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National Ocean Council—National Ocean Policy Draft Implementation Plan

Agency: Council on Environmental Quality

Action: Notice of availability; request for comments.

Summary: On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy). As part of the President’s charge for Federal agencies to implement the National Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council developed actions to achieve the Policy’s nine priority objectives, and to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Collectively, the actions are encompassed in a single draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan). The draft Implementation Plan describes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.

Small Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Cape Wind’s High Resolution Survey in Nantucket Sound, MA

RIN 0648–XA408

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.

Summary: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Cape Wind Associates (CWA) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to pre-construction high resolution survey activities in Nantucket Sound. Includes comments and responses.

Dates: Effective January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012.

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Regulations Revisions

Citation Information: 15 CFR Part 922

Docket No. 100827401–1597–02

RIN 0648-BA20

Agency: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce (DOC).

Action: Final rule.

Summary: Pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has conducted a review of the management plan and regulations for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or sanctuary), located off the outer coast of the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington. As a result of the review, NOAA determined that it was necessary to revise the sanctuary’s management plan and implementing regulations. NOAA is revising the OCNMS regulations to: Prohibit wastewater discharges from cruise ships; clarify the language referring to consideration of the objectives of the governing bodies of Indian tribes when issuing permits; correct the size of the sanctuary based on new area estimates (without revising the sanctuary’s actual boundaries); update of definitions; and update information such as office location. NOAA also makes additional changes to the grammar and wording of several sections of the regulations to ensure clarity and consistency with the NMSA and other sanctuaries in the National Marine Sanctuary System.

Effective Date: December 1, 2011.

Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force

Author: The White House Council on Environmental Quality

Date: July 19, 2010

Summary: In order to better meet our Nation’s stewardship responsibilities for the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, President Obama established the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (Task Force) on June 12, 2009. The Task Force is composed of 24 senior-level officials from executive departments, agencies, and offices across the Federal government and led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). The President charged the Task Force with developing recommendations to enhance our ability to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Changing Course: A Proposed Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning in the U.S.

Citation Information: National Wetlands Newsletter, Vol. 32, No. 4, 2010, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC, USA

Author: Jane Lubchenco

Abstract: Managing our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes is far more complicated today than in the past. Increasing uses have put significant strain on these vital resources. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning is a proposed comprehensive new effort to coordinate and sustainable manage these resources for current and future generations.

Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports

RIN 0648–XA595

Agency: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Action: Notice of availability; response to comments.

Summary: As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS has incorporated public comments into revisions of marine mammal stock assessment reports (SARs). The 2011 reports are final and available to the public. Includes comments and responses.

Date: 21 May 2012

Minimizing Collision Risk Between Migrating Raptors and Marine Wind Farms: Development of a Spatial Planning Tool

Citation Information: Environmental Management, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp.801-808, November 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9541-z

Authors: Baisner, Anette Jægerfeldt; Andersen, Jonas Lembcke; Findsen, Anders; Yde Granath, Simon Wilhelm; Madsen, Karin Ølgaard; Desholm, Mark

Abstract: An increased focus on renewable energy has led to the planning and construction of marine wind farms in Europe. Since several terrestrial studies indicate that raptors are especially susceptible to wind turbine related mortality, a Spatial Planning Tool is needed so that wind farms can be sited, in an optimal way, to minimize risk of collisions. Here we use measurements of body mass, wingspan and wing area of eight European raptor species, to calculate their Best Glide Ratio (BGR). The BGR was used to construct a linear equation, which, by the use of initial take-off altitude, could be used to calculate a Theoretical Maximum Distance (TMD) from the coast, attained by these soaring-gliding raptor species. If the nearest turbine, of future marine wind farms, is placed farther away from the coast than the estimated TMD, the collision risk between the turbine blades and these gliding raptors will be minimized. The tool was demonstrated in a case study at the Rødsand II wind farm in Denmark. Data on raptor migration altitude were gathered by radar. From the TMD attained by registered soaring-gliding raptors in the area, we concluded that the Rødsand II wind farm is not sited ideally, from an ornithological point of view, as potentially all three registered species are at risk of gliding through the area swept by the turbine rotor blades, and thereby at risk of colliding with the wind turbines.

