Warm Waters Impact Kelp Forests

Unusually red abalone feeding behavior in Mendicino County (image credit K. Joe, CDFW)
Many important nearshore fisheries in northern California rely on healthy kelp forests, either as a food source or important habitat.  These fisheries are threatened because of a dramatic decline of the state’s kelp forests north of San Francisco.  Aerial surveys of the kelp in 2008 and 2014 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), revealed a 93% decline of canopy-forming kelp species in this region (you can view the CDFW aerial kelp surveys in the CeNCOOS Data portal [linked...]).
Two consecutive years of warm water conditions and unprecedented numbers of purple urchins on the north coast have contributed to the lack of kelp in 2014 and 2015.  Subsurface temperatures (at 30-feet) in the kelp forests in Mendocino County hit a record high in the Fall of 2014, and saw comparable temperatures in 2015.  These spikes in temperature were caused by the “Warm Blob” in 2014, coupled with the strong El Niño conditions  in 2015.  Warm water, and diminished nutrients associated with warm water, stresses the kelp and makes it more vulnerable to urchin grazing.

Central Coast Monitoring Survey

The California Ocean Science Trust invites coordinators and managers of monitoring projects on the Central Coast to take the Central Coast Monitoring Survey, available through August 29th. Your participation will help the Ocean Science Trust, and its partners at California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Ocean Protection Council, design and implement the next phase of Central Coast MPA monitoring.

MPA Partnership Plan Comment Period

A draft of “The California Collaborative Approach: Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan” is now open for public and tribal comment, ending July 18, 2014 and July 25, 2014, respectively. The Partnership Plan is an overarching guidance document that promotes a partnership-based model for managing California’s network of MPAs.

Draft Central Coast MPA Monitoring Plan Available

The California Ocean Science Trust, in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, invites members of the Central Coast ocean community to provide input on the Draft Central Coast MPA Monitoring Plan. Link to draft plan. Comments must be received by 5:00 pm PDT on June 4, 2014. Contact OST at mpamonitoring@calost.org


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