Tag Archives: MPA Watch

MPA Watch helps celebrate California Underwater Parks Day this January

STATEWIDE—California Underwater Parks Day arrives Saturday through Monday, January 19-21.

Salinas, CA, January 15, 2019 – STATEWIDE—California Underwater Parks Day arrives Saturday through Monday, January 19-21.

The annual event represents a special statewide celebration of a stunningly beautiful—and richly diverse—network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs) that includes gems like Point Reyes State Marine Reserve, Elkhorn Slough State Marine Reserve and Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area.

MPAs have helped conserve and protect the ocean along the legendary West Coast—and that means defending fuzzy otters and spotted harbor seals, electric orange nudibranchs and garibaldi, regal egrets and gorgeous grey whales, as well as protecting the ecosystems that support them.

It also means preserving famous viewscapes, areas of cultural significance to indigenous communities, and boosting local economies with the power of the tourist dollar.

As outlets including the BBC and PBS reported in 2015, the recovery of over-taxed ecosystems like Monterey Bay has translated to billions in tourism.

BBC series producer Adam White called Monterey Bay’s recovery “one of the greatest wildlife conservation success stories on the planet…and all of this is happening between San Francisco and Los Angeles—two of the largest cities in the world. If it can work here, it should inspire the rest of the world to take care of their ocean.”

That would not have happened without MPA Watch, which helps defend 58 different MPAs statewide.

The MPA Watch story is one of community heroism and tons of data. Legion volunteers use standardized methods to collect endless information on California’s beaches and bluffs inside and outside MPAs, recording all offshore and onshore coastal activities, from swimming and surfing to fishing and harvesting.

All data collected by volunteers undergo rigorous quality assurance before being accepted and shared with users like state coastal managers and environmental researchers.

Those authorities then use that information to target the most important places for enhanced education and outreach, signage, and law enforcement. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) leads the management and enforcement of MPA regulations.

All told MPA Watch heroes monitor 187,917 acres of marine protected areas. They submitted 3,164 surveys in 2018.

With warming oceans, oil companies hoping to drill in all sorts of places, poachers and other bad actors all threatening the health of California’s coast, continuing to protect the state’s ocean ecosystems now—and for generations to come—is a perpetual priority.

It also makes California Underwater Parks Day an important holiday and a major public benefit.

There are many ways for everyday people to get involved, including 1) completing simple surveys on the MPA Watch website, 2) volunteering to help monitor the coast’s MPAs, 3) donating to local MPA Watch organizations, and 4) visiting MPAs to enjoy their beauty!

More information awaits at www.mpawatch.org.

Contact:

Marci Bracco Cain

Chatterbox PR

Salinas, CA 93901

(831) 747-7455

http://www.mpawatch.org

MPA Watch in Need of Volunteers

Learn How to Support Today

Monterey, CA, May 15, 2018 — California’s scenic and spectacular 840-mile coastline and ocean are among the country’s most treasured resources and is central to the state’s identity, heritage and economy. California also leads the nation and the world in ocean protection, ensuring the preservation of important ecosystems along its coastline.

Volunteers are often the lifeblood of the many and varied organizations, both public and private, that help preserve and protect the coast and ocean. One of those organizations is MPA Watch, a citizen science monitoring program that trains volunteers to observe and collect unbiased data on human uses of coastal and marine resources both inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

By involving local communities in this important work, MPA Watch programs inspire and empower stewardship of the coast and ocean, and educate community members about California’s ocean ecosystems.

MPA Watch programs across the state of California are continually training a network of volunteers to monitor resource use inside and outside these protected areas. Volunteers use standardized protocols to collect relevant, scientifically rigorous, and broadly accessible data.

Not only do local volunteers learn about their coastal environment and become “citizen scientists” and stewards of the area, but they generate large quantities of monitoring data that would not be possible under the current state budget.

Citizen-science, also known as community science, is research conducted by trained volunteers from the general public who are interested in science, monitoring, and conservation of the marine environment. But, you do not need any scientific background to collect data for these surveys.

Volunteers will be trained to collect valuable data on ocean users and their activities, such as surfing, kayaking, fishing, boating, running, etc. Specifically, the MPA Watch volunteers will observe and record both consumptive and non-consumptive offshore and onshore activities in and around MPAs, which will improve our understanding of how people are using these new MPAs.

Data are meant to inform the management, enforcement, and science of California’ MPAs and allow us to see how human uses are changing as a result of implementation of these MPAs.

From 2010 to 2015, more than 850 MPA Watch volunteers were actively engaged in surveying MPAs from Mendocino County to San Diego County, resulting in more than 10,000 surveys.

Organizations in your community are always looking for volunteers to do this important work. To get involved, contact organizations that are operating MPA Watch programs in your area. Current organizations and their contact persons include:

Heal the Bay – Los Angeles County (Land-Based)

Jenna Segal, jsegal@healthebay.org

Los Angeles Waterkeeper – Los Angeles County (Boat-Based)

Michael Quill, mquill@lawaterkeeper.org

Orange County Coastkeeper – Orange County

Ray Hiemstra, ray@coastkeeper.org

Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC) – Marin County

Morgan Patton, morgan@eacmarin.org

California Academy of Sciences

Rebecca Johnson, rjohnson@calacademy.org

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper – Santa Barbara County

Penny Owens, penny@sbck.org

WILDCOAST – San Diego County

Angela Kemsley, angela@wildcoast.org

Greater Farallones Association – San Francisco and Surrounding Counties

Kirsten Lindquist, klindquist@farallones.org

Eagle Eyes of False Klamath Cove – Del Norte County

Ruthie Maloney, ruthiemaloney@gmail.com

Contact:

Marci Bracco Cain

Chatterbox PR

Salinas, CA 93901

(831) 747-7455

http://www.mpawatch.org