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.

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