**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>

We’ve reached an important milestone in the South Coast marine protected area (MPA) baseline monitoring period! Technical reports from 9 monitoring projects in the South Coast MPA Baseline Program are now available for you to read. 

These reports provide a first look at the results of baseline monitoring in the South Coast, including socioeconomic and ecological monitoring. They are the first critical step in establishing a benchmark of conditions in South Coast MPAs. Click here to view them.

 

Wait, what is the South Coast MPA Baseline Program again?

The South Coast MPA Baseline Program is a key part of the baseline period. California Ocean Science Trust, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council, and California Sea Grant are working together as partners to design, implement, and support the Baseline Program, which is funded by the California Ocean Protection Council.  

In the Baseline Program, scientists, fishermen, and citizen science groups are working together to create a benchmark of ecosystem condition and human uses, and to examine initial changes in the region.

Projects in the Baseline Program encompass a broad range of ecosystems and include studies of human activities such as commercial and recreational fishing, beach use, and boating activities. Check out my last blog post for more details on the Baseline Program and how we are developing a benchmark for the South Coast region.

 

What’s in the technical reports?

In the technical reports, researchers discuss the methods that they used and results that they found as part of their baseline projects. The reports were peer reviewed by an independent panel of experts to evaluate their scientific and technical merit.

Huge congratulations to all of the researchers who participated in these projects! Click on the links below for more information about each project, and to access the reports:

 

What’s next?

Over the next 2 years, the Ocean Science Trust will be working with partners throughout the region to link other existing research and local knowledge (e.g., oceanography, water quality, citizen science monitoring) with what we’ve learned from the Baseline Program. Then, in 2016, results from all of this work will be brought together  to build a comprehensive benchmark of conditions in the South Coast, with findings available to everyone.

This benchmark will be used by MPA managers to inform adaptive management of MPAs.  It will also serve as a valuable resource in addressing issues such as water quality, fisheries management, climate change, and ocean acidification and hypoxia. The benchmark will also inform the design of long-term monitoring in the South Coast.

Later this year, researchers will share the data from each of the Baseline Program monitoring projects described in these technical reports. Look for another blog post when that happens!