Calling all Beachcombers


The sun shines on the rolling waves along one of San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline. Beneath the water a smack of moon jellies float by riding the California Current down toward Baja, a gulp of cormorants can be seen diving to depths of 25 feet in search of a tasty fish breakfast, and a shiver of leopard sharks weave their way through the legs of dozens of surfers out to catch a wave before heading to the office.

The ocean is a resource treasured by San Diegans and now you have a chance to help protect it.

WILDCOAST is dedicated to conserving coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife including the 17,779 acres of marine protected areas (MPAs) in San Diego County.

Just like state parks do on land, MPAs help protect and provide refuge to some of the world’s most iconic species and provide great spots for tourists and locals alike to enjoy a day at the beach.

To effectively manage human use of MPAs it is vital that we first know one important thing – how humans are using the coast!

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This is where you come in… WILDCOAST invites you to join our MPA Watch Program- a citizen science project that works with community members just like you to collect data on how humans are using the coast both inside and outside of MPAs. Approximately 15% of San Diego County’s coast is protected by MPAs and our efforts help scientists, management, and enforcement officials better conserve the valuable wildlife and abundant geological and archaeological resources found within MPAs. In addition, MPA Watch data helps ensure humans may continue to enjoy the amazing recreational opportunities offered at these gorgeous places.

20170629_ETC_OO30How it Works:

Volunteers are recruited on a rolling basis and are required to attend a three-hour training before participating in the program. Each training consists of a classroom portion and a field portion. Volunteers will be trained on the background of WILDCOAST, MPAs, how to collect data, and the importance of our work.
Data is collected at sites in Encinitas, La Jolla, and Imperial Beach. Volunteers are free to collect data at any or all of these sites.

There is no minimum time requirement required of volunteers. You can go out, walk the beach, and collect data whenever you wish!

For more information on the MPA Watch program please check out our website:

If walking the beach and saving our coast is something you are interested in please email the MPA Watch Coordinator at: