WILDCOAST’s Floating Laboratories are Helping to Conserve our Marine Protected Areas

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This summer and fall, WILDCOAST is carrying out an exciting project to engage San Diego County students in the conservation of the region’s marine protected areas, or MPAs. Through our Floating Laboratory project, students from the Sycuan Teen Center, La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, San Ysidro Girl Scout Troop 5912 and Imperial Beach Junior Lifeguards are conducting real scientific research on the water to help guide MPA management decisions and enhance their ability to protect coastal and marine resources.

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Hoover High School Students Explore La Jolla’s MPAs

On Tuesday, March 29, WILDCOAST took out a group of 25 students from Hoover High School’s mentoring program Cardinals Interact Club to learn more about San Diego’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Students got a chance to tour the special facilities of Scripps Institution of Oceanography that included the Scripps Pier and the Scripps research aquarium and lab.  During the tour, students learned about the wonderful work our partners at The Semmens Lab at Scripps are doing to asses the health and effectiveness of La Jolla’s MPAs and the marine species that live in them.

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Learning and Exploring La Jolla’s Marine Protected Areas

Ourdoor Outreach students learn about tide pools, tagging and estimating sealife populations at Scripps Institiute of Oceanography.

For the effective conservation of our coastline and our marine protected areas (MPAs), community engagement is key. And it is essential that people love these special areas for that needed public support.

To help youth in San Diego County get to know and hopefully fall in love with our local MPAs, WILDCOAST partnered with Outdoor Outreach to take five students from El Cajon Valley High School to Scripps Institution of Oceanography. There the students interacted with marine species that inhabit the Matlahuayl and San Diego-Scripps MPAs and learned how to make population estimate of various marine wildlife.

Marwa, one of the students, said, “I love enjoying the ocean but also learning about it”. Tamara, another student said, “I am so glad I got the chance to learn about marine species and actually see them!”

We would like to thank SIO scientist Brice Semmens and Rachel Labbe Bellas, Outdoor Outreach and the students of El Cajon Valley High School.

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Enjoy, but do not disturb!

The last weekend of spring break my husband and I took our daughter to La Jolla. She loves seeing the sea lions and brown pelicans and it was the perfect day for a beach day. When we got there, we noticed that there was a car show at Scripps Park. There was a lot of people, so we slowly made our way to La Jolla’s Cove beach and hoping that since it was later in the day, there wouldn’t be a lot of people.  We were wrong, the beach was packed, and right in the middle of that beach were five sleeping sea lions. There were a few more scattered around that small beach, some looked sick and tired. My husband and I wanted to leave but we decided to stay in case anybody would start harassing the sea lions. We could let them know, in a friendly way, that they shouldn’t be doing that.

We stayed at the beach and sat at good distance from the sea lions and saw people, mostly tourists, taking pictures of them and with them. Most of them were in awe of seeing wild animals in their natural habitats.  The sea lions were only there to rest. They were sleeping, trying not to care about all the crowd that surrounded them. But it was tough; kids were playing very close to them, people almost stepping on them, and some were trying to touch them. Fortunately, lifeguard J. Kerr was there on duty to make sure people kept a safe distant from the marine mammals.

 

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Dive Into Your Underwater Parks, Virtually.

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California Google MPA Tour

Explore California’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) or “underwater parks” through new online tours!

Looking for your next vacations spot? The California Google MPA Tours feature detailed descriptions of each of the State and Federal Marine Protected Areas, National Marine Sanctuaries, and National Estuaries, with stunning photos and videos, and links to local “things to do” for your enjoyment and ease of vacation planning.

The Google MPA tour is recently completed for the entire state, featuring more than 125 underwater parks from the Oregon border to the Mexico border, and is divided into easy to navigate regional tours. Each tour explores all of the underwater parks along our amazing coast with breathtaking pictures and videos and links to nearby activities to enjoy these special ocean areas.

Hope you make your next vacation an MPA vacation! Click here to dive in!

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Happy Anniversary California MPAs!

*Humpback Whale- Megaptera novaeangliae (Balaenopteridae)

California celebrates first anniversary of underwater state park system.  South Coast parks a destination for surfing, kayaking, tide pooling and bird-watching

On December 19 2013, California celebrates the one-year anniversary of the nation’s only statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs). These “underwater parks,” dotting the coast from Oregon to Mexico, provide safe havens for marine life to rebound and opportunities for people to get outside and enjoy nature. (View a map here). For a look at the outdoor adventures to be had in Southern California’s marine protected areas, check out this new 60-second video from Ocean Conservancy, How Do You MPA?

Many of California’s marine protected areas are located just offshore from state and county parks, and offer great winter activities. Here are five local highlights:

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La Jolla, San Diego: Each year, more than two million visitors are drawn to La Jolla for its beauty and bountiful sea life. The marine protected area at La J

olla Cove has recently been expanded and renamed Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve in honor of its Native American heritage. La Jolla features a sheltered kelp forest that’s teeming with leopard sharks, bright garibaldi, lobsters, octopus and much more.

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