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Belmont, CA, United States

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. Source

Gleason M.,The Nature Conservancy | Fox E.,California Natural Resources Agency | Vasques J.,50 Harbor Blvd. | Whiteman E.,MPA Monitoring Enterprise | And 8 more authors.
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

The State of California recently planned and is implementing a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in state waters as mandated by the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). A public-private partnership (the MLPA Initiative) completed four regional public MPA planning processes characterized by robust stakeholder contributions and the incorporation of best readily available science. Prior to enactment of the MLPA in 1999, less than 3% of California state waters were in MPAs, and most of those MPAs were small and lacked clear objectives. By 2013, approximately 16% of state waters will be in 124 MPAs that represent and replicate most marine and estuarine habitats and are designed to be ecologically-connected. The redesigned statewide network of MPAs improves marine ecosystem protection in California, advanced the science and practice of designing MPA networks, and increased the awareness and capacity of stakeholders, scientists and decision-makers for marine spatial planning. The public planning effort took almost seven years and significant financial investment (approximately $19.5 million in private charitable foundation funds and $18.5 million in public funds). Not all stakeholders were pleased with the outcomes and the planning processes faced many challenges. While the design of the MPA network aimed to meet science and feasibility guidelines, final decisions on MPAs in each region reflected tradeoffs needed to garner public acceptance and support for implementation. The MLPA Initiative offers some key lessons about implementing policy through a public planning process. While California is developing mechanisms for assessing effectiveness of the MPA network in coming years, including establishing a MPA Monitoring Enterprise and a process for periodic review and adaptive management of MPAs, significant challenges remain for effective implementation. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Geibel J.J.,50 Harbor Blvd. | Kalvass P.E.,2330 N. Harbor Dr.
California Fish and Game | Year: 2010

A sport clam survey, conducted January through December 2008 in Humboldt Bay, California, was the continuation of a creel-type survey conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game from 1975 through 1989. Surveys were conducted on low tides in the south arm of Humboldt Bay. Data were collected on clammer effort and catch resulting in bootstrapped estimates of the number of clammer trips (clammer-days) per year, catch per unit effort, total catch by species, and spatial distribution of effort within the bay. The survey revealed an important shift in harvested clam species composition, a decrease in harvest level, and methods of harvest apparently unique to Humboldt Bay. Source

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. Source

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. Source

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