Co-Managing the Arctic Ocean and Coasts: How to Support Subsistence Uses in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP)

Citation Information: Environmental Law Institute, Washington DC

Date: April 2011

Abstract: In July 2010, President Obama created a new national ocean policy for the U.S. oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. By executive order, he called for two actions that could affect management of ocean resources in the Arctic: (1) the development of an Arctic...

Mapping Human Uses of the Ocean: Informing Marine Spatial Planning through Participatory GIS

Citation Information:

National Marine Protected Areas Center
NOAA’s National Ocean Service
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
1305 East West Highway, N/ORM
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 713-3100 x136
Authors: Dr. Charles Wahle and Dr. Mimi D'Iorio
Date: November 2010
Abstract: Understanding human uses of the ocean is an essential component to successful marine resource planning and management. Unfortunately, spatial data on ocean uses are limited, as use patterns are often qualitative, subjective and difficult to capture consis...

Marine Spatial Planning Stakeholder Analysis

The NOAA Coastal Services Center recently contracted with Eastern Research Group (ERG) to conduct a marine spatial planning (MSP) stakeholder analysis. The purpose of this project was to help NOAA gain a better understanding of current stakeholder use, the level of stakeholder collaboration (on specific MSP projects as well as possible regional applications), and potential future use of MSP tools. The information in the resulting report was gleaned from literature reviews, Web searches, and interviews with stakeholders from across the NOAA coastal regions.

The report provides current information on the audiences involved in coastal and marine spatial planning. In addition, the material is organized by NOAA-defined regions, making information easily accessible for a specific state or area.

The report discusses several common themes, including

  • Governance
  • The scale of MSP
  • MSP drivers
  • Data resources
  • Stakeholder engagement and support
  • The future of MSP

Proceedings of a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop for the Western United States

Citation Information: Series # 2011-1152; U.S. Geological Survey; Reston, VA; Western Fisheries Research Center; 28 p.

Authors: Thorsteinson, Lyman; Hirsch, Derrick; Helweg, David; Dhanju, Amardeep; Barmenski, Joan; Ferrero, Richard

Quantifying the spatial ecology of wide-ranging marine species in the Gulf of California: implications for marine conservation planning

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28400. Epub 2011 Dec 6

Authors: Anadón, JD; D'Agrosa, C; Gondor, A; Gerber LR

Abstract: There is growing interest in systematic establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks and representative conservation sites. This movement toward networks of no-take zones requires that reserves are deliberately and adequately spaced for connectivity. Here, we test the network functionality of an ecoregional assessment configuration of marine conservation areas by evaluating the habitat protection and connectivity offered to wide-ranging fauna in the Gulf of California (GOC, Mexico). We first use expert opinion to identify representative species of wide-ranging fauna of the GOC. These include leopard grouper, hammerhead sharks, California brown pelicans and green sea turtles. Analyzing habitat models with both structural and functional connectivity indexes, our results indicate that the configuration includes large proportions of biologically important habitat for the four species considered (25-40%), particularly, the best quality habitats (46-57%). Our results also show that connectivity levels offered by the conservation area design for these four species may be similar to connectivity levels offered by the entire Gulf of California, thus indicating that connectivity offered by the areas may resemble natural connectivity. The selected focal species comprise different life histories among marine or marine-related vertebrates and are associated with those habitats holding the most biodiversity values (i.e. coastal habitats); our results thus suggest that the proposed configuration may function as a network for connectivity and may adequately represent the marine megafauna in the GOC, including the potential connectivity among habitat patches. This work highlights the range of approaches that can be used to quantify habitat protection and connectivity for wide-ranging marine species in marine reserve networks.

