Monitoring framework undergoing final testing to evaluate health of estuaries statewide
SCCWRP and its partners are initiating a final round of field testing this fall on a proposed statewide monitoring framework for assessing the health of California’s coastal estuaries, including two dozen estuarine Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The proposed framework, which researchers developed last year, is intended to bring consistency to estuarine monitoring efforts statewide. Although monitoring programs exist for estuaries across California, these programs have never been coordinated, limiting data comparability and managers’ ability to track the overall health of estuaries statewide.
Researchers completed an initial round of field testing last spring on the framework at 15 estuary sites statewide. The researchers found that the assessment framework’s approach to evaluating ecological functioning allows for greater flexibility and comparability across California’s highly heterogenous estuaries. Assessing ecological functioning also is directly tied to the beneficial-use goals that environmental managers are working to protect.
The California Ocean Protection Council intends to use this monitoring framework to report on the health of California’s estuarine MPAs in 2024.
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