**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
The last twelve months have been an incredible journey for the North Central Coast MPA baseline period, as we reconnected with the local ocean community to share details of the first-ever broad characterization of the region. In April, we had the pleasure of presenting the State of the California North Central Coast to the California Fish and Game Commission, in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Five Year Management Review. This important milestone, marking the completion of the baseline period in the region, offers us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the past year.
A few fun facts:
692 miles: Our team has clocked almost 700 miles from traveling throughout the region to meet with community members, attend local events, and share details about the State of the North Central Coast. From Alder Creek to Pigeon Point and back again (and again, and again!), we just can’t get enough of the incredible coastline.
32 presentations: These ranged from 22 talks in MPA sessions at the Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) meeting, to the community gatherings we hosted throughout the region to learn about community priorities related to MPA monitoring.
2,096 sites: Have you checked out the North Central Coast Monitoring Dashboard yet? Here you’ll find loads of information about the monitoring sites that span across the region where local monitoring activities are taking place. And the Dashboard updates live… So if you lead a new or existing monitoring program and haven’t completed the survey yet, you can do so here!
665 downloads: The number of State of the Region reports that have been downloaded from OceanSpaces.org since it was launched in November.
Ocean Science Trust and our partners have had the pleasure of engaging with hundreds of members of the North Central Coast ocean community, including tribal leadership, local elected officials, academic institutions, fishermen, citizen scientists, environmental organizations, and state and federal agencies. During each conversation—whether it took place in-person at the First Annual Half Moon Bay “Fish and Fleet” Festival, over the phone, or via email—we always came away with a deeper understanding about the natural ecology and local community dynamics, thanks to the knowledge and generosity of the people who call the North Central Coast home.
We are deeply appreciative for the ongoing support of the North Central Coast ocean community and for your involvement in MPA baseline monitoring in the North Central Coast. Since 2010, many of you have been involved since the start of the baseline program, and each of you have been essential in helping Ocean Science Trust and our partners share baseline reporting to the local community, and beyond.
Over the coming months, the North Central Coast will transition from baseline to long-term monitoring. To support long-term statewide MPA monitoring the Ocean Protection Council allocated $3 million and the California Natural Resources Agency secured an annual allotment of $2.5 million of general funds. This next phase of monitoring will build on the foundation laid during the baseline period, and data collection will focus on priority habitats and selected sites . Ocean Science Trust, together with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Ocean Protection Council, looks forward to continuing to build on the network of over 20 collaborators involved in North Central Coast baseline monitoring—and the entire ocean community —as we embark on this new chapter of MPA monitoring in California.
Please feel free to keep in touch as we embark on this next phase, whether by joining the OceanSpaces newsletter, checking out the North Central Coast Ocean Community group, or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.