Orange County is home to a beautiful coastline that is packed full of marine life in many different habitats: kelp forests, rocky intertidal zone, sandy shores, and estuaries to name a few. To maintain these habitats and the wild populations they support in an area under increasing stress from human activities, California has had to implement protected areas in specific locations up and down the coast. An Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) is one type of protected area that aims to support and protect natural marine ecosystems and heritage, improve the opportunities for human activities, and ensure a strong coastal economy. An ASBS differs from a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the policies that are instated within each one. ASBS policies are put into place to make sure that water quality standards are met. These ASBS regulations prohibit waste from entering the protected habitat through drains and natural water outputs. The State Water Resources Control Board has designated three ASBS within Orange County: the Robert E. Badham (Newport Coast) ASBS (#32), the Irvine Coast (Crystal Cove) ASBS (#33), and the Heisler Park ASBS (#30). Look at our map for their locations or go to the State Water Resources Control Board website for more detailed information and an interactive map of all 34 California ASBS.
Find the latest ASBS report here.
Orange County's Areas of Special Biological Significance