April 26, 2016

Reef Check Contributes to First-Ever Broad Characterization of the North Central Coast

In 2010, Reef Check collaborated with California Ocean Science Trust and its partners to conduct baseline marine protected area (MPA) monitoring throughout the North Central Coast, an area that spans from Alder Creek near Point Arena to Pigeon Point. Thanks in great part to the dedication of our citizen scientist network, Reef Check California data have contributed to the recently released State of the California North Central Coast. This State of the Region report brings together information about water quality, fish and wildlife, and fishing and recreational uses for the most comprehensive snapshot of the region to date.

Produced in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Ocean Protection Council, the report reflects the work of more than twenty partner groups, ranging from university scientists to elementary school students and volunteer divers. More than 800 sites were monitored, from the kelp forests of Bodega Bay, to the beaches of Half Moon Bay, and the rocky reefs and sea stacks around the Farallon Islands. The report provides a comprehensive picture of the marine ecology and ocean activities of the region, with the goal that this information and data can help inform and/or be used by the local ocean community, including decision makers, citizen scientists, and interested members of the public. In addition to viewing the full report, be sure to check out the 2-page key findings summary available on OceanSpaces.org.

In an effort to share the results of the report more broadly, late last year Ocean Science Trust hosted a series of community gatherings throughout the region, where our very own North Coast Regional Manager Anna Neumann presented on Reef Check’s involvement in the baseline program. Additionally, Reef Check California survey sites have been included in the California Coastal Monitoring Dashboard, an interactive platform that illustrates the breadth of monitoring activities occurring in the North Central Coast. This information will be used to help design and implement the next phase of MPA monitoring in the region.

On April 13, Ocean Science Trust presented the State of the Region report to the California Fish and Game Commission. The presentation supported science-informed management of the region's MPAs as part of a joint presentation with the CDFW for the Five-Year Management Review of the North Central Coast.

Reef Check has continued to monitor sites in the region and has added new sites since the baseline period. If you are a diver and would like to get involved, please check out our schedule for a training near you at https://reefdpd.wpengine.com/california/training-schedule/