Effects of ship traffic on seabirds in offshore waters: implications for marine conservation and spatial planning

Citation Information: Ecol Appl. 2011 Jul;21(5):1851-60

Authors: Schwemmer, P; Mendel, B; Sonntag, N; Dierschke, V; Garthe, S

Abstract: Most anthropogenic influences on marine ecosystems, except for river- or terrestrial-borne pollution, involve some sort of vessel activity. Increasing anthropogenic activities mean that many countries are being forced to develop spatial planning schemes, while at the same time implementing conservation sites for sensitive species at sea. The effects of ship traffic on seabirds sensitive to human disturbance are currently too poorly understood to allow for the development of proper planning and conservation guidelines. We therefore used aerial surveys and experimental disturbance to elucidate the effects of passing ships on the distribution patterns, habitat loss, and species-specific flight reactions of birds, as well as the potential for habituation. Loons (Gavia spp.) showed clear avoidance of areas with high shipping intensity. Flush distances of four sea duck species differed significantly, with the longest distances recorded for Common Scoters (Melanitta nigra) and the shortest for Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima). Flush distance was positively related to flock size. Among all the sea duck species studied, the duration of temporary habitat loss was longest for Common Scoters. We found indications of habituation in sea ducks within areas of channeled traffic. However, it is questionable if habituation to free-ranging ships is likely to occur, because of their unpredictable nature. We therefore recommend that spatial planning should aim to channel ship traffic wherever possible to avoid further habitat fragmentation and to allow for habituation, at least in some species. Information on the effects of shipping on other seabird species and during different periods of the year is urgently needed, together with information on the effects of different types of boats, including recreational and fishing vessels.

New perspectives on sea use management: initial findings from European experience with marine spatial planning

Citation Information: J Environ Manage. 2009 Jan;90(1):77-88. Epub 2008 Sep 10

Authors: Douvere, F; Ehler, CN

Abstract: Increased development pressures on the marine environment and the potential for multiple use conflicts, arising as a result of the current expansion of offshore wind energy, fishing and aquaculture, dredging, mineral extraction, shipping, and the need to meet international and national commitments to biodiversity conservation, have led to increased interest in sea use planning with particular emphasis on marine spatial planning. Several European countries, on their own initiative or driven by the European Union's Marine Strategy and Maritime Policy, the Bergen Declaration of the North Sea Conference, and the EU Recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, have taken global leadership in implementing marine spatial planning. Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany in the North Sea, and the United Kingdom in the Irish Sea, have already completed preliminary sea use plans and zoning proposals for marine areas within their national jurisdictions. This paper discusses the nature and context of marine spatial planning, the international legal and policy framework, and the increasing need for marine spatial planning in Europe. In addition, the authors review briefly three marine spatial planning initiatives in the North Sea and conclude with some initial lessons learned from these experiences.

Comparison of marine spatial planning methods in Madagascar demonstrates value of alternative approaches

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e28969. Epub 2012 Feb 16

Authors: Allnutt TF, McClanahan TR, Andréfouët S, Baker M, Lagabrielle E, McClennen C, Rakotomanjaka AJ, Tianarisoa TF, Watson R, Kremen C.

