Following completion of California’s Marine Protected Area network, the state recognized the need for enhanced capacity and coordination to support management of the CMPA program. To meet this need, the California Ocean Protection Council funded a Marine Protected Area grant program to support Marine Protected Area Collaborative Network projects that address CMPA priorities. The Council needed support developing and administering this grants program and awarded a grant to the non-profit Coastal Quest to provide this support.
As the implementing partner of Coastal Quest, ERG’s Blue Earth team assisted the California Ocean Protection Council in building the capacity of the 14 California Marine Protected Area Collaboratives that form the MPA Collaborative Network. This included working with the Ocean Protection Council and other key state and federal partners and local stakeholders to plan and coordinate a statewide forum; developing a network Memorandum of Understanding; and administering a grants program that supports each of the 14 MPA Collaboratives. Coordination of the grants program consisted of working with a state-appointed grant review committee to develop a request for proposals, providing technical assistance to each of the 14 MPA Collaboratives on their grant projects, reviewing and awarding grants, documenting lessons learned from grants, and performing monitoring and evaluation throughout the grant-making process. Grants awarded focused on improving management, raising awareness, and increasing funding to support and implement local community MPA programs.