Fitzgerald Marine Reserve lies within the Montara State Marine reserve, a Marine Protected Area (MPA) under the Marine Life Protection Act. MPAs safeguard unique marine habitats to conserve biological diversity, provide a sanctuary for marine life, and enhance recreational and educational opportunities.
The San Mateo Coast has offshore up-welling of nutrient-rich water during the spring and summer, complex geology with offshore rocks, sea level reefs and pocket beaches, and a generally mild and relatively constant marine-dominated climate. These conditions favor abundant and diverse marine life. It is not surprising, therefore, that the inter-tidal and marine resources within the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve are renown for their richness and diversity. The rocky reefs, habitat of the marine life that is the Reserve's main attraction and source of learning, can be recognized as ten distinct areas along the 3-mile Reserve shoreline (Smith 1993).
The majority of the Reserve is comprised of nonnative vegetation including monterey cypress grove(s), invasive non-native species (i.e., german ivy, pampas grass), weedy species, ornamental plantings, and garden escapes. However, three sensitive plant communities are also present: northern coastal bluff scrub, central coast arroyo willow riparian forest, and freshwater marsh. The adjacent coastal bluffs are devoid of vegetation due to soil erosion.
Experience Fitzgerald Marine Reserve's natural features up close with a self-guided tour.
Prepare for a safe and enjoyable visit to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and other San Mateo County Parks by being aware of your natural environment.