CCS Marine Protected Areas

Examining the Role of Community and Citizen Science in Marine Protected Areas


Project Duration





This project aims to understand the contributions of CCS programs to the first decade of MPA implementation, which can inform the 2022 decadal review of California MPAs and subsequent planning and implementation. We are working with state partners, including the California Ocean Protection Council and Department of Fish and Wildlife, and CCS practitioners and participants to assemble data and develop insights that cut across the many different projects that have contributed to MPAs over the last 10+ years.

Find project updates below, including key findings that informed the MPA Decadal Management Review in 2023.


David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund


California Ocean Protection Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Resources Legacy Fund, MPA Collaborative Network, and many citizen science projects working along the California Coast.

Post Ryan Meyer

Building on ten years of support and partnerhip:

How can California sustain and improve the role of Community and Citizen Science in MPAs?

Together with our partners at the California Academy of Sciences, our MPAs team has submitted a public comment for the April 2023 meeting of the California Fish and Game Commission, urging the state to build on 10+ years of support and partnership, which brought more than 80,000 people into the process of marine protected area monitoring in California.

Blog entry Todd Harwell

Project update: Community and citizen science in California’s Marine Protected Areas

Moving forward with our research and expanding into Oregon's Marine Reserve System

Cyclic representation of "feedback loops" between MPAs, CCS programs and CCS participants

Since submitting our partner report for the Decadal Management Review of MPAs process, we have been working on a second phase of research to dive deeper into some of the dynamics and nuances of the relationships between the MPA Network and community and citizen science (CCS) programs.

Blog entry Ryan Meyer

New reports on Community and Citizen Science in California’s Marine Protected Areas

The Center’s analyses will inform the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Decadal Management Review of MPAs

CCS in MPAs Report

Since Spring 2021, two project teams at the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science have been collecting and analyzing data related to the contributions of community and citizen science participants in coastal monitoring activities within and surrounding marine protected areas (MPAs) throughout the State of California.

Blog entry

New Book: Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Conservation

Co-edited by Dr. John Cigliano and our Faculty Director, Heidi Ballard, this new volume provides a broad range of case studies exploring the utility and feasibility, as well as limitations, of using marine and coastal citizen science for conservation to leverage these resources and address these tensions.

Blog entry

MPAs and Citizen Science in California

Citizen and Community Science plays a special role in efforts to conserve and manage California’s ocean and coastal resources. There is a huge diversity of projects and programming operating up and down the coast, which engage the public in science and monitoring, often with direct connections to policy and management processes.

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