Topic: Marine Protected Areas


Sustaining California’s Ocean

The Sustaining California’s Ocean (SCO) program builds on more than a decade of RLF support for the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a public-private partnership that established the nation’s first science-based network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2012. California’s MPA network protects nearly 17 percent of nearshore waters including some of the state’s most iconic and beloved coastal areas. SCO cultivates a new approach to managing ocean and coastal habitats through inclusive partnerships to advance research and monitoring, stewardship, and compliance. SCO also seeks to modernize California’s ocean governance by helping to build capacity, leadership, and financing among…


Hawai‘i Marine Planning

The Hawai‘i Marine Planning program is a partnership with the State of Hawai’i and local philanthropy to support Hawai‘i’s Holomua Marine Initiative, which calls for effectively managing Hawai‘i’s nearshore marine waters. The Initiative focuses on place-based planning, promoting sustainable or pono use of marine resources, scientific and community-based monitoring, reducing land-based pollution impacts, and restoration of nearshore coral reefs. Related News: Leading by Listening: Bold Steps Forward for Hawai‘i’s Ocean, by Jocelyn Garovoy Herbert | June 22, 2021 Recovery with Resilience: Public Investments for a Sustainable, Equitable Future, by Laura Tam and Shiva Polefka | August 21, 2020

News & Insights

Conservation Leadership More Important Than Ever

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages lives and economies around the globe, all other issues, including conservation, have taken a distant backseat. On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day it’s worth remembering that adversity can spur progress: now is the time to lean into our collective efforts to advance conservation, environmental justice, and climate action. History shows us that even in the most difficult times, leadership and vision can advance largescale environmental successes with far-reaching ecological, social, and economic benefits. In 1933, as Great Depression unemployment peaked at almost 25%, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps…


Lessons Learned from California’s MPA Network Implementation

As California nears the milestone of its first decade of MPA network implementation, valuable new lessons continue to emerge that can be applied both to improve its own efforts and to inform MPA managers around the world. As the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems become more dire, there is also a growing interest in understanding how MPAs may help build resilience. Ensuring California’s MPA network is effectively managed is critical to both meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act itself and to ensuring the state’s MPAs contribute to a healthy and abundant ocean.


Lessons from California’s MPA Monitoring Program

California has committed to partnership-based model of managing its marine protected area (MPA) network, focusing on community stewardship and education, enforcement, policy and permitting, and scientific monitoring. This document summarizes some of the key components and lessons learned from California’s experience designing, launching, and implementing a program to monitor the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of its MPA network.


Lessons from the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative

From 2004 to 2012, RLF guided a public-private partnership including foundations, multiple stakeholder groups, and the State of California in creating a statewide, science-based network of marine protected areas (MPA) that protect nearly 17 percent of California’s nearshore ocean waters, the first such effort successfully completed in the United States. RLF produced an assessment of its experience in leading the eight-year Marine Life Protection Act Initiative that provides useful lessons to help guide MPA network planning efforts in other regions worldwide.


Guide to California’s Marine Life Management Act, 2nd edition

In December 2017, RLF released the second edition of Guide to California’s Marine Life Management Act, written by RLF’s Mike Weber with Huff McGonigal and Burr Heneman. RLF has partnered with the state of California to help advance implementation of the landmark 1998 law which calls for managing state fisheries to meet sustainability and ecosystem protection goals. The Guide can be found here.