Marine Program



Our Marine Program works to engage Angelenos in protecting and restoring LA County’s coast and ocean.

Our MPA Watch Boat-Based Survey Program helps provide a better understanding of activities occurring in and around LA County’s Marine Protected Areas (areas of the ocean where consumptive activities are limited and/or prohibited) and improve the management of these “underwater parks.” Each year, our program engages over 300 volunteers to help collect critical data of these special places, and provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the water.

The data we collect helps the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) better enforce MPA rules. Thanks in part to the work of organizations in the MPA Collaborative Network, DFW has shown it takes MPA enforcement seriously. In 2018, DFW filed an accusation with the California Fish and Game Commission, requesting the Commission suspend a serial poacher’s commercial passenger fishing vessel license (the poacher had been caught fishing in an MPA, among other wildlife rule violations). The Commission did just that, ordering a 5-year license suspension! Read more in Marine Program Director Michael Quill’s blog.


Our Marine Program also coordinates specialized scientific dive projects that ensure our coastal ecosystem is flourishing. LAW’s volunteer dive team has been an influential force on the water and in the water, engaging hundreds of volunteer scientific divers in over 3,600 dives to monitor, protect and restore the region’s coastal waters. From 1997 to 2015, our volunteer Kelp Project Divers worked acre by acre off of the shores of Los Angeles, progressively returning 25 acres of bleak urchin barrens into thriving kelp forest communities. Since then, LAW has engaged in additional dive projects focusing on abatement of the invasive algae Sargassum horneri and surveying the Santa Monica Pier. Learn more about our dive projects here!

Contact Us

LA Waterkeeper
120 Broadway, Suite 105
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 310-394-6162
Fax: 310-394-6178

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