Check out the many different incredible programs that have been created by using the tabs below.

Marine Protected Area Collaborative Network

There are 14 MPA collaboratives across California, working to engage experts in local MPA stewardship and management. Collaboratives provide a forum for nonprofits, fishermen, tribal representatives, government staff, municipalities, academic institutions, scientists, teachers, and aquaria to work together to enhance understanding and compliance of MPAs. The purpose of the Collaborative Network is to create a cooperative process that encourages participation in decision-making and communication, grounded in the values of respect for differences and the interconnection between humans and nature.

To learn more or find a collaborative near you, please visit the MPA Collaborative Network website.

Underwater Parks Ambassadors
This is a program of trained professionals, volunteers and recreational ocean users who assist in outreach efforts and serve as stewards for California’s MPAs. It has stimulated a cadre of enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers who have developed numerous creative outreach products. To learn how to organize a program in your area, contact

Mobile Cart
This traveling exhibit has brochures, maps and kids activities to educate the public is used by docents and volunteers at coastal parks, events and celebrations. For more information contact

Reef Check 
In California, Reef Check helps ensure the long-term sustainability and health of the nearshore rocky reefs and kelp forests by monitoring inside and outside of MPAs. Reef Check California volunteers are divers, fishermen, kayakers, surfers, boaters, and a wide range of Californians who take a proactive role in making sure that our nearshore ecosystems are healthy and well managed. They work with marine managers, researchers and the public to provide the scientific data needed to make informed, science-based decisions for the sustainable management and conservation of California’s ocean environment.

To find out more or become a volunteer, visit the Reef Check website.

The Monterey Bay Sanctuary’s Team OCEAN places trained naturalists on the water in kayaks to greet kayakers in Moss Landing and Monterey. They serve as docents promoting respectful wildlife viewing and ocean stewardship. To learn more, contact

Bay Net Program
At popular beaches in Monterey and Santa Cruz, Bay Net Volunteer Naturalists are stationed and equipped with spotting scopes and binoculars for the public to enjoy and learn more about marine wildlife living in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This free service engages visitors in marine life activity from shore and helps foster ocean stewardship.


The website,, promotes all of the 87 environmental organizations and institutions in Santa Cruz County. The site covers upcoming environmental volunteer opportunities and events as well as local environmental news and interviews. Our mission is to provide one portal for easy access to all organizations and all volunteer opportunities and events.

MPA Watch

A citizen science monitoring program that trains volunteers to observe and collect data on human uses of coastal and marine resources both inside and outside of MPAs. Data are meant to inform the management, enforcement, and science of MPAs and coastal regions, and allow us to see how human uses are changing as a result of MPA implementation.

General Information

MPA Watch California Manual

Get involved and learn more at

MPA Citizen Science Cruise
This on-the-water STEM education cruise allows allows organizations, local scientists, State Parks experts, and students and teachers work together to monitor Crystal Cove’s Marine Conservation Area. This unique partnership of Newport Landing Sportfishing and Crystal Cove Alliance engages students in scientific research and monitoring.

GFNMS Beach Watch Program
This long-term, volunteer beach monitoring program collects information on birds and mammals for every beach from Manchester Beach to Point Año Nuevo. A network local stewards document and exchange information on the biological and physical changes that the beaches undergo throughout the seasons.

Seafari Educational Tour
A citizen science monitoring program created by Santa Barbara Channel Keeper that trains volunteers to observe and collect data on human uses inside and outside MPAs. Volunteers use standardized protocols to collect data to inform management and track how the public uses coastal areas.

Learn more about the Seafari Educational Tour.

MPA Reusable Canvas Bag
A reusable canvas bag designed as a give-away. One side of the bag is left blank for children to design their own MPA. Contact Mike Schaadt at

Geocaching in MPAs
A statewide system of MPA geocaches has been hidden across the state. Each geocache has a container, official sticker, ocean themed treasures and some history on each location. Become a part of the worldwide, real-life treasure hunt and hide one at your local MPA! To learn more, contact

MPA Interpretive Walks
At Piedras Blancas, a scripted walking tour with portable presentation materials draws record visitors each time it is hosted. Guided by docents and volunteers, the tour template highlights historical aspects of the area, ecological benefits of MPAs, and ways people can engage with the local MPA. To learn how your organization can create interpretive walks for your local MPA, please contact

MPA Scuba Diving Portal: Naples SMCA
Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s Naples Reef Dive Portal allows you to explore the reef using an interactive dive map, discover why Naples Reef is such an important place, and learn about upcoming opportunities to visit this unique coastal gem.

