the Channel Islands. Together the MPA network encompasses approximately 15% of state waters in the region, within 50 MPAs and two special closures