June 2018
A quarterly newsletter to keep you up to date on MPAs!
Welcome to the Summer 2018 issue of the California Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Newsletter!  In this issue, you will find updates on MPA related projects as well as a variety of events and opportunities for getting involved in the coming months. 
CMSF News and Updates

MPA Resource Library

In coordination with CDFW and OPC, CMSF has been busy compiling a library of all  existing MPA  outreach resources and materials produced by  CDFW, other agencies and organizations, and MPA Collaboratives. While a variety of MPA outreach products and programs have proven effective in CA, these resources are not aggregated in a manner that optimizes distribution and makes materials readily-available  to partners statewide. 

While going through the process, we discovered many existing MPA materials created by partners across the state that will now be available to all.  Stay tuned- once the library is complete it will be uploaded to the California Open Data Platform. Shortly after, we will host a webinar explaining use of the library.

MPA Signage Update

Thanks to collaboration from many partners across the state, a new round of marine protected area signage is nearing completion. Over 140 new harbor, interpretive, and regulatory "You are Here" and No-Fishing/No-Collecting signs are currently in the process of shipping to their new homes and will be installed over the summer. These additional signs will fill a large gap in educating coastal visitors about California's network of MPAs. 

Ocean Protection Council Updates
Adding California's MPA Network to the IUCN Green List

The Ocean Protection Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are  seeking to add California's MPA Network to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Protected Areas. The Green List is a recent IUCN initiative that aims to promote effective and equitable protected areas worldwide. 

More than 20  protected areas have been added to the Green List since the launch of the program in  2014; California's MPAs would be the first North American site and the first MPA network  to be added to the list.  You can help with this effort by volunteering to join the Green List Expert Assessment Group! Click here to apply.

A webinar with more information about the Green List program and the Expert Assessment Group will be  offered on Tuesday June 5 at 11:00am. Click here for login/dial-in information, or to view previous recorded webinars.

California Launches New Open Data Platform

California has launched a new open data platform (https://data.cnra.ca.gov/) to ensure the long-term curation and availability of all state funded data related to the monitoring and evaluation of California's MPA Network. The system is built on the opengov platform which allows for powerful keyword searches, preview capabilities, and easy connection with other existing data repositories. The system is currently being populated and is on track to contain all state funded raw data, technical reports, workshop proceedings, grey literature, and other supporting information by the end of 2018.

CDFW MPA Management Program Updates
California's MPA network is managed collaboratively through the MPA Management Program, which includes four focal areas: outreach and education, enforcement and compliance, research and monitoring, and policy and permitting. Updates for each of the components are as follows:

Outreach and Education

CDFW continues to work with the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation on an Ocean Protection Council-funded grant. The work plan includes three overarching components: a) conducting a needs-assessment with partner organizations and MPA collaboratives to determine existing gaps in outreach and education materials, b) developing a searchable database/ library of existing MPA outreach materials produced by the department and partner organizations, c) developing content for individual MPA webpages to be hosted on the department's website. The project is on-going.

CDFW and California State Parks completed the fourth full-year of a partnership to provide  MPA-themed distance-learning programs to California schools. The PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) program uses video conferencetechnology to connect natural resource interpreters with classrooms. In 2017-18 over 20,000 students received MPA-themed PORTS programs. 

CDFW continues to work with individual MPA Collaborative groups to guide in the development of MPA messaging and outreach materials. Recent projects include brochures, signs, curricular materials, websites, and interpretive aides.

Outdoor California , the official California fish, wildlife, and habitat magazine, offers stories about California at its best. In the May/June 2018 edition, an in-depth story about Crystal
 Cove State Marine Conservation Area and adjacent Crystal Cove State Park is highlighted alongside captivating photos of the area.

CDFW has been releasing individual stories about California's MPAs in a blog series titled Exploring California's MPAs, with the two most recent installments about Blue Cavern Onshore State Marine Conservation Area and Blue Cavern Offshore State Marine Protected Area and Gerstle Cove State Marine Reserve.

Enforcement and Compliance

CDFW reviewed Assembly Bill 2369 regarding penalties for commercial fishing violations in MPAs. Under current law, penalties for commercial fishing operations found poaching in an MPA may not exceed $1,000 per violation and/or six months in jail (Fish and Game Code ยง 12000). The proposed bill would increase fines to between $5,000 and $40,000 and jail sentences to one year for a person convicted for the first time of unlawfully taking fish commercially in a MPA. For second or subsequent violations, the fines would increase to between $10,000 and $50,000, and the commercial license would be subject to a one-year suspension. This bill is still pending, but you can track the status here .

Policy and Permitting

CDFW has submitted two regulatory packages to amend California's MPA network: 1) repeal Rockport Rocks Special Closure and 2) adding tribal take allowances in select MPAs including boundary modification for Stewarts Point State Marine Conservation Area. Both regulatory packages are currently open to public comment and are anticipated to follow the same timeline with a discussion hearing in June, and an adoption hearing in August.

Research and Monitoring

In the spirit of interagency coordination and collaboration, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife met for a second time to discuss MPA performance evaluation, and cross border collaboration. As the lead managers for their respective state MPAs, the teams discussed analytical approaches and report formats for sharing results with stakeholders and decision makers, in 2022 for CDFW and in 2023 for ODFW.

