By Reef Check California Director of Science Cyndi Dawson
Reef Check California (RCCA) expanded its reach once again into Baja last month, and continued to collect important data on California’s rocky reefs to help improve marine management. I joined Mary Luna, Mexico Project Manager, on a trip to Isla Natividad to continue our work with local commercial divers on monitoring some recently established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Be sure to check out the details of the trip in this newsletter.
There is big news in California this month as the Fish and Game Commission adopted a new set of MPAs on the north central coast. The new MPAs, 24 in total, will go into effect in January 2010 and will cover approximately 153 square miles (20.1%) of state waters in the north central coast study region; which extends from Alder Creek, near Pt. Arena, to Pigeon Point, in San Mateo County. Approximately 86 square miles (11%) of the 153 square miles are designated as “no take” state marine reserves, while varying levels of protection are designated for the rest.
RCCA is the only group conducting comprehensive subtidal surveys annually north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We are in the process of applying for funds to expand our program in this area to be part of the baseline monitoring for these new MPAs. You can get more details about the MPAs at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/northcentralhome.asp. Also you can view RCCA’s data from current sites in the region on our Nearshore Ecosystem Database (NED).
If you want the inside scoop on what is happening with RCCA you can follow me on Twitter. I will continue “tweeting” throughout the season to keep everyone updated on the RCCA program and my exploits as Director of Science. All relevant updates will also be posted on the Forum; including daily blogs when I am on the road spreading the word about Reef Check.
We continue to be on the front lines of improving marine management in California and need your support! Your donations to RCCA go directly to supporting the collection of the critical data needed to sustainably manage California’s marine resources. If you aren’t a member, please join us!