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Santa Barbara, CA, United States

Fox E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Miller-Henson M.,California Natural Resources Agency | Ugoretz J.,1933 Cliff Drive | Ugoretz J.,U.S. Navy | And 5 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

Without the proper enabling conditions, MPA planning processes can be significantly hindered in their capacity to achieve stated goals. In California, after two unsuccessful attempts, statewide planning of a network of marine protected areas (MPA) was achieved through the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. Six initial enabling conditions contributed to moving the MLPA Initiative forward, ultimately meeting the statutory objective of redesigning the statewide system of MPAs. Those conditions included: (1) a strong legal mandate which provided guidance and flexibility; (2) political support and leadership which enabled the process to overcome political challenges and opposition; (3) adequate funding which ensured sufficient staff support and facilitated innovative approaches to a public MPA network planning process; (4) an aggressive timeline with firm deadlines which propelled the process forward; (5) willingness of civil society to engage which provided for better informed and broadly supported outcomes; and (6) an effective and transparent process design which optimized contributions from stakeholders, scientists, and policy makers. These conditions enabled the MLPA Initiative to avoid shortcomings of similar planning processes, with implications for broader national policy on coastal and marine spatial planning in the United States. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Fox E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Poncelet E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Poncelet E.,Kearns and West Inc. | Connor D.,California Natural Resources Agency | And 8 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

Marine protected area (MPA) network planning in California was conducted over the course of nearly seven years through implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). State agency and contract staff collaborated through a public-private partnership called the MLPA Initiative (Initiative), supporting regional groups of stakeholders in crafting MPA network proposals for consideration by the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) and ultimately the California Fish and Game Commission. To design a statewide network, the Initiative divided California's 1770 km coastline into five " study regions" for sequential planning, each with a separate " regional stakeholder group" (RSG) consisting of fishermen, conservationists, recreational users, and others with intimate knowledge of the area, who were tasked with proposing alternative MPA network designs. Each study region presented a different set of factors that needed to be considered by Initiative staff in designing the overall stakeholder planning process. Furthermore, as planning for each study region was completed, a formal " lessons learned" evaluation was conducted that informed process design in subsequent study regions. Thus, designing a statewide MPA network through regional MPA planning processes presented the opportunity and challenge of adapting the stakeholder process design to both regional differences and lessons learned over time. This paper examines how differences in regional characteristics and lessons learned influenced three important elements of the stakeholder process, including convening the stakeholders, managing stakeholder engagement, and integrating input from managing state agencies. The fundamental structure and unique management characteristics of the Initiative were essential in facilitating adaptation of these process elements over time. The California MLPA Initiative provides a case study in process flexibility to address changing contexts and a model for similar coastal and marine spatial planning processes. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Kirlin J.,California Natural Resources Agency | Caldwell M.,California Natural Resources Agency | Caldwell M.,Stanford University | Gleason M.,California Natural Resources Agency | And 5 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

California enacted the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) in 1999 to redesign and improve the state's system of marine protected areas (MPAs), which the State Legislature found created the illusion of protection while falling far short of its potential to protect and conserve living marine life and habitat. In 2004, after two unsuccessful attempts to implement the MLPA, California created the MLPA Initiative through a memorandum of understanding among two state agencies and a privately-funded foundation that established objectives for a planning process, set out a timeline for deliverables, and established roles and responsibilities for key bodies.This paper analyzes how recommendations developed through the Initiative supported regulatory decisions by the California Fish and Game Commission to greatly expand the network of marine protected areas. That network includes 124 MPAs, covering 16.0% of state waters outside of San Francisco Bay, including 9.4% of state waters in "no-take" areas. Such an extensive network of MPAs that consciously incorporates science-based design guidelines is an important achievement worldwide and is a rare example of a sub-national government creating MPAs.Successful implementation of formally adopted public policies is well recognized as a complex process critical to achieving policy goals. The Initiative's Blue Ribbon Task Force played a significant role in guiding the planning process to its successful conclusion in providing the State the information it needed to redesign its system of MPAs. Additional elements of the Initiative's success included: effective statutes, adequate funding and professional capacity, robust stakeholder engagement, strong science guidance, effective decision support tools, transparent decision making, and sustained support from top state officials and private foundations. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Fox E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Hastings S.,Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary | Miller-Henson M.,California Natural Resources Agency | Monie D.,California Natural Resources Agency | And 9 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

The California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative (Initiative) was a public-private partnership focused on designing a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to increase coherence and effectiveness in protecting the state's marine life, habitats, and ecosystems through a public planning process. In pursuing this core charge, the Initiative had to consider a range of other (non-MPA) policy issues and develop approaches to ensure that MPA network planning continued unimpeded, while also facilitating the consideration of issues deemed outside of California's MPA planning process. This paper explores the strategies used to address policy issues that arose in MPA planning and provides examples from six specific topic areas: fisheries management, water quality, military use areas, marine bird and mammal protection, dredging and maintenance, and tribal gathering activities. Each of these topics helps illustrate a different strategy utilized, including engaging policy issues early, providing additional evaluations, engaging additional support, putting complimentary issues on a parallel track, utilizing flexibility in statutes, and ensuring frequent and direct stakeholder communication. Considering how multiple issues were addressed in a MPA planning process provides important insights for more integrated coastal and marine spatial planning. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Saarman E.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Saarman E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Gleason M.,The Nature Conservancy | Ugoretz J.,1933 Cliff Drive | And 8 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

Marine protected areas (MPAs) can be an effective tool for marine conservation, especially if conservation goals are clearly identified and MPAs are designed in accordance with ecological principles to meet those goals. In California (USA), the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative led four regional public planning processes to design a statewide network of MPAs. The MLPA planning processes were carefully structured to provide a clearly-defined and important role for science and scientists. Over 50 scientists contributed directly to this MPA planning effort as members of a Science Advisory Team or in other capacities. Stakeholders were charged with developing alternative MPA proposals in each region, while scientists served as advisors and evaluated MPA proposals against science-based guidelines. Four key conditions supported the successful integration of science into the MPA network planning effort. First, the MLPA legislation provided a strong legal mandate for the use of the best readily available science and policy-makers strongly supported scientific input and the use of science-based MPA design guidelines. Second, the structure of the public planning process clearly identified the role of scientists and enabled a transparent and participatory process that promoted the use of science. Third, simple science-based MPA design guidelines provided benchmarks for assessing the likely effectiveness of alternative MPA proposals at achieving MLPA goals. Finally, scientists were engaged extensively and were responsive to the evolving informational needs of each regional MPA planning process. The redesigned statewide network of MPAs generally reflects the successful integration of science and science-based MPA design guidelines into a public policy process. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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