Monitoring Enterprise

The South Coast region includes all state waters along the California coastline from Point Conception to the California/Mexico border, including the Channel Islands. On December 15, 2010, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a regional MPA network for the South Coast. These MPAs took effect on January 1, 2012.

Completing the Baseline Program

Ten projects designed to assess the baseline ecological and socioeconomic conditions in the South Coast are currently wrapping up data collection. The projects are the result of $4M in support from the California Ocean Protection Council and an independent peer review of proposals administered by California Sea Grant. Researchers began making observations in summer 2011 just prior to MPA implementation. Reports of their findings will undergo an additional peer review in late 2014 and be publicly available in 2015.

Baseline monitoring in the region encompasses a broad array of ecosystems including rocky shores, sandy beaches, shallow subtidal, subtidal rocky reefs, and deep water hard and soft substrates. Additional projects that cross ecosystem boundaries are assessing seabird and lobster populations, and patterns of human uses. An integrative project is facilitating collaboration and data comparability among the other projects, allowing for cross-ecosystem assessments. To learn more about the projects that are a part of this program, visit the South Coast page on

Planning Long-Term Monitoring

Upon completion of the South Coast MPA Baseline Program, ongoing monitoring will be guided by the South Coast MPA Monitoring Plan, which was adopted by the Fish and Game Commission on August 3, 2011. The Ocean Science Trust, working in partnership with the Department of Fish and Game, led a consultative process, involving stakeholders and scientists, to apply the MPA monitoring framework to the region and capture the unique ecological and socioeconomic aspects of the South Coast (see Framework to Guiding MPA Monitoring ). This broad, inclusive process ensures that monitoring is responsive to management needs, reflects stakeholder priorities and incorporates the best available science.