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

As the North Coast MPA baseline monitoring period is nearing completion, we wanted to extend our thanks to the many individuals and organizations involved in this comprehensive multi-year effort across the North Coast. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Ocean Protection Council (OPC), Ocean Science Trust (OST), and California Sea Grant administered regional marine protected area (MPA) baseline monitoring to characterize the ecological and socioeconomic conditions near the time of MPA implementation. More than 30 organizations and many more individuals contributed to North Coast baseline monitoring, including 11 individual projects selected in 2013 through a competitive peer review process across coastal ecosystem features.


Fort Bragg Community Gathering
November 3, 2017
CDFW photo by Leandra Lopez

North Coast ecosystems studied included sandy beach and surf zone, rocky intertidal, estuaries, and both rocky and soft bottom subtidal ecosystems at various depths ranging from nearshore reefs and kelp forests out to mid- and deep-water ecosystems. Projects also focused on recreationally and commercially important species, seabirds, and incorporated traditional ecological knowledge, as well as human dimensions, and oceanographic patterns across the region.

We truly appreciate the hard work that has contributed to our understanding of marine conditions comprehensively across the North Coast, to establish a point in time near MPA implementation to compare future conditions to in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the MPAs at meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act.


Findings from the North Coast MPA Baseline Monitoring Projects shared at the Community Gatherings
CDFW photo by Leandra Lopez

North Coast Community Gatherings in Crescent City, Eureka, and Fort Bragg were hosted by CDFW, OPC, and OST from November 1-3 to present and discuss key baseline monitoring information from the State of the California North Coast report and long-term monitoring efforts. The gatherings were attended by more than 80 participants, including fishermen, Tribal citizens, researchers, citizen scientists, educators, and more. We will continue to post related products on the North Coast page on Oceanspaces and encourage you to check out the recently released Snapshot report “Exploring Where the River Meets the Sea.”



Looking Ahead

California’s Statewide MPA Monitoring Program consists of two phases. With Phase 1 regional baseline monitoring nearing completion, California is now designing and implementing Phase 2 statewide long-term monitoring. The state has committed an annual allotment of $2.5 million for Phase 2, which began in 2016. This next phase builds on the local knowledge, capacity, and unique considerations for each region, including the North Coast. For those interested in staying involved, a public comment period is anticipated for the draft Statewide MPA Monitoring Action Plan in early 2018.


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Questions? Looking for more information? Please contact Adam.Frimodig@wildlife.ca.gov