Gleason, M., S. McCreary, M. Miller-Henson, J. Ugoretz, E. Fox, M. Merrifield, W. McClintock, P. Serpa and K. Hoffman
The planning process for California’s Marine Life Protection Act in north central California represents a case study in the design of a regional component of a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) for improved ecosystem protection. We describe enabling factors, such as a legislative mandate, political will, and adequate capacity and funding that fostered a successful planning process. We identify strategic principles that guided the design of a transparent public planning process that delivered regional MPA network proposals, which both met science guidelines and achieved a high level of support among stakeholders. We also describe key decision support elements (spatial data, planning tools, and scientific evaluation) that were essential for designing, evaluating, and refining alternative MPA network proposals and for informing decision-makers.
Ocean & Coastal Management