Natural Resources

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Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area 

Big Corona and the southern coves of the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) are considered a Marine Protected Area. There is ABSOLUTELY NO COLLECTING of animals, shells or rocks from the tidepools of these protected areas. For more information, visit

Marine Protection & Education Contact Information:
Derek Breaux, Coordinator
949-644-3036 | 

If you have a group that is interested in visiting the tidepools, please call 949-644-3036 or email to schedule your visit.


Western Snowy Plover 

The Western Snowy Plover (Plover) is a small shorebird that can be found along the Pacific Coast from Baja California to Washington. Since 1993, the Polver has been listed as a "threatened" species and is federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  A population of Plover’s live and nest on the Balboa Peninsula, between B Street and the Wedge (a distance of over one mile), for a majority of the year.

Under the ESA, the area between B Street to G Street, is designated a “critical habitat” area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Critical habitat “is a term in the ESA that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection” (USFWS).

Management and protection of the critical habitat area is an important part of the USFWS’s recovery plan that aims to increase the Plover’s population and meet specific criteria to one day remove them from the endangered species list. Learn more about the City's efforts to manage the Newport Beach Western Snowy Plovers critical habitat area.


Other Programs 

  • Tidepool Exploration  
  • Coastal Cleanup Day
  • Monthly Marine Protected Area Hikes
  • Fostering Interest in Nature (FIiN) Program-Coming Spring 2019
  • Field Trips

Programs and activities are weather and tide dependent. Make sure you check the tides before you head out to explore. Conditions vary from day to day. Check tide conditions in the local newspaper or get tides and weather conditions online. Remember, the lower the tide, the better your experience.

Both of the photos shown below were taken mid-afternoon on different days.

  • Tidepooling in the afternoon in the photo on the right may lead to some excellent discoveries and seeing cool creatures.
  • Tidepooling on the afternoon in the photo on the left will most likely lead to a wet (and possible dangerous) trip with very little to see.

 Here is a sample of the same beach at low tide and high tide.

Low Tide


High Tide

Little Corona Beach at Low Tide   Little Corona Beach at High Tide 


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