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Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu. Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

MPA Watch - Otter Project

  • Organization Name
    Otter Project
  • Organization Website
  • Partners
    Monterey Coastkeeper
  • Contact Name
    Mark Welden-Smith
  • Contact Email
  • Contact Phone
    (831)646-8837 x116
  • Other Contact Information
    N / A
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

    1) Foster compliance and inform management decisions for Central Coast MPAs by providing useful information to enforcement and management agencies - monitoring for compliance can ensure that scientific monitoring is reflecting the dynamics of the ecosystem and not persistent human impact;
    2) Inform management decisions by providing useful information to enforcement and management agencies, some of which acknowledge feeling overburdened by new regulations.  

    MPA Watch will address questions such as: 

    • Are certain activities increasing around MPAs (i.e. increased wildlife viewing, diving, etc.)
    • Are regulations being followed? 
    • What are the threats and benefits of MPA use?


  • Participant Activities

    Volunteers follow site specific monitoring protocols detailing the procedure for conducting each survey. Protocols include GPS coordinates for starting, ending, and observation points, and site specific pictures for clarification of coordinates. All surveys are scaled to take about one hour to complete. 

  • Data Entry
    • Data Sheets
  • Other Participant Activities

    Participation in Otter Project and Coastkeeper education and advocacy work

  • System Studied
    • Intertidal zone
    • Other (see Notes)
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
    Northern California
  • Location
    Marine Protected Areas in the Central Coast Region - Bean Hollow, north of Año Nuevo in San Mateo County, to Point Buchon SMR, in San Luis Obispo County
  • Location - Map
    Point Buchon, San Luis Obispo County; Año Nuevo Bay California
  • Time Commitment
    • Other (see Other Information below)
  • Volunteer Qualifications
    N / A
  • Volunteer Training

    Training on observation and data recording protocols. Contact Mark Welden-Smith for training schedule.

  • Cost to Participant
    N / A
  • How will the findings be used?

    Findings will inform policy and management decisions regarding MPA's in the Central Coast region.

  • Other Information
    N / A
  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:
    N / A

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.