The habitat in the Ricketts SMCA is typically characterized by low-relief boulder and sand substrate types. Canopy forming kelp Macrocystis, exists in dense stands, throughout the CCSR the detritivorous bat stars (Asterina miniata) were present in large numbers. They were complimented here by purple urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) and giant sea stars (Pisaster giganteus). In the water column large numbers of rockfish were present such particularly blue (S. mystinus) and Olive / Yellowtail rockfish.
The reference sites for Ricketts SMCA are similar to the MPA sites, typically varied with slight to high and moderate relief and a primarily bedrock substrate. The rocky bottom makes ideal habitat for the giant kelp Macrocystis typically paired with the understory of Laminaria. The benthic environment is primarily made up sea stars mainly A. miniata but also the giant sea star P. gianteus and higher than usual numbers of abalone. The rockfish are found in the water column in large abundances, typically blue rock fish (S. mystinius) and to a lesser extent olive / yellowtail rockfish.