SCCWRP and its partners have finalized and published a statewide monitoring framework intended to bring consistency to how California assesses the health of its coastal estuaries.
The framework, described in a series of reports published in January, is expected to be immediately incorporated into at least four estuarine monitoring assessment efforts in California: the California Ocean Protection Council’s upcoming 2024 assessment of the health of California’s estuarine Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the Southern California Bight 2023 Regional Monitoring Program, coastal resiliency monitoring by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and monitoring of smaller estuaries in Santa Monica Bay.
The estuary monitoring framework focuses on evaluating ecological functioning of estuaries – an approach that allows for greater flexibility and comparability across California’s highly heterogenous estuaries. Ecological function-based assessments also are directly tied to the beneficial-use goals that environmental managers are working to protect.
Although monitoring programs already have been developed for estuary sites across California, these programs have never been coordinated, limiting data comparability and managers’ ability to track the overall health of estuaries statewide.
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