Preparation has already begun for the first Review, which will conclude in February 2023 when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife presents findings and recommendations for the Review to the California Fish and Game Commission.
The 2016 Master Plan for MPAs requires the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a Review of the MPA Network every 10 years to inform the adaptive management process at the core of the MPA Management Program. Based on the best available science and lessons learned during regional MPA implementation, this 10-year review cycle was determined to be more biologically appropriate and administratively sustainable than the 5-year review cycle recommended by the 2008 Master Plan.
The Review will focus on the four pillars of the MPA Management Program - Outreach & Education, Research & Monitoring, Enforcement & Compliance, and Policy & Permitting - and corresponding evaluations of progress towards the goals of the MLPA. The Review will consider all available sources of information about the MPA Network, including scientific assessments of ecological and socioeconomic monitoring results, MPA enforcement data, shared knowledge and data from California Tribes and Tribal Communities, and input from the broader ocean community.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will produce a final report, which it will present to the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) in February 2023. This informational presentation will not be an adoption hearing, nor is the FGC expected to take any immediate formal action at this meeting.
The Review final report and associated presentations will be publicly available, and will contain the following components:
- An assessment of the MPA Network's progress toward MLPA goals;
- A summary of knowledge gaps and opportunities for next steps;
- A framework for translating performance evaluation results and knowledge gaps into management recommendations;
- Specific adaptive management recommendations and next steps, framed within the four pillars of the MPA Management Program;
- A summary of actions taken to engage Tribes and the ocean community and feedback received leading up to and during the Review, as well as future steps to follow up on feedback.
The first outcomes from long-term monitoring of California’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network are now available online in seven technical reports. Additionally, in the summer of 2022 an 8-part virtual webinar series was hosted by the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) in partnership with CDFW to provide attendees the opportunity to interact directly with researchers involved in these long-term MPA monitoring projects. Archived videos and meeting summaries are available through OPC's "Ask the Researcher" landing page.
Additional MPA Monitoring Information:
Baseline monitoring was conducted from 2007 through 2018, around the time of MPA implementation in each of four planning regions along the coast. These studies were conducted to establish a benchmark for future studies to be compared with. Subsequently, long-term monitoring began in 2019 as a statewide effort. The first round of monitoring projects were completed at the end of 2021, and the technical reports are now publicly available.
Long-term monitoring projects were awarded to research groups through a competitive grant process funded by OPC and administered by California Sea Grant. Researchers from 24 universities, agencies, and institutions across California worked closely with CDFW and OPC to ensure alignment with MPA Management Program goals and the framework established in the MPA Monitoring Action Plan. Results from these reports, along with information from other sources, will inform California’ MPA Decadal Management Review report to the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2023.
It is too soon to say whether any significant changes will occur, and any changes will be at the discretion of the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC). The FGC will consider the content, findings, and recommendations presented in the Review and will decide whether to direct the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and implementation partners to pursue recommendations or next steps identified in the Review. Adaptive management recommendations presented in the Review will be informed by performance evaluation questions and metrics, Tribal input, and stakeholder input, and could include updates to objectives, management measures, enforcement efforts, and scientific guidelines to inform management decisions.
The MPA 2022 Outreach and Engagement Stakeholder Steering Committee (Steering Committee) is an informal advisory group established in June 2021 to help inform and support the design and implementation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Ocean Protection Council's public outreach efforts related to the Review.
ROLE and PURPOSE: As defined in their charter (PDF), the Steering Committee informs the agencies' outreach plan and timeline, the design of communication materials and engagement events, and helps identify communications channels, strategies, target audiences, known barriers, and other communication considerations. Steering Committee members also act as "key communicators" by sharing information about the Review with their existing networks and communities as appropriate. The Steering Committee will not be directly commenting on or informing the Review, although members may participate in the same process as the public.
MEMBER SELECTION: The Steering Committee was designed to include balanced representation across a range of audiences, perspectives, and regions, while keeping the group to a manageable size. Steering Committee members were chosen based on their are of MPA-related expertise, existing connection to a broader community or network, and capacity for meaningful participation. The 17-member Steering Committee includes perspectives from: state agencies, Tribal governments and communities, MPA collaboratives, environmental non-governmental organizations, resource managers, academic researchers and scientists, commercial and recreational fishermen, and non-consumptive divers.