From rocky shores and estuaries to offshore pinnacles and submarine canyons, the North Coast region is home to a vast array of species, sustains productive commercial fisheries, and supports a variety of recreational activities. Humboldt Bay is the second largest estuary in California and is home to 40% of the state’s known eelgrass beds. Numerous rocks and islets located within the region prov...read more
With rocky cliffs and deep underwater canyons, California's northernmost shores are diverse, untamed, and rich in life.
Baseline monitoring began in 2014. Eleven projects are collecting data inside and outside of MPAs in the region.
The baseline program is the first step in MPA monitoring. It establishes a baseline – or benchmark – of ecological and socioeconomic conditions when the regional MPA network took effect and documents any initial socioeconomic and ecological changes in the region in the first few years following MPA implementation.
A COMPREHENSIVE SNAPSHOT OF THE REGION
Following implementation of the MPA network, the California Ocean Protection Council allocated $4-million to fund baseline monitoring inside and outside of MPAs in the region.
The baseline program management team composed of the Ocean Science Trust, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ocean Protection Council, and Sea Grant congruently oversee the program.
This team recognizes the distinct culture of the North Coast, and welcomes the opportunity to establish lasting relationships with the local community, including tribal governments, resource managers, local experts and scientists – as we collectively work toward a healthy and resilient marine environment.
SELECTING BASELINE PROJECTS
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released in April 2013. The RFP was developed through a collaboration among the baseline program management team, North Coast Community Liaisons, and North Coast community.
All proposals received were reviewed through an independent peer review process administered by California Sea Grant.
PARTNERING WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Planning for long-term monitoring will begin in 2015 – building on the knowledge and experience developed during baseline monitoring.
TAKING THE PULSE OF MARINE ECOSYSTEMS
Long-term monitoring answers two key questions:
What is the condition or ‘health’ of California’s marine ecosystems, inside and outside MPAs?
How are MPA design and management decisions helping to achieve the marine life protection goals of the MLPA?
These questions are at the heart of the MPA monitoring framework, which has been adopted by the state and forms the foundation of each regional MPA monitoring plan. By applying this framework, California can ensure that monitoring will assess progress toward the MLPA goals and allow cross-regional comparisons.
MEASURING PROGRESS TOWARD MPA NETWORK GOALS
The Ocean Science Trust, in partnership with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, will develop a long-term monitoring plan with the North Coast community. It’s essential that long-term monitoring reflects local priorities, is responsive to management needs, and incorporates rigorous science.
Draft monitoring metrics were developed with the North Coast community to inform baseline monitoring.