Freely-available Literature

Currently indexing 4107 freely-available titles

The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.

A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans

Ehler C. A Guide to Evaluating Marine Spatial Plans. Paris: UNESCO; 2014 p. 98.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This guide on performance monitoring and evaluation (evaluation) is intended for practitioners responsible for planning and managing marine areas. Practitioners are the managers and stakeholders who are responsible for designing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating marine management plans. While its focus is on the performance monitoring and evaluation of MSP, planners and managers should know how to incorporate monitoring and evaluation considerations into the MSP process from its very beginning, and not wait until a plan is completed before thinking about how to measure “success”. Effective performance monitoring and evaluation is only possible when management objectives and expected outcomes are written in a way that is measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively.

This guide builds on the general approach and structure of the previous UNESCO’s IOC guide, Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management (Ehler & Douvere 2009) available at: www.unesco-ioc-marinesp.be. Similar in organization to the first MSP guide, this one presents a logical sequence of eight steps to monitoring and evaluating the performance of management plans (and their related management actions) that are important outputs of any MSP process.

View the online Interactive Compendium to the guide here on OpenChannels at https://www.openchannels.org/msp-eval-guide.

User's Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes from Citizen Science

Phillips T, Ferguson M, Minarchek M, Porticella N, Bonney R. User's Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes from Citizen Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 2014 p. 58.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The User's Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes from Citizen Science was developed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology researchers for practitioners who want to evaluate learning outcomes from their citizen science projects. It includes a practical overview of evaluation techniques, tips, and best-practices for conducting evaluations, a glossary of terms, and an extensive set of templates and worksheets to help with evaluation planning and implementation.

Evaluating learning outcomes is a high priority for citizen science practitioners, but many find it to be challenging. We want this guide to make evaluation easy to understand - and easy to execute!

U.S. Mid Atlantic Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study

Anon. U.S. Mid Atlantic Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study. Surfrider Foundation, Point 97, The Nature Conservancy, Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute; 2014.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Coastal and ocean recreation provides significant economic and social benefits to coastal communities of the Mid-Atlantic, encompassing New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It is important to understand how and where people use the coast and ocean as a first step towards better management of the natural resources integral to coastal and ocean recreation.

To address this need, and to inform regional ocean planning efforts for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB), the Surfrider Foundation (Surfrider), in partnership with Point 97 (a company of Ecotrust), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Monmouth University's Urban Coast Institute (Monmouth) (jointly, the Team), in collaboration with MARCO, engaged 'non-consumptive&' recreational users such as divers, surfers, kayakers, beach goers, and wildlife viewers to carry out the Mid-Atlantic Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study (Study) in 2013-2014.

The Team used a web-based survey to collect data from respondents on recreational use patterns, trip expenditures, and demographics. The survey included a series of questions and an easy-to-use interactive mapping tool. Respondents marked places on maps where they recreated over the last 12 months. The Team then analyzed the resulting spatial data to develop maps indicating intensity of use for 16 recreational activities in the region.

To promote participation in the Study, the Team engaged coastal and ocean recreational stakeholders and regional planning partners like MARCO to collaboratively develop the survey instrument, deploy targeted outreach strategies, and review the resulting spatial data on coastal and ocean recreation use patterns.

The Team implemented a variety of outreach strategies designed to promote stakeholder engagement in all phases of the Study. Outreach efforts targeted non-consumptive coastal and ocean users and leveraged the collaboration of a broad set of recreational businesses, groups, and associations, as well as environmental organizations in the region. The Team's outreach also incorporated information about the regional ocean planning process and opportunities for public engagement.

In total, Mid-Atlantic respondents completed nearly 1,500 surveys resulting in over 22,000 unique data points. The data show that coastal and ocean recreation encompasses a popular and diverse group of activities in the Mid-Atlantic, resulting in major economic and social benefits to coastal communities. The average respondent who visited the Mid-Atlantic coast spent an average of $71.06 per trip.

The Team, in coordination with other relevant recreational use studies in the region, has made the data and information from the Study available on the MARCO Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/portal) and to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (http://www.boem.gov/Mid-Atlantic-Regional-Planning-Body), as it develops a Regional Ocean Action Plan for coastal and ocean uses in the Mid-Atlantic.

For the first time, regional scale maps showing coastal and ocean recreational use patterns are available to help planners and managers make better-informed decisions in consideration of maintaining and improving recreational uses and values. The Team expects this new baseline to serve as a credible first iteration, a foundation to be updated and improved as new information on coastal and ocean recreation becomes available.

An Economic Assessment of Policy Options To Reduce Agricultural Pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay

Ribaudo M, Savage J, Aillery M. An Economic Assessment of Policy Options To Reduce Agricultural Pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service; 2014 p. 73. Available from: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err166.aspx
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

In 2010, a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) was established for the Chesapeake Bay, defining the limits on emissions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment necessary to reverse declines in the Bay’s quality and associated biological resources. Agriculture is the largest single source of nutrients and sediment in the watershed. We use data on crop and animal agriculture in the watershed to assess the relative effectiveness of alternative policy approaches for achieving the nutrient and sediment reduction goals of the TMDL, ranging from voluntary financial incentives to regulations. The cost of achieving water quality goals depends heavily on which policy choices are selected and how they are implemented. We found that policies that provide incentives for water quality improvements are the most efficient, assuming necessary information on pollutant delivery is available for each field. Policies that directly encourage adoption of management systems that protect water quality (referred to as design-based) are the most practical, given the limited information that is generally available to farmers and resource agencies. Information on field characteristics can be used to target design-based policies to improve efficiency.

