**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
A bit more than a year ago on this blog, we asked a question: “MPAs and Citizen Science: What’s the opportunity?” Since then we’ve been exploring that question through the California Citizen Science Initiative.
We have strived to address big broad questions: Can citizen science play a role in ocean resource management? Why might managers want to work with citizen science programs? Is citizen science credible? What are the challenges to productive partnerships?
But we’ve also had a very specific focus on the California Central Coast, where we’ve been engaging with more than 30 different citizen science programs focused on ocean and coastal issues in that region. We’ve explored the opportunity to expand the role of citizen science in marine protected area (MPA) monitoring by learning more about these many different groups, and incorporating what we’ve learned into the ongoing planning and implementation of MPA monitoring (more on Central Coast MPA monitoring here).
Today we’re happy to release a new guidance document that brings together our findings from all of this work. We hope this serves as a useful reference for anybody working in this space, in California and beyond: managers, funders, citizen scientists, citizen science program staff, and anyone else with an interest in how different forms of science can successfully inform natural resource management. Click the image above, to download a pdf copy, and please do let us know what you think!