Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's environmental legacy certainly includes Assembly Bill 32, the law that aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Equally significant, and less well known, is his support for conserving California's diverse coastal and marine wildlife and habitats along the 1,100-mile coastline.
During his tenure, much of the process for creating a network of regional marine protected areas has come to fruition.
More than a decade ago, the Legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999, declaring that "California's extraordinary marine biological diversity is a vital asset to the state and nation. The diversity of species and ecosystems found in the state's ocean waters is important to public health and well-being, ecological health, and ocean-dependent industry."
The state was divided into five study regions.
During Schwarzenegger's tenure new marine sanctuaries were established in three of those regions:
South Coast (Point Conception to the California-Mexico border), approved just last week.
North Central Coast (Alder Creek near Point Arena to Pigeon Point) in August 2009.
Central Coast (Pigeon Point to Point Conception) in September 2007.
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