Cumulative Effects in Marine Ecosystems: Scientific Perspectives on its Challenges and Solutions

Murray CC, Mach ME, Martone RG. Cumulative Effects in Marine Ecosystems: Scientific Perspectives on its Challenges and Solutions. WWF-Canada and Center For Ocean Solutions; 2014 p. 60.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Accurately accounting for the cumulative effects of impacts, however, can be difficult. Human activities produce a range of stressors that may interact and have greater impacts than expected, compounding direct and indirect effects on individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. In addition, natural variability in ecosystem processes may affect the manifestation of resulting impacts. Assessment of cumulative effects on marine ecosystems requires extensive scientific research that directly tests the effects of multiple stressors; however, our knowledge of cumulative effects is largely based upon studies of single stressors on single ecological components that are combined to estimate the effect of multiple stressors. Therefore, advancing cumulative effects knowledge and assessments requires embracing the complexity, uncertainty, and natural variation in ecosystems and applying the best available science to evaluate and predict cumulative effects. In this review we discuss four components of cumulative effects science and application: (1) how cumulative effects manifest in ecosystems as a result of multiple human activities; (2) challenges in applying scientific knowledge in cumulative effects assessment, including defining spatial and temporal scales, baselines, reference points, indicators, and identifying significant changes in the face of uncertainty and natural environmental variability; (3) models and tools that have been developed to assess cumulative effects; and (4) priorities for science and management of cumulative effects. Conservation of marine ecosystems and support for sustainable development requires using primary research, models, and tools in an integrated, adaptive ecosystem-based framework to address cumulative effects.

Public Preferences for Marine Protected Areas Off the U.S. West Coast: The Significance of Restrictions and Size on Economic Value

Wallmo K, Kosaka R. Public Preferences for Marine Protected Areas Off the U.S. West Coast: The Significance of Restrictions and Size on Economic Value. Silver Spring, MD: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service; 2014 p. 96.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

As a non-market good, the economic value of an MPA is not revealed in market data or by household production behavior (e.g., travel costs used as the price of a fishing trip); therefore, values are typically estimated from data collected from in-person, telephone, mail, or internet surveys. This research employs a stated preference choice experiment survey of households in California, Oregon, and Washington to quantify public preferences and simulate a suite of different MPA designs and their associated values. The research pertains specifically to MPAs designated in U.S. federal waters (waters 3 to 200 miles from shore) off the coasts of California, Washington, and Oregon West Coast, hereafter referred to as west coast federal waters. All permanently protected marine areas located in west coast federal waters prohibit industrial uses such as mining, oil and gas extraction, and windmill/turbine construction.

The results may be useful in helping managers understand public preferences for MPAs, particularly as they relate to key, and often contested, issues including:

  • The effect of MPA size on public economic value
  • The effect of MPA use regime on public economic value
  • Size/use combinations for MPAs that maximize public values
  • Preference heterogeneity for MPAs

The remainder of the report is organized as follows: Section II describes the methods used in the research, including survey development and implementation and choice model theory and estimation. Section III presents results of the general questionnaire and respondent demographics. Section IV presents econometric model results and value estimates associated with MPAs of different size and use configurations. Section V provides a brief discussion of the results and conclusions and recommendations stemming from the research.

Fish and Benthic Communities of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: Science to Support Sanctuary Management

Clark R, Kracker LM, J. Taylor C, Buckel CA. Fish and Benthic Communities of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: Science to Support Sanctuary Management. Silver Spring, MD: NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science; 2014 p. 317.
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

This report is the culmination of three years of fish and seafloor (benthic) invertebrate community observations on the East and West Flower Garden Banks. It provides baseline information on key biological communities, and can be utilized to address resource management priorities in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary(FGBNMS). The benthic and fish community surveys were designed and implemented by a team of multi-disciplinary scientists using three complementary techniques:

  1. diver surveys, using recreational and technical scuba techniques, quantified benthic and fish communities on the coral reef at depths between 18-45 m / 59-150 ft;
  2. remotely operated vehicles (ROV) conducted video surveys at depths greater than 46 m / 150 ft; and
  3. fishery acoustics (sonar) surveyed fish in the water column across all habitat types and depths.

FGBNMS is one of the least impacted, thriving coral reef ecosystems in the western Atlantic and Caribbean region. It does, however, face numerous pressures that should be recognized and responded to through informed management actions. In April of 2012, NOAA published an updated management plan for the sanctuary, representing over five years of data analysis and public participation to ensure a sound strategy for conserving and protecting sanctuary resources for the future. During the management plan review process, input on potential resource protection and management issues was collected and summarized. This process identified direct and indirect impacts of fishing activities as a priority issue for management attention. Hook and line fishing (both commercial and recreational) has always been allowed within the sanctuary. However, to better understand this and other management issues, enhanced biogeographic data are needed to determine the most appropriate management actions needed to fulfill the sanctuary goals and objectives. The sanctuary Management Plan proposes a research strategy that includes characterizing FGBNMS to obtain comprehensive baseline information on fish and benthic communities prior to any management action. A second component of the strategy includes utilizing a fully-protected research area to compare to areas where fishing and other activities occur. The process of designing the research area will build upon prior successful efforts within other sanctuaries, such as Tortugas Ecological Reserve in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, as well as the information presented in this report.

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