Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Opportunities to bid on projects to collect baseline data related to the North Coast's marine resources at the onset of the Marine Protected Areas started on Wednesday.

The North Coast Marine Protected Area Baseline Program's request for proposals was released for a 16-week open period on Wednesday that will last through Aug. 14.

There will also be a bidders conference on May 9 in Eureka, where potential applicants can ask questions and discuss the request for proposals. The conference will be held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Acquatic Center in Eureka.

Collecting baseline data on ecological and socioeconomic conditions is the first step in monitoring how and to what extent the Marine Protected Areas revive depleted fisheries on the West Coast.

Partnerships between scientific researchers and commercial fishermen has been previously proposed as a viable method for collecting baseline information.

The Yurok Tribe and Smith River Rancheria have said they plan to submit project proposals, and the monitoring program managers have said that "traditional ecological knowledge" (indigenous science or tribal knowledge of marine resources) will be incorporated.

The RFP can be downloaded from the California Sea Grant website

Copies are also available for review at Crescent City Harbor Office and the Del Norte County Library. To receive a print copy of the RFP, please contact Erin Meyer at 510-350-1893 or

RSVPs for the bidders conference are requested by 5 p.m. on May 1, 2013 (, 858-534-0577).

The Baseline Program is a collaboration among the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, a program of the California Ocean Science Trust, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ocean Protection Council and California Sea Grant. Members of the North Coast community, including North Coast Tribes, elected officials, scientists, ocean users and interested members of the public informed the development of the (request for proposals)," it states.