Monitoring framework drafted for assessing health of estuaries statewide

Posted October 30, 2020
Researchers are developing a standardized monitoring framework for assessing the condition of California’s coastal estuaries, including Upper Newport Bay in Orange County, above, one of the State’s estuarine Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

SCCWRP and its partners have developed a proposed statewide monitoring framework for assessing the health of California’s coastal estuaries, including two dozen estuarine Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The draft framework, released in October to the project’s management advisory committee, 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.

The draft monitoring framework focuses on evaluating priority ecological functions using a set of biotic and abiotic factors, which can be customized for specific regions of the state and/or estuary types. The framework will be accompanied by a set of field protocols that will allow an estuary to be sampled over a three-day period.

Once finalized, the monitoring framework will be tested at 15 estuary sites statewide. 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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