Become a MPA Watch Volunteer in South San Diego

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Spent your Saturday Morning at the Beach!
Join us Saturday March 22 for our 4th training of MPA Watch for the Tijuana River Mouth. Volunteers will spend the morning with  Wildcoast staff, learning how to take a transect survey of the Tijuana River Mouth Marine Protected Area.  
Training will last approximately three hours, with an in-class training and field training. Volunteers will learn about the history and importance of MPAs in San Diego, how to use an MPA Watch data sheet, and why human-use surveys are so important to building our knowledge about how MPAs impact the areas they protect.  Once trained, volunteers are able to conduct surveys whenever they are able, so the schedule is flexible.
Data collection is done following state-wide methods and protocols, and all information will be used in the future assessment of our MPAs in San Diego and is helpful in understanding how human use has changed since their implementation. 
Location: WILDCOAST office 
925 Seacoast Drive
Imperial Beach, CA 91932
(Offices are located in front of the Imperial Beach Pier, second floor from the liquor store)
Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Time: 9:00am-12:00 pm
To register please contact Marine Coordinator Diane Castaneda at diane@wildcoast.net.

Surfing Dolphins in the Tijuana River Mouth MPA

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Two weekends ago, I spent my Sunday morning with the San Ysidro Girl Scouts at the Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). The girls had a long weekend filled with activities and a trip to Los Angeles.

We had planned a beach cleanup, lunch and to then start our new Junior MPA Watch training. When I got to the site, their Girl Scout leader, Irene Barajas, informed me that the girls were really tired and would like to skip lunch and do the cleanup and the training, that way they could finish early.

It was a nice and breezy morning, the water was calm, and few people were out at the beach. We started the cleanup; the girls were very active, picking up cigarette butts, trash bags, plastic bottles and candy wrappers.  After an hour we started the training, I talked to them about why this Marine Protected Area (MPA) is biologically important  and all the different marine wildlife that inhabit the area.  As we were starting the training you could see they were tired, but these girls are tough and were ready to start learning.  I started explaining how to conduct the surveys and what to write on the data sheets when I pointed to the ocean and asked “What do you see?” Suddenly a pod of about three dolphins were swimming in the MPA. The girls got really excited, their eyes lit-up quickly and started talking to each other about how cool it was. Just when we thought it could not get any better, dolphins started jumping up, and putting on a show. We stopped the training for a few minutes and waited until the dolphins headed south.  One girl said, “This is better than Sea World, it’s natural!”

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