LUNCH & LEARN.
Why are Marine Protected Areas important? (MPA)
MPA’s are essential in order to protect marine habitats and the life they support.
By creating sanctuaries for species to grow and reproduce, they can help to restore healthy marine populations, both inside and beyond the protected areas themselves.
Scientists also claim that marine protected areas can help to combat the effects of global climate change.
As a part of our ongoing Lunch and Learn program we’ll teach why oceans are important, how they're under threat and what we can do to protect our 7 1/2 mile stretch from Dana Point to Laguna Beach.
What is MPA Watch?
MPA Watch trains volunteers to observe and collect unbiased data on coastal and marine resource use. Volunteers will be trained to collect valuable data on ocean users and their activities, such as surfing, kayaking, fishing, boating, running, etc. Specifically, the MPA Watch volunteers will observe and record both consumptive and non-consumptive offshore and onshore activities in and around MPAs, which will improve our understanding of how people are using these new MPAs.
What is Community Science?
Community science is data collection conducted by volunteers from the general public who are interested in learning about and/or conserving the environment. You do not need any scientific background to collect data for these surveys.
MPA Watch volunteers observe California’s beaches and bluffs inside and outside MPAs, recording all offshore and onshore coastal activities. Volunteers are trained to recognize different types of activities and to record their observations on data sheets.
What is a Watershed: A watershed is an area of land where all of the water flows to a common point. Streams flow into small rivers, which flow into bigger rivers, which flow into lakes or oceans and are deter- mined by the shape and slope of the land. Watersheds can be small or large systems. Every inch of the United States is part of a watershed – in other words, all land drains into a lake, river, stream or other water body and directly affects its quality. Because we all live on the land, we all live in a watershed — thus watershed condition is important to everyone.
Did you know that a majority of the trash and debris that covers our beaches comes from storm drains and sewers, as well as from shoreline and recreational activities such as picnicking and beachgoing?
Find my Watershed:
Are Healthy Watersheds Very Common?
Unfortunately not. Healthy watersheds are uncommon, particularly in the eastern U.S. as well as in most other parts of the nation that are urbanized, farmed, or mined. Large tracts of protected wildlands, mostly in the western U.S., are where most healthy watersheds can be found. However, some healthy watersheds exist in many regions of the country where water pollution has been prevented or well controlled, and where communities maintain the benefits of their clean waterways.
How Might Healthy Watersheds Affect Me?
You may potentially benefit from healthy watersheds in numerous ways, generally unseen and unrecognized by the average citizen:
Healthy watersheds are necessary for virtually any high quality outdoor recreation sites involving the use of lakes, rivers, or streams. Great fishing opportunities are usually due to healthy watersheds that surround the waters that people love to fish.
Your drinking water, if it comes from a surface water source, might be substantially less expensive to treat, if a healthy watershed around the water source filters pollution for free.
Your property values may be higher, if you are fortunate enough to reside near healthy rather than impaired waters.
You and your community’s quality of life may be better in these and other ways due to healthy watersheds; now, imagine how unhealthy watersheds might affect you as well.
Why Do Watersheds Need to Be Protected?
Healthy watersheds not only affect water quality in a good way, but also provide greater benefits to the communities of people and wildlife that live there.
A watershed – the land area that drains to a stream, lake or river – affects the water quality in the water body that it surrounds. Healthy watersheds not only help protect water quality, but also provide greater benefits than degraded watersheds to the people and wildlife that live there. We all live in a watershed, and watershed condition is important to everyone and everything that uses and needs water.
Healthy watersheds provide critical services, such as clean drinking water, productive fisheries, and outdoor recreation, that support our economies, environment and quality of life. The health of clean waters is heavily influenced by the condition of their surrounding watersheds, mainly because pollutants can wash off from the land to the water and cause substantial harm.