The Marine Life Protection Act requires monitoring, research, and evaluation at selected sites to facilitate adaptive management of MPAs. Research and monitoring are essential to tracking conditions and trends of marine populations, habitats, and ecosystems in order to understand how they change over time. Research and monitoring are a key component to evaluating MPA design and effectiveness and making informed management decisions.
To monitor California’s MPAs, CDFW, OPC, and the Fish and Game Commission collaboratively direct the MPA Monitoring Program. The program includes a two-phased, ecosystem-based approach: Baseline Monitoring and Long-Term Monitoring.
The MPA Monitoring Program is organized into three core components for efficient implementation and useful results: Science, Communication, and Evaluation. MPA monitoring results, combined with additional sources of information, inform the State’s adaptive management process.
View all MPA monitoring data, technical reports, and synthesized products
Regional baseline monitoring established a comprehensive benchmark of ecological and socioeconomic conditions at or near the time of regional MPA implementation, and serves as an important set of data against which future conditions can be measured.
Administered by CDFW, OPC, California Ocean Science Trust, and California Sea Grant, and guided by regional MPA monitoring plans, baseline monitoring projects were funded across coastal ecosystem features. Baseline monitoring occurred from 2007 – 2018, and included 37 state-funded regional monitoring projects across the state. Data and results were described in technical reports for each funded project, summarized into a “State of the Region” report for each region, and informed an initial 5-year management review regarding regional MPA implementation.
California is designing and implementing statewide long-term monitoring to reflect current priorities and management needs, and build on the knowledge, capacity, and unique considerations developed for each region during the MPA planning process and baseline monitoring, additional scientific studies, and other emerging scientific tools.
Beginning in 2016, funding for long-term has maintained or expanded the geographic scope of data collection in select ecosystems, maintained capacity of CDFW to collect data through equipment upgrades, expanded science-management collaborations, and supported the development of the Open Data Portal.
In 2018, CDFW and OPC developed the MPA Monitoring Action Plan (Action Plan) to inform next steps for long-term monitoring. The Action Plan prioritizes key measures and metrics, habitats, sites, species, human uses, and management questions to target for long-term monitoring and aid in the evaluation of the MPA Network in meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act.
MPA Monitoring Action Plan (Full Document with Appendices) (PDF) (2018)
MPA Site Selection Workshop Proceedings (PDF) (2018)
Deep-water Ecosystem Monitoring Workshop #1 Summary (PDF) (2017)
Deep-water Ecosystem Monitoring Workshop #2 Summary (PDF) (2017)
Regional Ocean Model System Overview Workshop Proceedings (PDF) (2017)
Other MPA Monitoring & Research Resources
A Framework for Informing Permitting Decisions in MPAs (PDF) (2017)
Remotely Operated Vehicle Deepwater Benthic Fish and Habitat Statewide Sampling (PDF) (2016)
MPAs and Fisheries Integration Workshop Proceedings (PDF) (2011)
Channel Islands MPAs: Report on the 2003-2008 Monitoring (PDF) (2008)
Channel Islands MPA Monitoring Plan (PDF) (2004)
Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940
AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov | (831) 649-2870
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