The Orange County Marine Protected Area Council (OCMPAC) is the state’s oldest MPA Collaborative, started in 1999. OCMPAC is a collaboration of city and county officials, institutional representatives, environmental advocates, academic faculty, and nonprofit organization members. OCMPAC seeks to provide beach visitors with consistent marine protected area related information throughout the county. For nearly two decades, the organization has accomplished this by developing regional interpretive signage, regional brochures, and holding annual docents trainings. OCMPAC’s accomplishments also include county-wide signage, enforcement trainings, education programs, research & monitoring, and teacher workshops. Based on their success, OCMPAC was used as a model for the development of the statewide network of collaboratives. In addition to establishing programs for docent education, public outreach, and consistent enforcement, OCMPAC is actively engaged in a range of citizen science projects that monitor the health of Orange County’s MPAs. Since its inception, OCMPAC has served a key role in coordinating organizations to support MPA management in Orange County.
Join the OCMPAC Mailing List
MPA Community Compliance Forum
The MPA Collaborative Network held Community Compliance Forums for each coastal county as part of a multi-year Compliance Initiative funded by the Ocean Protection Council. The Forums provided space for local stakeholders to voice their MPA, ocean, and coastal compliance concerns and brainstorm ideas to address those concerns.
In-Kind Contributions Evaluation
A project to quantify the value of services added by their MPA Collaborative. Completed in 2016. Published in 2019.
“This study illuminates the estimated contributions that entities are providing, without the requirement of a legal mandate, to further management of Orange County’s MPAs. This in-kind support enhances many aspects of effective MPA functioning, including scientific monitoring and research; outreach, education, and building compliance with MPA regulations; fundraising; and more.”
Guide to Tidepool Exploration in Orange County MPAs Brochure
This handy guide highlights some of the species that can be spotted within tidepools around Orange County. The guide also highlights best practices for tidepooling in order to have the lowest impact on this fragile and important habitat.
Guide to Orange County MPAs Brochure
This brochure provides general information on marine protected areas, allowed take, a map of Orange County MPAs and more.
Harry the Crab MPA Sign
OCMPAC’s Harry the Crab Sign can be found at every marine protected area beach entrance in Orange County. The branded sign provides tide pool patrons with low-impact viewing methods and information regarding how to report fishing violations.
Each year, OCMPAC provides new docent and recurrent docent trainings for all agencies and organizations providing intertidal interpretive programs within Orange County. This helps ensure that docents educate tidepool patrons in a consistent manner regardless of their organization or location within the County.
OCMPAC Leadership Team
Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine
Environmental Scientist, CA State Parks Orange Coast District