Visitor TV!– Marine Protected Areas of SLO County
To increase visitors’ understanding of MPAs, the Collaborative worked with Visitor TV and San Luis Obispo State Parks to produce two videos highlighting MPAs as beautiful places to explore while visiting San Luis Obispo county.

Orange County Education Programs
Orange County Marine Protected Area Council created various hands-on education programs focused on the county’s intertidal habitat. These tools are great for elementary school teachers, local residents or visitors interested in exploring their coastal surroundings.

Ocean Guardian Program- National Marine Sanctuaries
Ocean Guardian programs encourage children to explore their natural surroundings to form a sense of personal connection to the ocean and/or watersheds in which they live. The Kids Club offers children a stimulating opportunity to express their insights, observations and understanding of their natural environment through the creation of original stories, poetry and visual art. All K-8 students are eligible and encouraged to join! For educators, your entire classroom or school could become an Ocean Guardian team by making a commitment to environmental protection and conservation. If your school or class is up to the challenge, learn more here:

MPA Education Fishing Trips
Developed by the Santa Barbara MPA Collaborative, ecotourism and recreational fishing businesses lead MPA education fishing trips which offer a a unique opportunity for the public to explore MPAs while fishing along the beautiful coastline. For more information:

MPA Dive Maps
Developed by the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, this dive map orients divers to Campus Point SMCA, a popular dive site near Coal Oil Point.

Eco-Tourism in MPAs

As part of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s effort to raise aware­ness and promote stewardship of Santa Barbara’s MPAs, they are working to highlight the recreational opportunities and monetary benefits that MPAs provide to the local economy. They are developing and supporting business endeavors that provide opportunities for people to experience and learn about our local MPAs, such as dive and kayak trips as well as newly developed tours offered by recreational fishing outfitters, which were impacted by the creation of MPAs. These trips are intended to help inform the community about the existence and significance of MPAs while also fostering ocean stewardship.

Underwater Parks Day
This annual event on the Saturday of Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend in January, has gained considerable following throughout California. Events include photography and video contests, arts and crafts for children, presentations, exhibit displays, interpretive walks, and even marine life touch tanks. To learn more, contact

World Oceans Day
A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans. World Oceans Day is June 8th, annually.

View the official website to find an event to join or to get ideas for creating one of your own.

Ocean Recreation Guides
Currently in development for locations across the state, these laminated ocean recreation guides acquaint visitors to the coast, it’s animal inhabitants and the local protected areas.

To view the available guides, click here.

To learn more or for the original powerpoint files, contact

Diving in MPAs Flipbook
Developed by the Monterey MPA Collaborative, this flipbook showcases the incredible dive sites with Monterey’s MPAs.

MPA Expeditions- National Geographic Open Explorer
MPA Collaboratives have created “Expeditions” on National Geographic’s digital field journaling platform, Open Explorer. As Nat Geo puts it, an expedition is a “story a curious person or group wants to tell about their world.” Collaboratives will be telling their stories through posts that highlight how they will be using their donated mini-ROV’s in their local MPAs. Please follow along!

Current MPA Collaborative Expeditions :

Del Norte:
Shining a Light Below the Waters of St. George Reef with the Del Norte MPA Collaborative

Humboldt MPA Collaborative: Tracking Sea Star & Kelp Abundance at Trinidad, California

Eelgrass Monitoring in Bodega Bay Harbor, California – Sonoma MPA Collaborative

Fishing Gear Removal: Entanglement Prevention

Sea Stars, Urchins and Kelp Forests at Fort Ross

Golden Gate:
Unsettled Waters: Golden Gate MPA Watch

Exploring the Giant Kelp Forest of Point Lobos, Monterey MPA Collaborative


Morro Bay SMRMA Periscope Expeditions

Eyes on Morro Bay: San Luis Obispo MPA Collaborative

Photic zone reefs of Catalina Island: Catalina MPA Collaborative/Pennington Marine Science Center

Tracking the Giant Sea Bass: Catalina MPA Collaborative/Pennington Marine Science Center

Range Changes in the Intertidal

San Diego:
Marine Conservation in South La Jolla

MPA IPA- MPA Collaborative Network
MPA Collaboratives have worked in conjunction with 6 Rivers Brewery in Humboldt County and New Bohemia Brewery in Santa Cruz County to develop Marine Protected Area IPAs.

The mission of the California’s Marine Protected Areas Education and Outreach Initiative is to enhance MPA education through enduring partnerships to empower Californians to protect what they know and love.