In this project, scientists conducted baseline surveys of rocky intertidal areas within the north central coast marine protected areas (MPAs) and associated reference sites for two years (2010 and 2011). The main goal was to document community structure of target assemblages (e.g., mussels, barnacles, sea palms, and surfgrass), as well as to quantify abundances and sizes of key species (e.g., abalone, owl limpets and seastars). They also recorded biodiversity hotspots and species-habitat associations. Survey methods were coordinated with the two largest rocky intertidal monitoring programs in the state—Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) and Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe), and baseline surveys complement data collected by PISCO at core north central coast sites from 1995-2011. This baseline data, together with historical and future data will enable scientists to detect changes in intertidal areas associated with the MPAs.