Starting in 2013, events including the arrival of warmer waters, sea star wasting syndrome and a subsequent explosion of purple sea urchins hit the Northern California coast and decimated 90 percent of the bull kelp forest. 

But now there’s hope of recovery: a community collaborative restoration program led by California Department of Fish and Wildlife has launched a plan to harvest the purple urchins to help maintain a network of healthy kelp patches along the coast. 

Surfrider’s Mendocino chapter has been part of these efforts. Find out more about the chapter’s Help the Kelp campaign here.

Courtesy Tristin McHugh

Don’t stress out the ocean critters!

Marine wildlife watching is a popular activity, and while we love to watch them, sometimes they watch us too. Stay alert – if an animal starts to stare, fidget, or flee into the water, you are too close! 

Remember to keep your distance and stay at least 150 feet away from marine mammals like seals, sea lions and sea otters, and remember to keep your pets on leash. Bring binoculars and enjoy wildlife from a safe viewing distance to protect their health and yours

More on marine wildlife viewing guidelines here.

Sea otters
Courtesy Bart Selby