Cross-County Community Science: LAW Trains MPA Collaborative Partner at Crystal Cove
LAW has been monitoring LA County’s mainland Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) from our boat since the areas were designated in 2012. Joining the MPA Collaborative network of land-based MPA Watch programs, LAW was the first on-the-water program to engage a diverse cross-section of volunteers in monitoring these special areas of the ocean, from the ocean.
Our Boat-Based Survey protocol has now been incorporated into the MPA Watch programs at Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and WildCoast. Recently, LAW partnered up with another sister organization, Orange County Coastkeeper (OCCK), to share our method with additional community science groups.
OCCK is partnering with the Crystal Cove Alliance (CCA) to conduct boat-based monitoring of the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. CCA boasts an extensive science and well-established environmental education program, which includes their Marine Protected Area Citizen Science Cruise. In January, LAW partnered up with CCA staff for a unique teacher-training cruise in their Marine Conservation Area. LAW’s Boat-Based Survey protocol will be incorporated into CCA’s Citizen Science Cruise!
Like LAW’s MPA Watch program, CCA’s MPA Citizen Science Cruise engages junior and high school students in on-the-water monitoring of their local underwater parks and collecting human use data. The CA State Network of MPA Watch programs provide critical information that is useful in future coastal decision-making. The data collected by these community scientists will soon be available to the public via the CA State MPA Collaborative website. Maps are also available through the MPA Collaborative in English and Spanish.
LAW’s MPA Watch Boat-Based Survey is supported by a crew corps of over 200 active volunteers including students and teachers from the William C. Velasquez Institute; New Earth’s Explore, YouthBuild and Mentor/Mentee programs; Aspire Charter School; Sherman Indian High School, with Sacred Places Institute; LA Academy of Arts Enterprise; Santa Monica High School; Santa Monica College; Mt. Saint Mary’s University; UCLA and more!