Orange County

MPA Council


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 programsresearch & 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.

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Related Publications


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.

Docent Trainings

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.

*The following sections and the pages linked in it are currently under construction and information may be missing or inaccurate as we work to make updates. 

MPA Management at the Local Level

Learn how OCMPAC contributes to MPA management by clicking each of the buttons below. Important information for visitors, educators, and researchers planning a trip to an Orange County MPA is provided on each page.

Orange County MPAs

Approximately 12 of Orange County’s 44-mile coastline has been designated as a marine protected area (MPA). Each MPA can be classified as a State Marine Reserve, State Marine Conservation Area or Special Closure. These classifications have different regulations associated with their status. OCMPAC recommends that individuals research fishing regulations for the location they intend to fish in Orange County prior to arrival, as failure to comply with these regulations may result in a citation.

OCMPAC Leadership Team

Cascade Sorte


Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine


Lana Nguyen


Environmental Scientist, CA State Parks Orange Coast District

Fiscal Sponsor

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