Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



In 2008, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) began a one-year process to develop a preferred alternative for a network of marine protected areas in Southern California. To comply with the state Marine Life Protection Act’s mandate for sound science, the DFG appointed marine scientists to a Science Advisory Team to set up guidelines that stakeholders and decision makers could rely upon to determine how well proposals met the goals of the MLPA to provide some protection for marine life. As the final debates over where to draw the lines of the new reserves continue, this article explains the scientific underpinnings of this groundbreaking process.