Ocean Protection Council awards $9.5 million for marine protected area monitoring

unerwater close up of some kelp
May 24, 2019
Media Contact— Katherine Leitzell / kleitzell@ucsd.edu / (858) 246-1661

At its May 23 meeting, the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) unanimously approved seven research projects totaling $9.5 million in funding through the Marine Protected Area Monitoring Program.

The awards are administered by California Sea Grant in partnership with the OPC and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Each project is a statewide coordinated research effort that focuses on one ecosystem type and will involve researchers from multiple universities. 

The new awards will support up to three years of research for the state’s network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs). The awards were selected by a panel of experts based on the Statewide Monitoring Action Plan, which 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.

The awards are large collaborative projects that will in total include researchers at 24 universities, agencies, and institutions in the state.

The MPA monitoring program will build upon data collected during the MPA Baseline Monitoring Program, which ran from 2007-2018.

Project Information

Establishing a statewide baseline and long-term MPA monitoring program for commercial and CPFV fisheries in the state of California

PI: Jon Bonkoski (Ecotrust)

Co-PI’s: Cheryl Chen (Independent Consultant), Laurie Richmond (Humboldt State University), Kelly Sayce (Strategic Earth Consulting)

Monitoring and evaluation of kelp forest ecosystems in the MLPA marine protected area network

PI: Mark Carr (UC Santa Cruz)

Co-PI’s: Kristy Kroeker (UC Santa Cruz), Jan Freiwald (Reef Check Foundation), Brian Tissot (Humboldt State University), Dan Pondella (Occidental College), Yuichiro Takeshita (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), Kyle Cavanaugh (UCLA), Jennifer Caselle (UC Santa Barbara)

Evaluating the performance of California’s MPA network through the lens of sandy beach and surf zone ecosystems

PI: Jenny Dugan (UC Santa Barbara)

Co-PI’s: Henry Page (UC Santa Barbara), Robert Miller (UC Santa Barbara), Kristin Lindquist (Greater Farallones Association), Jose Marin Jarrin (Humboldt State University), Tim Mulligan (Humboldt State University), Mark Colwell (Humboldt State University), Dan Robinette (Point Blue Conservation Science), Kristina Neuman (Point Blue Conservation Science), Scott Hamilton (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories/San Jose State University), Karina Nielsen (San Francisco State University), Seth Ricker (California Department of Fish and Wildlife), John Garza (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Southwest Fisheries)

California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program – monitoring and evaluation of California marine protected areas

PI: Scott Hamilton (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories/San Jose State University), Rick Starr (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories/San Jose State University)

Co-PI’s: Benjamin Ruttenberg (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Dean Wendt (Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Lyall Bellquist (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego), Jennifer Caselle (UC Santa Barbara), Steven Morgan (UC Davis), Timothy Mulligan (Humboldt State University), Brice Semmens (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego), Joe Tyburczy (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego and Humboldt State University)

Assessment of rocky intertidal habitats for the California marine protected area monitoring program

PI: Peter Raimondi (UC Santa Cruz)

Co-PI’s: Matthew Bracken (UC Irvine), Jayson Smith (CSU Polytechnic University), Jennifer Burnaford (CSU Fullerton), Erika Delemarre (LiMPETS), Cascade Sorte (UC Irvine), Jennifer Caselle (UC Santa Barbara), Rani Gaddam (UC Santa Cruz)

Integrated ocean observing systems for assessing marine protected areas across California

PI: Henry Ruhl (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Co-PI’s: Clarissa Anderson (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego), Christopher Edwards (UC Santa Cruz), Mati Kahru (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego), Robert Bochenek (Axiom Data Science)

Monitoring and evaluation of mid-depth rocky reef ecosystems in the MLPA marine protected areas

PI: Richard Starr (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories/San Jose State University)

Co-PI’s: Jennifer Caselle (UC Santa Barbara), Amanda Kahn (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), Andrew Lauermann (Marine Applied Research and Exploration), James Lindholm (CSU Monterey Bay), Brian Tissot (Humboldt State University)

More information

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:

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Our headquarters is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; we are one of 33 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.