NOAA's Marine Protected Areas Inventory (MPA Inventory) describes all MPAs in US waters, where they are and what they do. This comprehensive geospatial database combines publicly available data with information from state and federal MPA programs. It can be used to view MPAs, explore status and trends of MPAs, create customized maps and analytical products, or add MPAs to data portals, online viewers and other spatial data visualizations.
Types of MPAs
The MPA Inventory includes sites that meet specific definitions and are classified to allow analysis of various characteristics across multiple spatial scales. Please review MPA Inventory metadata (.xml) for more details.
MPA Inventory Data
The MPA Inventory is published annually in various formats to meet a wide range of user needs. The 2015 MPA Inventory can be accessed via:
- Interactive data viewer: Searchable online visualization application
- Downloadable GIS data: ESRI shapefile or geodatabase
- Downloadable tabular data: Excel spreadsheet (no spatial reference)
- Web mapping services: Series of layers with a range of display options
Analyzing the Inventory
The MPA Inventory can be used to calculate marine protected area statistics to support a wide range of research and policy interests, as illustrated in the following:
- Conserving our Oceans One Place at a Time: A detailed exploration of the MPA Inventory (2012) as a tool for evaluating MPA status and trends.
- MPA Representativeness Report: An assessment of MPA distribution in relation to critical habitats and ecologically important areas.
MPA Inventory Updates
The MPA Inventory is updated annually. Please contact us with any new site information, existing site clarifications or updated spatial boundary data.
MPA Inventory can be integrated with other thematic spatial data to evaluate spatial patterns inside and outside MPA boundaries. The SPatial Analysis and Resource Characterization (SPARC) tool is an add-in to ArcGIS 10.0 that simplifies this workflow and reports out results based on defined spatial areas, zones or boundaries.
De Facto MPA are areas officially delineated for reasons other than conservation, such as economic use, human health or safety, protection of government or private property, or national security. See the De Facto MPAs inventory.
The MPA Inventory should not be used for regulatory purposes. For official boundary definitions and regulations, please consult the Code of Federal Regulations or relevant state code.