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Sacramento, 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

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. Source

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

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. Source

Kittinger J.N.,Stanford University | Kittinger J.N.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Koehn J.Z.,Stanford University | Le Cornu E.,Stanford University | And 24 more authors.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Marine and coastal ecosystems provide important benefits and services to coastal communities across the globe, but assessing the diversity of social relationships with oceans can prove difficult for conservation scientists and practitioners. This presents barriers to incorporating social dimensions of marine ecosystems into ecosystem-based planning processes, which can in turn affect the success of planning and management initiatives. Following a global assessment of social research and related planning practices in ocean environments, we present a step-by-step approach for natural resource planning practitioners to more systematically incorporate social data into ecosystem-based ocean planning. Our approach includes three sequential steps: (1) develop a typology of ocean-specific human uses that occur within the planning region of interest; (2) characterize the complexity of these uses, including the spatiotemporal variability, intensity, and diversity thereof, as well as associated conflicts and compatibility; and (3) integrate social and ecological information to assess trade-offs necessary for successful implementation of ecosystem-based ocean planning. We conclude by showing how systematic engagement of social data - Together with ecological information - can create advantages for practitioners to improve planning and management outcomes. 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

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

Foley M.M.,Stanford University | Armsby M.H.,Resources Law Group | Prahler E.E.,Stanford University | Caldwell M.R.,Stanford University | And 4 more authors.

The US National Ocean Policy calls for ecosystem-based management (EBM) of the ocean to help realize the vision advanced in the 2010 Executive Order on the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. However, no specific approach for incorporating EBM into planning was provided. We explore how a set of ecological principles and ecosystem vulnerability concepts can be integrated into emerging comprehensive assessment frameworks, including Australia's National Marine Bioregional Assessments, California's Marine Life Protection Act Initiative's regional profiles, Canada's Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Initiative, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) program, to transition to ecosystem-based ocean planning. We examine NOAA's IEA framework to demonstrate how these concepts could be incorporated into existing frameworks. Although our discussion is focused on US ocean policy, comprehensive ecological assessments are applicable to a wide array of management strategies and planning processes. © 2013 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Source

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