Natural Resources

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When visiting our beaches and tidepools, please follow agency health safety while also adhering to guidelines normally required by the City and State. Important guidelines to know include: no removing or collecting from any tidepools within Marine Protected Areas (any beaches south of and including Corona Del Mar State Beach, as well as the Upper Newport Bay); fishing licenses are required by the State of California to fish in most locations (please see official State regulations for specific rules); and fishing is allowed only from designated areas on shore along the Newport Back Bay - no fishing of vessels (north of PCH).

Thank you for your help in maintaining a healthy ecosystem for all to enjoy.

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:
Carissa Macias, Natural Resources Supervisor
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.


Fostering interest in Nature (FiiN) Program (Fall 2022)

The Recreation & Senior Services Department is proud to announce the return of the Fostering interest in Nature (FiiN) program! FiiN is a four day, three-night science camp specifically for Title I fifth grade classes in Orange County. FiiN operates for 10 weeks between September and December. Through FiiN, students get to experience camping in tents, hiking nature trails in Big Canyon, learning about marine ecology at the Back Bay Science Center, and building water safety knowledge and an appreciation for outdoor recreation while kayaking in the scenic and history-rich Newport Back Bay.

For many of the students, this is their first experience being away from home without a parent/guardian and for some it can also be their first time visiting the coast. With an emphasis on habitat ecology and the natural history of the Back Bay, the program also provides an outdoor experience that builds character, friendships, and independence as students prepare for middle school.  While students learn and explore, they make memories that provide them with a lifetime connection to the environment and outdoor recreation which fosters their interest in nature!   

Special thanks to the many partners that are integral to the operation of the program including the Newport Bay Conservancy and the Newport Dunes. For more information or to find out how you can be a part of the FiiN program in 2023, contact 949-644-3036.


FiiN 3
FiiN 2
 FiiN 1
FIIN Logo-Flat copy 2



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 High Tide

  Little Corona Beach at Low Tide


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