An opportunity to learn about the monitoring program associated with the North Coast’s recently implemented Marine Protected Areas will be offered tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at Good Harvest Cafe, 575 U.S. Highway 101.
The informal discussion session will be led by representatives from MPA Monitoring Enterprise, the group tasked with developing approaches to gauge the effectiveness of MPAs, which prohibit fishing and access in certain marine zones in an effort to restore depleted fish populations.
The session will primarily focus on the Baseline Program, which will establish a current benchmark of the ecological and socioeconomic conditions of the North Coast when the MPAs took effect.
“Reflecting regional priorities, this program will provide information that will improve our understanding of the health of North Coast marine ecosystems and socioeconomics, inform management decisions and guide ongoing MPA monitoring,” according to a website of the MPA Monitoring Enterprise.
The Baseline Program will be composed of projects selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
A draft RFP is expected to be released in March, with the final RFP expected to come out in April.
At tonight’s meeting there will be an overview of the goals of the Baseline Program, what information will be included in the RFP, and an opportunity for community members to give input on priorities for monitoring.
Individuals associated with higher education, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, and federal, state, local and tribal governments are all encouraged to submit proposals.
Light refreshments will be served.
There will be similar sessions in Eureka, from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sea Grill, 316 E St., and in Fort Bragg, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Silver’s at the Wharf, 32260 N. Harbor Drive.
MPA Monitoring Enterprise recently selected a group of North Coast liaisons who are expected to be in attendance at this week’s discussion sessions.
The North Coast liaison team includes:
• Zack Larson, resident of Del Norte County, zack.lar
Community members interested in the Baseline Program are encouraged to reach out to North Coast liaisons.