**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
For me, the participating in MPA monitoring has been an unforgettable journey up and down the coast of California. From the warm clear waters of Santa Barbara Island to the cold murky waters at Pyramid Point SMCA on the California and Oregon border, each site has its own special charm.
The most memorable part of this five-year journey has been seeing the vast differences amongst the numerous dive sites. Some highlights include the tall kelp forests at Johnson’s Lee, Santa Rosa Island, the amazing hydrocoral at Carmel Pinnacles, Monterey, the staggering abalone density of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, the vivid red vermilion rockfish in the deep at Double Cone SMCA, and the shining surf perch and endless surprises of Trinidad in Humboldt County. Each and every site is unique, special and inspiring in its own way.
Having conducted subtidal rocky reef surveys in almost every region of the state, I am thankful to have had the opportunity to observe the amazing diversity of the nearshore reefs of the California coast. I am still eager to explore the next sites we visit here in the NCSR this summer.
The North Coast MPA Baseline Program is composed of 11 projects and over 30 organizations collaborating to monitor a wide variety of habitats, build an understanding of human dimensions, and bring traditional knowledge to bear on ecosystem health. Visit the North Coast region page to learn more, and join the North Coast Monitoring Community to stay informed of activities in this region.