Santa Monica Bay habitats are home to a number of rare, threatened or endangered species.
Birds include the California brown pelican (marine), California least tern and western snowy plover (beach nesting species), Belding's savannah sparrow (wetlands), and the American peregrine falcon and California gnatcatcher (watershed habitats).
Butterflies include the El Segundo blue, Palos Verdes blue, and Wandering Skipper.
Plants include Santa Monica Mountains dudleya, Lyon's pentachaeta, Conejo buckwheat, and Santa Susanna tarweed. Valley oaks receive special attention in the Santa Monica Mountains because most individuals are very old and this is the southernmost extent of their range.
Most marine mammals and shore and seabirds are important to the general public for aesthetic reasons and/or recreational activities (birdwatching, whale watching). California sea lions and California gray whales are the most important mammals in this regard.
The most important recreational fishes include those that are frequently caught (chub mackerel, barred sand bass, and kelp bass) or those that have high sport value (California halibut, white seabass). California spiny lobster is an important invertebrate to sportfishermen in the area. Because commercial fisheries are limited in Santa Monica Bay, few species are important in the Bay. Northern anchovy is an important commercial bait fish used in sport fishing.