PISCO has been heavily engaged in both the design and monitoring of the implemented Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) marine protected areas to date. Our previous work conducting oceanographic and ecosystem monitoring studies and informing the design of the MLPA MPAs have given PISCO an intimate knowledge of the requirements for monitoring of these long term MPAs.
PISCO spearheaded baseline monitoring studies of kelp forest and rocky shore ecosystems in the recently established MPAs in central California by the MLPA. In 2007, the PISCO kelp forest monitoring program was required to double the size and extent of its monitoring in central California to achieve a minimum replication of 4 locations inside and 4 locations outside of each MPA, extending from Point Conception to Monterey Bay. Likewise, the rocky shore monitoring program increased the number of monitoring sites by fifty percent (34 new sites). This monitoring effort includes 58 kelp forest sites within MPAs, and 44 located at nearby non-MPA reference sites, and 21 rocky intertidal sites within MPAs and 26 located at nearby non-MPA reference sites. This doubling of field effort required recruiting and training additional scientific personnel and doubling the infrastructure of the monitoring programs. In 2008, the PISCO kelp forest monitoring program repeated these baseline surveys, and successfully sampled all 102 sites on the central coast. The rocky shore monitoring program is in the process of completing the second year baseline. These baseline monitoring data are available through the PISCO data catalog, and we are working to develop interactive data products based on summaries of results from this monitoring.
PISCO PI’s are currently engaged with the Marine Protected Areas Monitoring Enterprise, a new entity focused on developing and delivering monitoring data essential for ensuring the long-term adaptive management of the new statewide system of MPAs designated through the Marine Life Protection Act.