The Ocean

Rockfish and understory at Portguese bend (c) Dave Witting

Restoring and Protecting Santa Monica Bay

The Santa Monica Bay sits in-between the cool waters of northern California and the warm waters of Baja California. The Bay’s mix of rocky reef, sandy areas, and rare submarine canyons attract a rich variety of marine life. But, because it shares a coastline with Los Angeles, the nation’s 2nd largest urban area, the marine life in the Bay face constant challenges from habitat loss, pollution, and overuse.

Our team of marine biologists study, protect, and restore the resources within our coastal ocean to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for marine life, and people that depend on and enjoy the Santa Monica Bay.


Diver having fun

The Work We Do


Kelp Forest Restoration

Kelp forest ecosystems are vital to over 700 marine species, including kelp bass, spiny lobster, and abalone. But over 75% of kelp forests in Santa Monica Bay have declined over the last 100 years, directly affected by commercial and recreational fishing, sedimentation, urban runoff, and ocean pollution. With its many partners, TBF’s Marine Program is actively restoring kelp forests along the Palos Verdes Peninsula… READ MORE

Abalone Restoration

Abalone are small but critical components of kelp forests, eating drift kelp and competing with sea urchins for space and food. Abalone once thrived in southern California, but overharvesting in the past century, loss of kelp habitat, and disease, nearly wiped out all 7 species found here. We are working to restore green abalone to kelp forests in the Santa Monica Bay… READ MORE


Green Abalone


Aerial Monitoring

Our team has been flying with LightHawk pilots since 2008 to conduct coastal aerial surveys. Originally started to provide fishery-independent data on boating activities for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) planning process, these data are now being used to evaluate the MPAs, water quality improvement projects, kelp forest restoration, ecosystem based management, and other management actions that may impact boating activities. Flights are made possible by the generous volunteer pilots of LightHawk. Click here to read our most recent report.