A team of academics, citizen scientists, fishermen and tribal governments will begin a collaborative baseline monitoring program today for California's newest marine protected areas along the North Coast -- part of the nation's most expansive network of marine reserves.
In the program, researchers from more than 30 organizations will begin an assortment of projects to gather data on the baseline ecological and socioeconomic conditions of the North Coast's marine protected areas, according to California Ocean Science Trust associate scientist Erin Meyer.
”With 32 organizations participating, it's an amazingly comprehensive program,” Meyer said. “It is a very collaborative and interdisciplinary program.”
The 20 North Coast protected areas -- consisting of 19 marine protected areas and one marine recreational management area -- took effect on Dec. 19, 2012, and cover 137 square miles along the North Coast, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The baseline program is led by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, a partnership between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Sea Grant, the California Ocean Protection Council and the California Ocean Science Trust.
Over the three-year span of the program, 11 projects will examine ocean conditions and human uses in eight natural ecosystems along the North Coast.