A Working Group of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team

California’s coast and ocean are as important to our culture as they are to our economy; a healthy and vibrant coast and ocean are vitally important for a thriving California. In that spirit, the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 (MLPA) established a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect the integrity of marine ecosystems, rebuild depleted marine life populations, and improve ocean health.

In partnership with the California Ocean Protection Council, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Fish and Game Commission, Ocean Science Trust is convening an Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team working group to provide scientific guidance on a framework for network-wide evaluation of the performance of the MPA network against the goals laid out in the MLPA. OPC SAT Working Groups are interdisciplinary teams of scientists drawn from across the US to synthesize scientific understanding, develop new approaches, and provide scientific recommendations and advice to OPC on priority topics. Ocean Science Trust serves as the Secretariat of the OPC SAT, providing essential governance direction and oversight as well as designing and executing effective and efficient working group processes.

In order to provide the most salient science guidance, Ocean Science Trust will assemble and convene a Policy Advisory Committee of agency leadership to articulate the questions most pressing to decision-makers. Ocean Science Trust will also engage the scientists charged with collecting monitoring data, to ensure the working group explores appropriate scientific approaches for integrating those data, and other available data sources, into network-wide analyses. This scientific guidance will be integral in supporting the State’s upcoming decadal management review of the MPA network, slated for 2022.

Project timeline: August 2019 – August 2020

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