MLPA Central Coast Study Region baseline data collection

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Fig 1. Interactive  Map of the Marine Life Protection Acts CCSR MPAs 

This map represents accurate regulations at the time of construction,
please check with California Dept. of Fish and Game for current rules
and regulations

To view PISCO monitoring sites for the Central Coast Study Region, please click here

In September 2007, the first MLPA MPA network was created on the California central coast. The central coast study region (CCSR) as designated by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) was the first of the five statewide study regions to be passed through the MLPA planning process. Its range extends from Pigeon Point in the north to Point Conception in the south. The central coast MPA network is composed of 29 MPAs that represent approximately 204 square miles or 18% of the state waters within the CCSR. Seventeen of these MPAs contain kelp forests, 14 of which can be safely sampled using SCUBA.

On implementation of the central coast network, five baseline monitoring programs were initiated with funding from the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC).

  • Kelp Forest Ecosystem Surveys (3 -20m deep)
  • Rocky Intertidal Ecosystem Surveys (0 -2m deep)
  • Deep-Water Demersal Community Surveys (24 -365m deep)
  • Collaborative Fishing Surveys of Nearshore Fish Species
  • Socioeconomic Surveys (Resource-Use Mapping and Rapid Social Assessment)

Monitoring was focused on characterizing the attributes of these rocky reef ecosystems as they existed at the time of MPA establishment, including the abundance and size structure of fish, invertebrate and algal populations; community structure; and biodiversity. In addition to biological monitoring, socioeconomic monitoring was initiated to address the social economic influences of the newly created network. The data from these monitoring programs will be used as a starting point to make future comparisons inside vs. outside MPAs, tracking changes in ecosystem and social attributes over time and evaluating if MPAs are having the desired results.

To communicate these findings and discoveries, PISCO scientists and policy staff are striving to make the discoveries and innovations of the MLPA research readily available through booklets, and web-accessible data archives. We are currently engaged in a process to summarize the findings of our work in the CCSR as an accessible informational booklet entitled “Monitoring MPAs by SCUBA in waters Off Central California, 2007/8 results of PISCO baseline monitoring surveys”. This booklet is presented as a compliment to independently led booklets that have been created for the same purpose, these are listed below.

These efforts have been completed in collaboration with many regional partners including NOAA’s California Sea Grant and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 Booklet Download
 Contact for Further Information
 Publication Date

 California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas, Baseline Data Collection Summary Report

California’s Central Coast Marine Protected Areas,Baseline Data Collection Summary Report

Marine Life Protection Act Initiative

Central Coast Study Region


 Monitoring Deep Water MPAs in Central California

Monitoring MPAs in Deep Water Off Central California, 2007 IMPACT Submersible Baseline Survey

Rick Starr
(starr[at] or

 Mary Yoklavich (mary.yoklavich[at]


Image cover of Monitoring MPA's by SCUBA

Monitoring MPAs by SCUBA in waters Off Central California, 2007/8 results of PISCO baseline monitoring surveys

Mark Carr
(carr[at] or

Hugo Selbie (hugo[at]

PDF and Print Versions available February 2010


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