Abstract: The Government of Madagascar plans to increase marine protected area coverage by over one million hectares. To assist this process, we compare four methods for marine spatial planning of Madagascar's west coast. Input data for each method was drawn from the same variables: fishing pressure, exposure to climate change, and biodiversity (habitats, species distributions, biological richness, and biodiversity value). The first method compares visual color classifications of primary variables, the second uses binary combinations of these variables to produce a categorical classification of management actions, the third is a target-based optimization using Marxan, and the fourth is conservation ranking with Zonation. We present results from each method, and compare the latter three approaches for spatial coverage, biodiversity representation, fishing cost and persistence probability. All results included large areas in the north, central, and southern parts of western Madagascar. Achieving 30% representation targets with Marxan required twice the fish catch loss than the categorical method. The categorical classification and Zonation do not consider targets for conservation features. However, when we reduced Marxan targets to 16.3%, matching the representation level of the "strict protection" class of the categorical result, the methods show similar catch losses. The management category portfolio has complete coverage, and presents several management recommendations including strict protection. Zonation produces rapid conservation rankings across large, diverse datasets. Marxan is useful for identifying strict protected areas that meet representation targets, and minimize exposure probabilities for conservation features at low economic cost. We show that methods based on Zonation and a simple combination of variables can produce results comparable to Marxan for species representation and catch losses, demonstrating the value of comparing alternative approaches during initial stages of the planning process. Choosing an appropriate approach ultimately depends on scientific and political factors including representation targets, likelihood of adoption, and persistence goals.

Marine biological valuation mapping of the Basque continental shelf (Bay of Biscay), within the context of marine spatial planning

Citation information: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 95, Issue 1, p. 186-198, November 2011; DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2011.08.031

Authors: Pascual, Marta; Borja, Angel; Eede, Sarah Vanden; Deneudt, Klaas; Vincx, Magda; Galparsoro, Ibon; Legorburu, Irati

Abstract: Marine Biological Valuation (BV) has increased in importance in recent years, due to the need to establish accurate maps of biodiversity value. However, there have been few exercises undertaken in Southern Europe, in putting a value on marine biodiversity whilst at the same time looking at several biological components. This paper presents the complete Biological Valuation Map (BVM) of the Basque continental shelf and estuaries, using the methodology developed for the Belgian Continental Shelf. It includes all available biological data (zooplankton, macroalgae, macrobenthos, demersal fish, seabirds and cetaceans), from 2003 to 2010. BVMs aim to compile all available biological and ecological information for a selected study area, allocating an integrated intrinsic biological value to the subzones within the study area. Here, the results highlight specific areas (such as Jaizkibel or Cap Breton Canyon), as having high or very high integrated BV, using all of the components. Furthermore, some biodiversity 'hotspots' have been identified, according to a specific ecosystem component (e.g. mid-parts of the Oka estuary, for macroalgae, and the Cap Breton Canyon, for cetaceans). Comparison with the results obtained from other European countries, and with previously high-importance delimited zones within the study area, showed similar spatial trends and patterns. Therefore, the objectives of this contribution are: (i) to analyse and establish a spatial ecological value map of the continental shelf of the Basque Country (southern Bay of Biscay), using present BV methods; (ii) to compare the results obtained to other European countries, and (iii) to explore the application of these results to the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requirements. This map can serve as a baseline for future MSP and can also be used for the determination of the environmental status, within the MSFD, for the qualitative descriptor 1 (biodiversity).

Interactive marine spatial planning: siting tidal energy arrays around the Mull of Kintyre

Citation Information: PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30031. Epub 2012 Jan 11

Authors: Alexander KA, Janssen R, Arciniegas G, O'Higgins TG, Eikelboom T, Wilding TA.

Abstract: The rapid development of the offshore renewable energy sector has led to an increased requirement for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and, increasingly, this is carried out in the context of the 'ecosystem approach' (EA) to management. We demonstrate a novel method to facilitate implementation of the EA. Using a real-time interactive mapping device (touch-table) and stakeholder workshops we gathered data and facilitated negotiation of spatial trade-offs at a potential site for tidal renewable energy off the Mull of Kintyre (Scotland). Conflicts between the interests of tidal energy developers and commercial and recreational users of the area were identified, and use preferences and concerns of stakeholders were highlighted. Social, cultural and spatial issues associated with conversion of common pool to private resource were also revealed. The method identified important gaps in existing spatial data and helped to fill these through interactive user inputs. The workshops developed a degree of consensus between conflicting users on the best areas for potential development suggesting that this approach should be adopted during MSP.

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