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Posted on August 8, 2014 - 10:55am, by cmwahle

By Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center, Silver Spring, Maryland

Maybe it’s all those summer reading lists that draw me in every summer to distant places and terrific characters. But it seems like a good time to appreciate some of the many great novels that are set in and around our nation’s marine protected areas. Social scientists are now documenting what writers have known for centuries – telling a compelling story is the best way to help people understand and engage in an issue. 

Not that these stories preach about marine conservation. Fortunately, these authors know that’s not the way to get our attention. Rather, they show us how individuals interact with specific places – and how these places work their way into our memories and hearts.

Here are a few suggestions for summer reading --- we’d love to hear your ideas and comments too.

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Posted on May 14, 2014 - 9:42am, by cmwahle

By Mimi D’Iorio, PhD, NOAA National MPA Center (on detail to NOAA Coastal Services Center) mimi.diorio [at]

There aren’t sign posts in the ocean, no billboards or ranger-staffed kiosks alerting ocean-goers that they are entering a special area where certain activities are regulated or prohibited.   Unlike on land, special areas in the ocean are not marked or gated or fenced.  So without posted boundaries, public compliance to MPA regulations relies on effective outreach and education, as well routine monitoring and enforcement.

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Posted on March 26, 2014 - 12:58pm, by cmwahle

By Charles M. Wahle, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Blog Editor, NOAA MPA Center, charles.wahle [at]

Americans and our visitors are increasingly discovering the nation’s oceans as a place to play. This trend is hard to miss. Any visit to the coast or to travel and tourism websites reveals the diversity of ways we now recreate in the ocean [1]. The ongoing explosion of ocean recreation involves familiar uses pursued by ever-more people (e.g. kayaking, wildlife viewing, SCUBA), as well as the emergence of new activities not envisioned just a few years ago (e.g. stand-up paddle boards, kayak fishing, jet packs).

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Posted on February 19, 2014 - 11:30am, by cmwahle

By Charles M. Wahle, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center, Monterey, CA; and
Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director, NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center, Silver Spring, MD

What’s All The Fuss About Marine Protected Areas?

Driven by expanding threats to the world’s oceans, the past two decades have seen growing interest in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a way to conserve ecologically, economically and culturally important places, the habitats they contain, and the ecosystem services they provide.  Designed and adaptively managed with sound science and meaningful stakeholder input, MPAs can be important, effective and equitable management tools for sustainably managing human impacts to these special areas.  Many people across the ocean conservation spectrum agree that special ocean places should be protected from the impacts of human activities, just as we have done for generations for our most treasured forests, grasslands, mountains and deserts. 

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