Marine Protected Area Monitoring Program 2019: Solicitation

Funding Category
Grants and Funding
Application Deadline
Proposal Contact:

Solicitation for Qualification Requests & Full Proposal Requests

California Sea Grant is now soliciting Qualification Requests and Full Proposal Requests for the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) 2019 Marine Protected Area (MPA) Monitoring Program.  This MPA Monitoring Program 2019 Solicitation is administered by California Sea Grant in partnership jointly with CDFW and OPC. The OPC has authorized $9.5 million to support the MPA Monitoring Program in this solicitation to inform adaptive management and evaluate the performance of the MPA Network in preparation for the decadal management review, the first of which is in 2022.

This announcement invites the submission of proposals of one of two types (Qualification Request or Full Proposal Request), depending on the type of work to be proposed (see full announcement for additional details):  

  1. Qualification Request is focused on data collection in combination with an analysis of existing historical data for priority habitat types and human use types, sites and species of interest.
  2. Full Proposal Request is focused on developing a broadly supported and inclusive process to advance the collection and use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to help inform the adaptive management of California’s MPA Network.

For successful applicants, work is expected to begin approximately 16 May 2019 and must end (i.e. including completion of all revised final reports) no later than 15 May 2022. 

Regardless of type – applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm PST, Thursday, December 20, 2018 using eSeaGrant, California Sea Grant’s electronic proposal submission system.


Program Summary
How to Submit


Recognizing the importance of California’s marine resources to the state’s coastal economy, public well-being, and ecological health, the California Legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA, Chapter 10.5 of the California Fish and Game Code [FGC], §2850-2863) in 1999. The MLPA required the state to redesign its pre-existing system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to function as a statewide network in order to protect the abundance, integrity, and diversity of marine life, habitats, and ecosystems for future generations. The MLPA was implemented across California’s coast incrementally, and resulted in the creation of an ecologically connected network of 124 new or redesigned MPAs and 15 special closures.

Management of California’s MPA Network is a highly collaborative process led by the Fish and Game Commission (Commission), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC).  CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, and is the lead managing agency for the MPA Network, while OPC serves as the policy lead for the implementation of MLPA activities.

California’s MPAs are adaptively managed as a network through the MPA Management Program (Management Program). The MLPA defines adaptive management of MPAs as a process that facilitates learning from program actions and helps evaluate whether the MPA Network is making progress toward achieving the goals of the MLPA.   The Statewide Monitoring Action Plan (, recently approved by the Ocean Protection Council, informs next steps for long-term MPA monitoring in California by aggregating and synthesizing work to date, as well as by incorporating novel, quantitative, and expert-informed approaches. This Action Plan lists key evaluation questions and prioritizes metrics, habitats, sites, and species to target for long-term monitoring in order to inform the evaluation of California’s MPA Network.  It also calls for use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to help inform the adaptive management of California’s MPA Network. 

To achieve progress delineated in the Action Plan, OPC and CDFW are partnering with California Sea Grant to announce this opportunity to support a monitoring program, including the use of TEK, for the state’s MPAs over the next three years.  California Sea Grant will handle submission and review of proposals, and management of awards, that will be based on the state’s published plan.

We invite all those interested in submitting qualifications and proposals to visit the following resources:

MPA Monitoring Program: These websites host information and resources related to the MPA Monitoring Program, including references and other supporting information.

MPA Monitoring Program Data: These websites host access to MPA regulation, outreach, and monitoring data resources.

MPA Management Program:


There was an optional informational webinar about this solicitation on Thursday, November 15.

Access the presentation here. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Individuals associated with institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, and federal, state, local and tribal governments are all eligible to submit proposals. If you have any questions regarding eligibility, please e-mail


Both Full Proposal Request and Qualification Request must be submitted using eSeaGrant:   

Instructions on how to submit via eSeaGrant can be found here:


  • December 20, 2018, 5:00 pm – deadline for submissions using eSeaGrant
  • Mid-February 2019 – panel(s) convene to review submissions
  • Mid-late February 2019 – OPC, CDFW, California Sea Grant work with PIs to modify projects, as required
  • Mid-March 2019 – Project selection completed and PIs notified of provisional award intent
  • Late March - mid-May 2019 - California Sea Grant works with provisional awardees to set up awards
  • May 15, 2019 - Ocean Protection Council formally approves award recommendations
  • May 16, 2019, and later (approximately)  – Awards to PIs/teams start, work begins
  • May 15, 2020, 2021 – annual reports from PIs due to California Sea Grant
  • October 31, 2021 – draft final report due to California Sea Grant
  • Nov-Dec 2021 – review of draft final technical reports by California Sea Grant, OPC and CDFW
  • February 1, 2022 – revised final reports due to California Sea Grant
  • May 15, 2022 - all projects completed