Monitoring Regions and Ecosystems
California is home to the largest scientifically based network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the nation. Planning is just the first chapter; scientific monitoring is essential to evaluate the effects of MPAs and inform ocean management. A statewide framework – adopted as state policy – guides a partnership-based approach to monitoring. A central question lies at the heart of the framework: What is the health of California’s ocean, inside and outside the MPAs?
California’s investment of $16 million in MPA monitoring is securing an assessment of the ecological and socioeconomic conditions of ocean ecosystems along the length of its coast. This ‘benchmark’ – completed in the Central Coast and North Central Coast and underway in the 2 remaining regions – provides a starting point for long-term MPA monitoring.
A healthy ocean is a priority for the state, and is a driver of California’s vibrant economy. Long-term scientific monitoring is essential for evaluating MPA network performance, and it will also serve California decision-makers broadly, across a variety of agencies and mandates.