Community engagement informs and guides Sea Grant’s education efforts to support environmental literacy, workforce development, and community resilience. Through participatory-supported science, education, and public outreach on marine protected areas, climate change, sea level rise, living shorelines, aquatic invasive species, marine debris, and aquaculture, individuals and communities share and develop knowledge and skills as environmental stewards. Participants learn about the current science of marine and coastal issues, make observations, and are able to make informed decisions about water, how to select healthy, sustainable seafood to eat, or the roles community members can play in experiencing and protecting watersheds, coasts, and oceans of this very complex environment.
Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS) was established by the NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries in 2003.
LiMPETS is a community-supported citizen science program for students, educators, community members, and volunteer groups. Volunteers monitor the coastal ecosystems of California’s rocky intertidal and sandy beach coastlines at designated locations, increasing awareness and stewardship of these important areas. LiMPETS monitors the biology in rocky intertidal and sandy beach ecosystems and aims to provide publicly accessible, scientifically sound, long-term data to inform marine resource management and the scientific community.
USC Sea Grant leads this effort along with Southern California partners including the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the MERITO Foundation, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Ocean Institute at Dana Point, City of Dana Point Rangers, Laguna Ocean Foundation, Wrigley Marine Science Center, and Chadwick School.
For More Information:
If interested in getting involved with local monitoring efforts in Southern California, please contact Maria Madrigal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-821-8273.
Montrose Settlements Restoration Program
The Montrose Settlement Restoration Program (MSRP) oversees the restoration of natural resources in the southern California marine environment that were harmed by DDTs and PCBs.
USC Sea Grant has partnered with MSRP on various education projects, including a teacher’s guide on safe fish consumption for pier fishing and DDT and an outreach card for pier anglers.
Fish Contamination Education Collaborative
USC Sea Grant is a partner of the Fish Contamination Education Collaborative (FCEC). Since 2003, the EPA organized FCEC to protect the most vulnerable populations in Southern California from the health risks of consuming DDT- and PCB-contaminated fish from one of the largest contaminated sediment sites, the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund site, In addition to serving as a community advisor, Sea Grant supports the development of education curriculum, professional development for staff and distribution of angler education materials with Montrose Settlement Restoration Plan partners as well as EPA staff.
MPA Collaborative Education and Outreach
Marine Protected Area (MPA) Collaboratives were formed at the statewide and regional level to provide a localized, comprehensive approach to resource management by bringing together local experts in outreach, education, enforcement, compliance, and scientific research and monitoring.
The Los Angeles (LA) MPA Collaborative seeks guidance and expertise from Indigenous and local knowledge keepers, including the Chumash, Gabrielino/Tongva, Kizh, and Achjeman nations, anglers, boaters, divers, scientists, resource managers, environmental organizations, academic partners, business owners, and others.
USC Sea Grant has been co-chair of the LA MPA Collaborative since its inception in 2013. We help guide projects that aid in the enforcement and public education of marine protected areas in Southern California. Several products—including fishing guides with maps, informational brochures, beach signage identifying MPAs, critter stickers, and curriculum guides—have been published and distributed in English and Spanish. Further, the LA MPA Collaborative partners closely with the Catalina MPA Collaborative.
MPA Collaborative Projects :
- Snapshot Cal Coast: This program supports the California Academy of Sciences effort to mobilize communities to share observations of plants, animals, and seaweeds along the California coast through using iNaturalist app. The Collaborative establishes project sites within the Los Angeles MPAs to go out and make observations. These efforts help to identify range changes as well as changes in abundance and diversity of species.
- Youth Fishing Program: In partnership with the Los Angeles Rod and Reel and Marina Del Rey Anglers, this program provides boat-based MPA outreach education to Los Angeles County Youth on supported fishing trips from Marina Del Rey and Los Angeles Harbor.
Everyone is welcome to join and contribute to MPA management at the local level. Join the LA MPA Collaborative meetings to learn about other efforts with community outreach, youth fishing outreach, and ways to get involved.
Southern California Plankton Watch
The Southern California Plankton Watch program replaces the Southern California HABWatch program, which was formed in 2011 with support from USC Sea Grant, the Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) West, and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System.
This ongoing effort increases the number of eyes on the ocean for understanding changing ocean systems, early detection of blooms, and setting a method for rapid response into place.
Urban Tides: Community Science Initiative
USC Sea Grant’s Urban Tides Program invites individuals to visit the Southern California coast during extreme tide events and to take photos of the changing shoreline and any impacts on beaches or nearby communities. Extreme tides, particularly king tides, can help us identify current flooding hotspots and visualize what future sea level rise will look like for our coastline. Photos of these events help fill gaps in documenting coastal issues and identify areas of concern to assist in local planning and policy efforts.