Campus Point

Goleta Point - photo copyright Bruce Perry

Goleta Point – photo copyright Bruce Perry

The Campus Point State Marine Conservation Area’s protected waters extend right up to the beach. This marine protected area is known for the many habitat types encompassed within its boundaries and for its close proximity to the UC Santa Barbara campus. From rocky shorelines to sandy beaches and kelp forests to oil seeps, this 10.5 square mile protected zone provides a safe sanctuary to a wide array of species that are representative of the southern California coastline.

Interesting Facts:

  • Watch out for tar! Coal Oil Point, a nature reserve administered by UC Santa Barbara, is named for the natural oil fissures offshore. Tar balls that seep from these fissures can be seen washed up on beaches seasonally. Chumash Native Americans used this tar earlier than 1000 A.D. to build canoes and facilitate trades. Campus Point SMCA has significant cultural heritage as well as ecological diversity.
  • Campus Point SMCA is considered one of the best places for threatened Western Snowy Plovers. The sandy beaches are “critical habitat” for these birds. They need a place to lay their eggs right on the sand and to find their food of choice—insects that live in and eat the kelp that washes ashore from kelp forests.
  • The full list of habitats within and around this SMCA contain over 12 distinct types: including: eelgrass, surfgrass, kelp, rocky reefs, shallow subtidal, rocky intertidal, oil seeps, sand, coastal dune, lagoon, salt marsh, and the Devereux Slough estuarine input.
  • Campus Point is designated as a no-take zone—no living resources may be harvested or removed.

Recreation Opportunities: