California Marine Ecology

California Marine Ecology Project

Civic Hub has successfully kickstarted a citizen science project with Fort Ross Marine Mammal Monitoring Program (MMMP) to provide tech-driven solutions to a respected California non-profit organization which seeks to better understand the environmental trends of Sonoma coast.

Fort Ross and Salt Point State Parks coastal waters which form a larger part of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are home to a large population of marine mammals including California (Zalophus californianus) and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Over the last few years MMMP, operated by the Fort Ross Conservancy, has managed to collect a vast amount of raw marine mammals data which needed to be shared with the wider scientific community, in hope that such information will aid marine biologists to combat the impacts of ocean climate change and maintain the health of the Sanctuary. This required digitizing marine mammal observation data, mapping the data, and visualizing this data to show trends.

To drive MMMP digital transformation, Civic Hub has turned to the Microsoft ecosystem. Funds from Microsoft CityNext were used to pay stipends of Code Tenderloin participants, who for months worked on digitizing MMMP's paper surveys and building database architecture. Civic Hub meanwhile offered project management solutions and a team of skilled engineers to fully utilize Microsoft Azure's set of tools and platform. Microsoft Azure has generously donated needed cloud computing services necessary to facilitate this project.

In early 2020, our team acquired a volunteer data scientist, a Code tenderloin graduate, who is now finalizing the deliverables of the project, namely the creation of a digital database for MMMP's survey and map data visualization.

Once completed, the project will serve the interest of nationally significant marine ecosystems by providing computing models and visualization tools that will help assess the health of the Sonoma coast environment. Civic Hub is now working with other environmental protection agencies and non-profits to expand this database.