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Surfrider's California Policy Manager To Help State's Marine Protected Areas Go Global

Surfrider Foundation’s California Policy Manager, Jennifer Savage, has been selected to an expert assessment group to evaluate California's marine protected areas for inclusion on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Green List.

SACRAMENTO, CA – California's Natural Resources Agency, Ocean Protection Council and Department of Fish and Wildlife hope to see the state's marine protected area (MPA) network added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List, a global standard for identifying well-managed protected areas. MPAs work by protecting entire ecosystems instead of only single species, which makes them an especially effective tool when it comes to restoration and resiliency. California is the first – and currently only – state with an MPA network, boasting more than 120 protected areas along the state's 1,100-mile coast.

To be added to the Green List, protected areas must contribute to “sustainable development through the conservation of nature and provision of associated social, economic, cultural and spiritual values.” While the stated conservation goals of California's MPA network align with the Green List, achieving inclusion first requires the evaluation of the MPA network using IUCN Green List criteria.

The Expert Assessment Group for the Green List (EAGL)  

That evaluation requires the formation of an expert assessment group (EAGL) made up of those knowledgeable about California’s ocean. Drawn from a pool of qualified applicants, the 17 individuals comprising EAGL represent California ocean stakeholders from a diverse array of sectors. IUCN has selected Surfrider Foundation's California Policy Manager Jennifer Savage as an EAGL member. 

From 2009 to 2012, Savage served on a North Coast stakeholder group tasked with creating the region’s collection of marine protected areas, which ultimately became the final segment in California’s coast-wide MPA network. The EAGL will visit and evaluate sites within California’s MPA network using IUCN’s Green List criteria. If all criteria are met, the group will recommend that the network be added to the Green List. The initial evaluation process is anticipated to be completed by early 2019.

A longtime resident of Humboldt County and part-time resident of San Francisco, Savage spends much of her time traversing the state in pursuit of greater ocean protection, equitable beach access, the preservation of California's coast and enjoying the ocean, beaches and waves whenever possible. She can be reached at

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