Ocean Science Trust and Mendocino Collaborative Team Up
Guest Post by Anna Neumann (Reef Check / Mendocino Collaborative)

On a bright and beautiful first day of August, the Mendocino MPA Collaborative and California Ocean Science Trust set up shop at the Bureau of Land Management’s Discover the Coast event in Point Arena.

Our goals were to build awareness of the region’s marine protected areas, as well as engage the community on newly released data from five years of baseline monitoring on the North Central Coast.

Most local residents and visitors were not familiar with the newly developed Mendocino Collaborative, and Ocean Science Trust’s recently launched efforts to share the results of the North Central Coast MPA Baseline Program. Dina and I joined Kelly Sayce of Strategic Earth and collaborative members Bill Lemos (NRDC), and Susan Moon of Point Arena to talk MPAs with the community and learn about local residents’ interests. This event represents the first efforts of the Mendocino Collaborative towards completing our collaborative project to raise awareness of MPAs through tabling at community events and making strategic local presentations.

Discover the Coast presented an opportunity to build and leverage a partnership between the MPA Collaborative Network and Ocean Science Trust. MPA Collaboratives represent a key link to coastal communities that Ocean Science Trust will reach out to in order to disseminate baseline results and make plans for long term monitoring of the state’s MPAs. Ocean Science Trust and the Collaborative Network’s goals to engage the community on MPAs go hand in hand.

In Mendocino–as in other regions–collaborative members have participated in citizen science activities that were part of baseline monitoring. I help manage Reef Check’s efforts to engage citizen scientists in conducting SCUBA surveys of rocky reefs on the North Coast, something that fellow collaborative member Bill Lemos has also helped with. We were able to share that first-hand knowledge with the community.

After spending the day engaging visitors at City Hall, the team took off to enjoy the “discovery walk” from City Hall out towards the Point Arena lighthouse, where we spoke with docents and took in the splendor of a beautiful day on the coast.

The Mendocino Collaborative looks forward to working more closely with Ocean Science Trust in the future – especially at events like this one.

To learn more about MPA monitoring, please visit Oceanspaces.