Marin Marine Protected Area (MPA) Watch

...for me there really is just one Hope Spot – it’s the ocean.
— Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer

The Marin Marine Protected Area (MPA) Watch is part of a state-wide network of organizations that trains the public to become citizen-scientists through the recording of human activities within our network of California MPAs. 

The data collected by MPA Watch acts as a compliment to the biological surveys of MPAs throughout the state.  The data provides information on how human beings are using our MPAs and assists in informing agencies, organizations, and local communities about the success and health of their MPAs. Additionally, the MPA Watch program aims to involve local communities in learning about marine and coastal resources, and to inspire and empower ocean stewardship.

Marin MPA Watch is a collaborative effort administered by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, California Academy of Sciences, and Point Reyes National Seashore.  


If you are interested in signing up for the MPA Watch program, use the calendar above to find upcoming events. Let us know which date(s) you are interested in attending in the 'Message' section of the sign up form below.



Volunteers use standardized protocols to collect relevant, scientifically rigorous, and broadly accessible data. The MPA Watch volunteers will observe and record both consumptive and non-consumptive offshore and onshore activities in and around MPAs, which will improve our understanding of how people are using these new MPAs. Data is meant to inform the management, enforcement, and science of California's marine protected areas, and allows us to track how the public uses coastal areas.

By involving local communities in this MPA monitoring, MPA Watch programs inspire and empower stewardship, and educate the public about California’s ocean ecosystems.

Not only do local volunteers learn about their coastal environment and become "citizen scientists" and stewards of the area, but they generate quantities of monitoring data that would not be possible under the current state budget. 

The data collected helps us to analyze trends within the boundaries of MPAs, as well as outside of the boundaries, which are used as control sites. Control sites are beneficial in comparing human use in MPAs versus at sites that are not protected.

© Marc Detraz

© Marc Detraz


Interns at CM Marsh May 2016.jpg


Our program is not possible without the commitment of our dedicated volunteers. MPA Watch programs across the state of California are continually training a network of volunteers to monitor resource use inside and outside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Volunteers are trained to identify onshore and offshore ocean activities and collect data on coastal and marine resource use.

We are looking for spring/summer interns and for volunteers to help monitor locations like Drakes Beach, Limantour Beach, Agate Beach and the Corte Madera Marsh. Contact us today for more information. 

Complete the below form to sign up as a MPA Watch Volunteer

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