MPA Watch & Marin MPA Watch Volunteer Program

The MPA Watch program:

  • is a citizen science program
  • trains volunteers to collect scientific data on consumptive and non-consumptive coastal and marine resource use by ocean users using specific protocols and a survey. Surveys are observational only, and collect human activities in and outside of MPAs, such as surfing, kayaking, fishing, boating, running, etc., with the intention of improving our understanding of how people are using our statewide MPAs. 
  • informs MPA management and supports the California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The California MPA Watch program is implemented by ten different organizations throughout the state. The Marin MPA Watch Volunteer Program is managed by the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin (EAC), and in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, and Point Reyes National Seashore. The Marin MPA Watch focuses their efforts at Agate County Beach, Corte Madera Marsh, Drakes Beach, Drakes Estero, Point Resistance, and the Point Reyes Headlands.

Not only do local volunteers learn about their coastal environment and become citizen scientists and stewards of the area, but they generate quantities of monitoring data that would not be possible under the current state budget.




Once trained, the volunteer will choose 1-2 days a month to conduct a survey on a specific beach for up to three months. Surveys are only observational. No public interaction necessary or required. Great volunteer opportunity for individuals, friends or families with children 10 and older. 

Volunteer Description (click)


  • Must be 18 year of age or older, or accompanied by a guardian, and sign our liability and photo release form
  • Ability to attend an Marin MPA Watch training at each MPA site they are interested in helping to survey
  • Love walking on the beach and being outside, and physically able to walk two-five miles on the beach
  • Able to complete 1-2 surveys per month over the course of three months, and mail back your surveys for the official register
  • (Optional) Use iNaturalist App to record what you see on the beach, take pictures and share them for our media team, collect beach trash and make art to create awareness!


  • A free, MPA reusable water bottle!
  • Healthy recreation that gets you outside exercising your mind and muscles! 
  • Collection of long-term citizen science data for our MPAs.
  • Invitation to the annual Point Reyes National Seashore volunteer appreciation event at Point Reyes typically held the third Friday in July across from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
  • Invitations to EAC special events. 
California now leads the nation and the world in ocean protection, ensuring the preservation of ecosystems along the coastline of California.
“...for me there really is just one Hope Spot – it’s the ocean.”
— Sylvia Earle, marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer