ESTABLISHING A BENCHMARK FOR SOUTH COAST MPAs

The South Coast MPA baseline period extends from 2012-2017. During this time, researchers, citizen scientists, managers, and others are collaborating to establish a benchmark against which future MPA performance can be measured, and to provide a foundation for rigorous science-informed decisions in the region. Work conducted during the baseline period includes the state-funded South Coast MPA Baseline Program, together with contributions from other scientific efforts in the region and collaborative work to share the results of these collective monitoring activities.

This scientific benchmark presents a current picture of the South Coast Coast, which can be used to track future changes, and provides a foundation for managers to make science-informed decisions for the region. The results of this work will inform the first monitoring and management review of the South Coast MPA network by the California Fish and Game Commission, anticipated in 2017. Monitoring results can also inform work on issues such as fisheries management, water quality, coastal development, and climate change.

Technical reports from this baseline work are now available here.

Looking for updates on South Coast activities? Join the South Coast Monitoring Community to receive region-specific updates.

 

Planning

 

DEVELOPING AN MPA MONITORING PLAN FOR THE SOUTH COAST

In 2010, California Ocean Science Trust, in collaboration with California Department of Fish and Wildlife, stakeholders, scientists, and others, led the development of the South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan. The South Coast MPA monitoring plan provides recommendations for “taking the pulse” of marine ecosystems and ocean-based human activities, and assessing the effectiveness of MPA design to inform management decisions. It is grounded in an innovative framework that forms the foundation for baseline and long-term monitoring for all of California's regional plans. In 2012, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted it as an appendix to the MLPA master plan for MPAs.

Read the full South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan here.

Read an in-brief version of the South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan here.

See an overview of the MPA monitoring framework here.

 

INVESTING IN MONITORING

The state has invested $4-million in MPA monitoring in the South Coast region of California. These investments build upon and leverage other ongoing activities in the region, and were further augmented by $2-million from the Department of Defense to expand the monitoring in the region. Many other groups are contributing their time, resources, and knowledge to build a benchmark of conditions in the South Coast at the time of MPA implementation.

Collecting Data

South Coast baseline results come from ten state-funded projects in the South Coast MPA Baseline Program, and many other sources. Data and knowledge collected during the South Coast MPA baseline period will provide a benchmark of ecological and socioeconomic conditions at the time of MPA implementation.

 

THE SOUTH COAST MPA BASELINE PROGRAM

The South Coast MPA Baseline Program is focused on monitoring ecological and socioeconomic conditions inside and outside of MPAs. The program began in late 2011 and includes nine state-funded monitoring projects that encompass a broad range of ecosystems and also examine human activities, including fishing and beach use. A tenth project focuses on integrating knowledge from across the other nine baseline projects.

To learn more about these projects and view the final reports, visit their project pages below

 

PARTNERING TO ESTABLISH A BENCHMARK

During the South Coast MPA baseline period, researchers, citizen scientists, managers, and others are collaborating to establish a benchmark against which future MPA performance can be measured, and to provide a foundation for science-informed decisions in the region. The South Coast benchmark will draw broadly on existing research and local knowledge in the South Coast, beyond the projects in the Baseline Program. This includes research and monitoring in the areas of citizen science, water quality, oceanographic conditions and fisheries management. These collaborative efforts will extend into 2016, with results informing the first management review of the South Coast MPA network in early 2017.

 

Sharing Results

 

SOUTH COAST MPA BASELINE PROGRAM RESULTS

Researchers who participated in the South Coast MPA Baseline Program wrapped up data collection in 2014 and began analyzing their results and describing their findings in technical reports. These technical reports are availablehere. The data from these projects are also now available on OceanSpaces. See the MPA Baseline Project pages, or the OceanSpaces data archive to access downloadable data packages.

 

SHARING RESULTS BROADLY

The results of South Coast MPA baseline monitoring--from the MPA Baseline Program and other sources--will be available to everyone. California Ocean Science Trust, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council, and California Sea Grant will work together to share monitoring activities and findings through a variety of outlets, including, community meetings, blogs, public reports, academic publications, conferences, and here on OceanSpaces.

While the products generated from the baseline monitoring period may take a variety of forms, the Ocean Science Trust, along with state partners, will develop of a State of the Region report that brings these materials together. This product will look across projects to create a snapshot of conditions in the region the time the MPAs were implemented.