Enhancing Management of California’s Marine Protected Area Network

Aerial view of rocky California coastline

Project Brief

The Challenge

From 2004 to 2012, California state agencies and partners redesigned the state’s marine protected area network—an ambitious project that established California as a global leader in marine ecosystem protection. Resource managers, funders, and stakeholders in California needed guidance and innovative governance solutions to support effective design and management this multifaceted network.

ERG's Solution

Blue Earth Consultants has supported California state agencies and partners in designing, implementing, and managing California’s MPA network. For example, we assisted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and partners in developing the 2016 Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas. During implementation, we worked with the multi-agency MPA statewide leadership team to develop The California Collaborative Approach: Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan, which provides an innovative framework for integrating local expertise into MPA management through local MPA Collaboratives, together forming the statewide MPA Collaborative Network. More recently, we interviewed and surveyed program participants and stakeholders to evaluate how well the MPA Collaborative Network was functioning and recommend improvements. We then facilitated development of a memorandum of understanding between state agencies and the MPA Collaborative Network to implement these improvements. Subsequently, we administered a small grants program to build MPA Collaboratives’ capacity and fund project implementation.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council, Coastal Quest, Resources Legacy Fund