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California Marine Protected Areas – Central Coast Region

Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, California took a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs along its 1,100 mile coastline, and divided the state into five regions: the north coast, north central coast, central coast, south coast and San Francisco Bay. The state completed the coastal network of MPAs in 2012, creating over 120 underwater refuges along California’s coast, extending from Oregon to Mexico. The central coast region was the first of the four statewide regions to establish a network of MPAs. This region protects areas of our coast like the iconic Point Lobos, winding waterways of Elkhorn Slough, the tidepools of Natural Bridges, the elephant seal rookery at Piedras Blancas and many more important marine environments!


The Mission of the California Sea Grant Extension Program is to contribute to the wise use and conservation of the sea’s resources through research, education and advisory services.


Fisheries and aquaculture provide a vital source of nutrition and livelihoods for billions of people worldwide, but the complexity of seafood supply chains allow for major environmental and social challenges. Seafood stakeholders need clear information and practical guidance to take action to address these problems. FishWise is a seafood industry compass, providing innovative market-based tools and expertise in sustainability services, human rights action, and traceability best practices.


FoCLB assists Santa Cruz County Parks in meeting its mission to provide a safe, well-designed and maintained County beach access; assists County Planning and County Parks in meeting management obligations for wildlife habitat protection at Corcoran Lagoon Beach; and assists CA Fish & Wildlife in protecting the inner lagoon outflow from artificial breaching.  Our main goals are to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, including nesting sites and the shoreline of the Monterey Bay National Marie Sanctuary, to educate through citizen science opportunities, and to chronicle species who call the beach their home through photography and exhibits.

Groundswell Coastal Ecology

Groundswell Coastal Ecology works for a more vibrant and ecologically sustainable coastline by helping local communities to become participatory stakeholders in their environment. To do this we identify, prioritize, promote, and implement coastal restoration projects that will increase biodiversity and coastal resiliency while maximizing community outreach. Our projects target degraded coastlines that receive high visitor-ship and are in need of ecological stewardship.

Marine Mammal Center’s Monterey Bay Operations

MMC volunteers and staff rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine mammals who are injured, ill, or abandoned. The Marine Mammal Center’s Monterey Bay Operations rescues animals from both Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Volunteers are always needed for animal assessment, rescue, triage, transport and equipment/site/vehicle maintenance. Additionally, volunteers assist with public outreach and education programs. Training is provided.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center

Dedicated to understanding and protecting the coastal ecosystem and cultural resources of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Our Mission is to inspire the public to protect Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary through participation in and support of sanctuary programs, projects, and partnerships.
We engage the public through public outreach and education programs; advocate on behalf of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; and develop and strengthen partnerships to protect biodiversity and enhance ecosystem health in the sanctuary through coordinated action.

Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project

Founded in 1976, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and enhancement of the native salmon and steelhead populations of the greater Monterey Bay area. Our genetic conservation and recovery hatchery can sustain and rebuild the unique races of salmonids native to the  greater Monterey Bay Region.

O’Neill Sea Odyssey

O’Neill Sea Odyssey provides a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities. A living classroom was created on board a 65-foot catamaran sailing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where 4th – 6th grade students from schools throughout Central California receive hands-on lessons about the marine habitat and the importance of the relationship between the living sea and the environment.

Otter Project

The Otter Project protects our watersheds and coastal oceans for the benefit of California sea otters and humans through science-based policy and advocacy.

Save Our Shores

Caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy, and citizen action.

Save the Waves Coalition

Save The Waves protects coastal ecosystems around the world in partnership with local communities, utilizing a unique combination of protected areas, economics, and direct action.

Sea Otter Savvy

The Sea Otter Savvy program strives to foster responsible behavior by users of the marine environment while they are viewing and recreating near sea otters. Together we can create a “sea otter savvy” community promoting responsible wildlife viewing, awareness of the effect our behavior can have on sea otters and other wildlife, and a safer, healthier coastal environment for all of us, otter and human alike.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans. Volunteers receive in-depth training to help educate the public through hands-on exploration of live animals and exhibits, outdoor interpretive tours, experiential learning programs, Science Sundays, and more.


The Sierra Club mission is “To explore, enjoy and protect the planet. To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out those objectives.”   Our SC group offers opportunities for local involvement, activism and outings.

Southwest Fisheries Science Center- National Marine Fisheries Service

The mission of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center is to generate the scientific information necessary for the conservation and management of the region’s living marine resources.

Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Wallace J Nichols

Changing conversations for good.