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Portland, OR, United States

Kruse S.A.,Ecosystem Economics | Bernstein B.,Independent Consultant | Scholz A.J.,Ecotrust
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2015

The 27 oil and gas platforms offshore southern California will eventually reach the end of their useful lifetimes (estimated between 2015 and 2030) and will be decommissioned. Current state and federal laws and regulations allow for alternative uses in lieu of the complete removal required in existing leases. Any decommissioning pathway will create a complex mix of costs, benefits, opportunities, and constraints for multiple user groups. To assist the California Natural Resources Agency in understanding these issues, we evaluated the potential socioeconomic impacts of the 2 most likely options: complete removal and partial removal of the structure to 85 feet below the waterline with the remaining structure left in place as an artificial reef-generally defined as a manmade structure with some properties that mimic a natural reef. We estimated impacts on commercial fishing, commercial shipping, recreational fishing, nonconsumptive boating, and nonconsumptive SCUBA diving. Available data supported quantitative estimates for some impacts, semiquantitative estimates for others, and only qualitative approximations of the direction of impact for still others. Even qualitative estimates of the direction of impacts and of user groups' likely preferred options have been useful to the public and decision makers and provided valuable input to the project's integrative decision model. Uncertainty surrounds even qualitative estimates of the likely direction of impact where interactions between multiple impacts could occur or where user groups include subsets that would experience the same option differently. In addition, we were unable to quantify effects on ecosystem value and on the larger regional ecosystem, because of data gaps on the population sizes and dynamics of key species and the uncertainty surrounding the contribution of platforms to available hard substrate and related natural populations offshore southern California. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2015;X:000-000. © 2015 SETAC.

Ecotrust | Date: 2012-04-09

downloadable computer software platform for creating spatial planning tools.

Ecotrust | Date: 2012-04-10

Computer software for maritime electronic data collection, aggregation, and analysis; Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for maritime electronic data collection.

Merrifield M.S.,The Nature Conservancy | McClintock W.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Burt C.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Steinback C.,Ecotrust | Gleason M.,The Nature Conservancy
Ocean and Coastal Management | Year: 2013

The creation of a spatial decision support system that enabled stakeholder participation in designing marine protected areas (MPAs) was a necessary component of the planning process for California's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. Implementation of the MLPA required stakeholders to understand and use a complicated set of spatial and scientific guidelines for MPA design that relied heavily on geographic information. Tools for the delivery and visualization of geographic information have changed radically in the seven years of planning during the MLPA Initiative. We collaborated to create a state-of-the-art spatial decision support system called MarineMap to facilitate the design and evaluation of MPA proposals. MarineMap provided an intuitive user experience that simplified complicated spatial concepts, delivered critical information immediately to allow users to iterate through scenarios rapidly. This tool provided transparency in the process, and moved spatial analysis away from the domain of GIS experts to a broader group of stakeholders. We think the lessons from this experience can contribute to the further development of tools and approaches for coastal and marine spatial planning more broadly. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Klein C.J.,University of Queensland | Steinback C.,Ecotrust | Watts M.,University of Queensland | Scholz A.J.,Ecotrust | Possingham H.P.,University of Queensland
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment | Year: 2010

Protected areas are an effective tool for reducing biodiversity loss. Current legislation distinguishes various typesof marine protected areas, each allowing different levels of resource extraction. However, almost all of the theory for spatial conservation planning is focused on identifying no-takereserves. The current approaches to zoning for multiple typesof protected areas could result in suboptimal plans in terms of protecting biodiversity and minimizing negative socioeconomic impacts. We overcame these limitations in the first application of the multizone planning tool, Marxan with Zones, to design a network of four types of protected areas in the context of California's Marine Life Protection Act. We have produced a zoning configuration that entails mean value losses of less than 9% for every fishery, without compromising conservation goals. We also found that a spatial numerical optimization tool that allows for multiple zones outperforms a tool that can identify one zone (ie marine reserves) in two ways: first, the overall impact on the fishing industry is reduced, and second, a more equitable impact on different fishing sectors is achieved. Finally, we examined the tradeoffs between representing biodiversity features and impacting fisheries. Our approach is applicable to both marine and terrestrial conservation planning, and delivers an ecosystem-based management outcome that balances conservation and industry objectives. © The Ecological Society of America.

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