Our Programs | MPA Center
The Marine Protected Areas Center
The National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center works in partnership with the Department of the Interior, and other federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local agencies. It is charged with establishing and implementing a comprehensive, scientifically-based, effective National System of Marine Protected Areas (the national system) representing diverse U.S. marine ecosystems and natural and cultural resources. The national system was established to leverage the capabilities of over 100 existing federal, state, territorial, and tribal MPA programs that span the nation's coastal, marine, and Great Lakes regions in order to strengthen natural and cultural marine resource conservation. The national system became a reality in 2009 with the publication of the Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States of America.
Marine protected areas are widely used in the United States as a tool for helping conserve the nation’s wealth of natural and cultural resources for all Americans. The MPA Center focuses on building and maintaining the national system of MPAs, supporting national system partnerships, supporting the MPA Federal Advisory Committee, conducting outreach and education, maintaining www.mpa.gov, and collecting data for the marine protected areas inventory, defacto MPAs, ocean uses, and other information necessary to inform the National System of MPAs and other coastal and marine spatial planning needs.