MPA Decadal Management Review

Diver holds MPA banner in kelp forest
Researchers holding MPA banner on boat
Law enforcement officers with MPA banner
CDFW MPA outreach event

California reviews its Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network every 10 years to inform the MPA Management Program.

Series of underwater images showing fish, kelp, and algae

About the MPA Decadal Management Review

The first Decadal Management Review (Review) will take place in 2022 and will serve as an update on the four pillars of the MPA Management Program:

  • Outreach and Education,
  • Research and Monitoring,
  • Enforcement and Compliance, and
  • Policy and Permitting

It will include corresponding evaluations of progress toward meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act.

The California Fish and Game Commission will receive this Review at their February 2023 meeting and decide whether to direct CDFW and its partners to pursue recommendations and identified next steps.

Informing the Decadal Management Review

The Review will include available sources of information about the MPA Network, including scientific assessments of ecological and socioeconomic data, MPA enforcement data, shared knowledge and data from California Tribes and Tribal Communities, and input from the broader ocean community.

Monitoring Data and AnalysisResearcher monitoring rocky intertidal at low tide

The Review will consider multiple sources of monitoring data, including projects funded by the State and projects conducted by partner agencies and organizations.

Sources include:

  • Regional baseline monitoring - established a comprehensive benchmark of ecological and socioeconomic conditions at or near the time of regional MPA implementation (2007-2018), which serves as a point of comparison against which future conditions can be measured;
  • Statewide long-term monitoring - builds on the knowledge, capacity, and needs informed by baseline monitoring and continues data collection in prioritized ecosystems and human uses (final long-term monitoring reports available January 2022);
  • Network connectivity models - the Review will consider overall connectivity of the Network especially in terms of larval dispersal, as determined by advanced computer modeling techniques;
  • Citizen and Community Science - these projects have played a role in MPA monitoring since MPA implementation, and their inclusion in the Review will depend upon program design and overall quality of data collected.

View all MPA monitoring data, technical reports and synthesized products

Science GuidanceKing crab surrounded by feather stars

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Ocean Protection Council, in partnership with the Ocean Science Trust, convened the following science advisory working groups to provide input on the Review.

Working group roles and products:

  • MPA Decadal Evaluation Working Group - the report produced by this working group, Science Guidance for Evaluating California's MPA Network (PDF), provides a list of science-based performance evaluation questions and metrics, informed by the MPA Monitoring Action Plan and the MLPA goals, and will be utilized to detect trends and overall progress toward MLPA goals in 2022 and beyond;
  • MPAs and Climate Resilience - the report produced by this working group, Climate Resilience and California's MPA Network (PDF), details recommendations on how California's MPA Network could help buffer both ocean and human life from some effects of climate change;
  • The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis - this group is tasked with completing an integrative analysis of MPA monitoring data collected to date from multiple monitoring projects, across the state [report in development].

Opportunities for Public Participation

man raises hand in audience

Sign-up to CDFW's mailing list and the California Ocean Protection Council's mailing list to receive future updates.

For questions and/or comments about the Review or MPAs in general please contact the MPA Decadal Management Review team.

Ocean users, including California Tribes, will be actively invited to provide perspectives on priorities, definitions of success, and the roles of communities in state management of the MPA Network. CDFW, in collaboration with the Ocean Protection Council, will host a number of public engagement events during 2021 and 2022 to share information about the Review and gather input.


Upcoming Events

  • Public Symposium
    • Date: March 2023
    • Highlighting the work and findings completed to date.

Past Events

Tribal Involvement


Guided by CDFW's Tribal Communication and Consultation Policy (PDF), an initial letter detailing the Review expectations was sent out in May 2021 to all federally recognized California Tribes and Tribal contacts identified by the Native American Heritage Commission for the project review area. The letter contained contact information for Tribes to contact the CDFW MPA Management project to discuss concerns or further needs to request formal consultation.

Tribal Management and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge

CDFW recognizes the significant benefits of increased Tribal engagement in MPA management. California Tribes first received funding to conduct a monitoring project as part of north coast baseline monitoring, and more recently have been funded to build a statewide Tribal Marine Stewards Network (PDF), rooted in shared priorities between Tribes and the State. This project aims to significantly advance California's efforts to support indigenous stewardship and adopt meaningful co-management measures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to some popular questions regarding the Review. You can also contact the MPA Decadal Management Review Team with any additional questions not addressed here:

Bat star and rock scallop amongst algae

When will the Review occur?

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.

Why is the Review set to occur every 10 years?

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.

What will the Review entail?

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.

What are the expected outcomes of the Review?

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.

Where can I learn about long-term monitoring projects?

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.

Will any significant changes to California's MPAs result from the Review?

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.

How can I stay up to date on MPA Management Activities leading up to the Review?

What is the Review Steering Committee?

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.

How is the Review related to the 30x30 Initiative?

Program Partners Roles and Responsibilities

As the lead managing agency for the California MPA Network the Department of Fish and Wildlife implements and enforces the regulations set by the California Fish and Game Commission, and works across all four focal areas of the MPA Management Program.

The California Fish and Game Commission is the primary decision-making authority for California’s MPA regulations and adopted the MPA Management Program and Master Plan for MPAs.

More information on the California Fish and Game Commission.

California Ocean Protection Council Logo

The Ocean Protection Council is the policy lead for California’s MPAs.

More information on the Ocean Protection Council.

The MPA Statewide Leadership Team (convened by the Ocean Protection Council in 2014) helps guide program activities and ensures communication, collaboration, and coordination among entities that have significant authority, mandates, or interests that relate to California’s MPA Network.

More Information on the MPA Statewide Leadership Team.



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