Areas of Special Biological Significance

What’s an ASBS?

In order to protect and restore fragile and biologically rich ecosystems along our coast, the State of California designated 34 special marine reserves called “Areas of Special Biological Significance” (ASBS). ASBS are areas requiring protection of species or biological communities through maintaining high water quality. For 40 years, protective regulations for these special areas have helped play a role in halting offshore drilling in California, and in creating California’s network of marine protected areas — our “national parks in the sea.” Weakening and complicating protections for these special areas would undermine California’s status as a pioneer in safeguarding our coasts.

Thanks to a lawsuit by LA Waterkeeper (LAW) and NRDC, a federal Clean Water Act Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit is being enforced for the first time ever in California since such permits were first issued in the 1990’s. Data collected by LAW volunteers showed that the county has been violating the Permit, by discharging waste into bodies of water from the Mugu Lagoon to Latigo Point Area of Special Biological Significance (ASBS) – a marine coastal reserve in Northern Los Angeles County- since 1999. In addition, data also revealed levels of bacteria that exceeded standards established to protect public health at the world-famous Surfrider Beach in Malibu.

On April 26, 2010 the federal district court in Los Angeles found Los Angeles County liable for discharging harmful stormwater and non-stormwater pollution at Surfrider Beach and the ASBS. This is a huge step in  keeping our waters clean and safe.

LA Waterkeeper continues to work to keep L.A. County ASBS protections strong.

Where are the ASBS in L.A. County?

There are several ASBS in L.A. County including:

For the most up-to date maps and information, please visit the State Water Resources Control Board website.

Contact Us

LA Waterkeeper
120 Broadway, Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 310-394-6162
Fax: 310-394-6178

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