Development of a Statewide MPA Monitoring Action Plan  is underway. The Plan will provide strategies and approaches for cost-effective long-term monitoring and the future evaluation of the MPA network. It will take into account MPA design and planning metrics, baseline information, and additional expert input and analyses, in order to identify a priority list of indicator species and index sites for long-term monitoring. The primary intended audiences include the Fish and Game Commission, Ocean Protection Council, and other state entities that have significant authority, mandates, or interests that relate to California's MPA network, as well as existing and potential partners conducting or funding monitoring and research.

Upon completion of the Action Plan, the Ocean Protection Council will release requests for proposals for research and monitoring in fall 2018 to fund monitoring projects across a range of habitats statewide. For those interested in staying involved, you can sign up for the MPA Management Program mailing list to receive updates about the program.

MPA Watch Update
MPA Watch is a citizen/community science-based initiative that collects data on human
uses of coastal and marine resources inside and outside of MPAs in California. MPA Watch is managed by a network of fifteen organizations throughout California and coordinated statewide by WILDCOAST.

MPA Watch is pleased to have partnered with two new organizations: Eagle Eyes of False Klamath Cove in Del Norte County and The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Monterey County. With these two additions MPA Watch now has active data collection sites in every coastal county in California.

Interested in conducting MPA Watch at your site? Contact the MPA Watch Coordinator, Angela Kemsley, at angela@wildcoast.org for more information on how to obtain a training for your staff or how to become a network partner! We are especially seeking new network partners in San Luis Obispo!
Updates from Other Partners
Fish And Game Commission Adopts Emergency Regulations To Increase Purple Sea Urchin Bag Limit In Sonoma And Mendocino Counties

At its April 2018 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted emergency regulations to increase the daily bag limit for purple sea urchins
Photo by Dr. Dwayne Meadows; NOAA/NMFS/OPR
taken while skin or SCUBA diving off Mendocino and Sonoma counties only. 

Purple sea urchins fall under the general invertebrate bag limit of 35 per day, but the emergency regulations now in effect will allow a daily bag limit of 20 gallons with no limit on possession. 

The emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days (until Nov. 6, 2018) unless  extended by the Commission. Upon expiration, the bag limit will return to 35. A recent explosion in purple sea urchin populations off northern California has prompted requests for increased daily bag limits as an option to reduce purple urchin numbers. 

The increase in purple urchin populations is one of several extreme environmental conditions contributing to a  widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests . For more information visit this link

World Oceans Day is June 8!

On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, friends, community, and the planet to start creating a better future. Working together, we can and will protect our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration on 8 June!

World Oceans Day  2018 Action Focus: Preventing  plastic pollution  and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

Visit the World Oceans Day website to plan your ocean celebration with free resources including new materials for youth. Register your event to share your celebration with the world on the event map! Sign up to receive the latest and updates. Please contact us for more information.

Third Annual Snapshot Cal Coast: June 13th-20th

Dust off your rubber boots. Dig out your Chacos or Tevas. Grab a tide table and a friend. Get your cameras and smartphones ready!

Over the week of June13th-20th, we need you to get out the coast, search for as many plants and animals as you can find, and share photos of your discoveries on the website and app iNaturalist.The California Academy of Sciences leads Snapshot Cal Coast with support from the Marine Protected Area
Collaborative Network and partners up and down the state. 

Snapshot Cal Coast is a California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity and hold a series of bioblitzes up and down the California Coast, focusing on intertidal zones in marine protected areas (MPAs). We will be working together with the MPA Collaborative Network and other partners to create a "snapshot" in time of where species are located along our coast. 

Events are being organized by MPA collaborative members in every county and people can check on the Academy website to find events near them.  If they want to hold a separate event or have questions they can contact Rebecca Johnson with the California Academy of Sciences at rjohnson@calacademy.org.

Upcoming Events
June 8: 7th Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest Artists Reception and Exhibition
5:30 to 7:30pm- Forest and Ocean Gallery (480 Ocean Ave, Laguna Beach)

Stop by and enjoy free music, appetizers and drinks with friends old and new. 
All Donations and 15% of Art sales to benefit the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and their work. The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition works to protect and improve Laguna's Marine Protected Areas.  See the winning entries here.

Jun 9: World Ocean Day at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
Visit the Aquarium and celebrate the ocean and share how important it is in our lives.  Family-oriented activities like arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, animal stories, a close-up look of baby animals and more. For more information visit the  CMA website.

Jun 9: Shrinking Shores at Cowells Beach, Santa Cruz

Visit Cowells Beach in Santa Cruz, CA to see a dramatic illusion of predicted ocean levels through the end of this century. You will have the opportunity to learn about the science behind sea level rise and get involved with the process of planning for sea level rise adaptation.

Natural Bridges State Beach Tidepool Tours
Saturday, June 9 at 11:30am
Sunday, June 10 at 11:30am
Sunday, June 17 at 11am
Saturday, June 19 at 11:30am

Explore our spectacular tidepools on this 1.5 hour guided tour. Meet at the Natural Bridges State Beach Visitor Center. Bring layered clothing and good walking shoes. Event is free; day use fee for vehicles is $10. For more information, please call (831) 423-4609 ext. 8. Event made possible by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks and California State Parks.

Wilder Ranch State Park Coast Nature Walks
Saturday, June 16 at 11am
Saturday, June 23 at 11am
Saturday, June 30 at 11am

On these two-hour natural history excursions, you will explore the plants, animals, and geology of the spectacular coastal bluffs. Meet at the Wilder Ranch Interpretive Center. Bring a snack, water, binoculars, and good walking shoes. Binoculars are available to borrow. Rain cancels. Event is free; parking is $10. Please call the park to confirm at (831) 426-0505. Event made possible by Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks and California State Parks.