National Ocean Council's Marine Planning Handbook

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The White House's National Ocean Council (now inactive thanks to our government's shutdown...) published the Marine Planning Handbook. It aims to "provide information and guidance to regions that choose to establish regional planning bodies and develop marine plans." It may be freely downloaded using the link above.

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-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager

Table of Contents

Journal Articles

Free: What Regional Ocean Planners Can Learn from U.S. Public Lands Management. SeaGrant Law & Policy Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, Summer 2013. Morgan Gopnik.

Typology and indicators of ecosystem services for marine spatial planning and management. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 130, 30 November 2013, Pages 135–145. Anne Böhnke-Henrichs, Corinne Baulcomb, Rebecca Koss, S. Salman Hussain, Rudolf S. de Groot.

Predicting overfishing and extinction threats in multispecies fisheries. PNAS October 1, 2013 vol. 110 no. 40 15943-15948. Matthew G. Burgess, Stephen Polasky, and David Tilman.

Free: Climate change and the performance of larval coral reef fishes: the interaction between temperature and food availability. Conserv Physiol (2013) 1 (1): cot024; DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cot024. Ian M. McLeod, Jodie L. Rummer, Timothy D. Clark, Geoffrey P. Jones, Mark I. McCormick, Amelia S. Wenger and Philip L. Munday.

Drawing lines at the sand: Evidence for functional vs. visual reef boundaries in temperate Marine Protected Areas. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 24 September 2013. E.V. Sheehan, S.L. Cousens, S.J. Nancollas, C. Stauss, J. Royle, M.J. Attrill.

Free: Marine biological valuation of the shallow Belgian coastal zone: a space-use conflict example within the context of marine spatial planning. Vanden Eede, S.; Laporta, L.; Deneudt, K.; Stienen, E.; Derous, S.; Degraer, S.; Vincx, M. (2013), in: Vanden Eede, S. (2013). Impact of beach nourishment on coastal ecosystems, with recommendations for coastal policy in Belgium = Impact van zandsuppleties op kustecosystemen met aanbevelingen voor het Belgische kustbeleid. pp. 119-141.

A global map of coastal recreation values: Results from a spatially explicit meta-analysis. Ecological Economics, Volume 86, February 2013, Pages 1–15. Andrea Ghermandi, Paulo A.L.D. Nunes.

Off-shore wind farm development: Present status and challenges. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 29, January 2014, Pages 780–792. Rehana Perveen, Nand Kishor, Soumya R. Mohanty.

Effects of Marine Protected Areas on Overfished Fishing Stocks with Multiple Stable States. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Available online 29 September 2013. Nao Takashina, Akihiko Mougi.

Integrated planning for land–sea ecosystem connectivity to protect coral reefs. Biological Conservation, Volume 165, September 2013, Pages 35–42. Azusa Makino, Maria Beger, Carissa J. Klein, Stacy D. Jupiter, Hugh P. Possingham.


Free: Assessment of shipping’s efficiency using satellite AIS data. UCL Energy Institute, March 2013. Tristan Smith, Eoin O’Keeffe, Lucy Aldous and Paolo AgnolucciTristan Smith, Eoin O’Keeffe, Lucy Aldous and Paolo Agnolucci.

Free: IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis - Summary for Policymakers. Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report; Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.

Free: Marine Planning Handbook. National Ocean Council, July 2013.

Free: Knowledge, Capacity, and Needs for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Marine Planning: Key Findings from a West Coast Assessment. Oregon State University, September 2013. Jenna Borberg, Oregon Sea Grant; Stephen Brandt, Oregon Sea; Grant John Stein, NOAA NWFSC and NOAA West; Timi Vann, NOAA West

What Regional Ocean Planners Can Learn from U.S. Public Lands Management

Launched with an Executive Order in 2009, the federal government has promoted marine spatial planning of U.S. ocean waters, to be carried out under the direction of nine Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs). To help the RPBs succeed in the delicate task of balancing economic and environmental goals while satisfying a wide range of ocean stakeholders, this Article looks at the equally complex, and frequently contentious, history of public lands management in the United States, finding striking similarities between the two settings and suggesting lessons regional planners can draw on for more effective implementation of marine spatial planning.

Typology and indicators of ecosystem services for marine spatial planning and management

The ecosystem services concept provides both an analytical and communicative tool to identify and quantify the link between human welfare and the environment, and thus to evaluate the ramifications of management interventions. Marine spatial planning (MSP) and Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) are a form of management intervention that has become increasingly popular and important globally. The ecosystem service concept is rarely applied in marine planning and management to date which we argue is due to the lack of a well-structured, systematic classification and assessment of marine ecosystem services. In this paper we not only develop such a typology but also provide guidance to select appropriate indicators for all relevant ecosystem services. We apply this marine-specific ecosystem service typology to MSP and EBM. We thus provide not only a novel theoretical construct but also show how the ecosystem services concept can be used in marine planning and management.

Predicting overfishing and extinction threats in multispecies fisheries

Threats to species from commercial fishing are rarely identified until species have suffered large population declines, by which time remedial actions can have severe economic consequences, such as closure of fisheries. Many of the species most threatened by fishing are caught in multispecies fisheries, which can remain profitable even as populations of some species collapse. Here we show for multispecies fisheries that the biological and socioeconomic conditions that would eventually cause species to be severely depleted or even driven extinct can be identified decades before those species experience high harvest rates or marked population declines. Because fishing effort imposes a common source of mortality on all species in a fishery, the long-term impact of a fishery on a species is predicted by measuring its loss rate relative to that of species that influence the fishery’s maximal effort. We tested our approach on eight Pacific tuna and billfish populations, four of which have been identified recently as in decline and threatened with overfishing. The severe depletion of all four populations could have been predicted in the 1950s, using our approach. Our results demonstrate that species threatened by human harvesting can be identified much earlier, providing time for adjustments in harvesting practices before consequences become severe and fishery closures or other socioeconomically disruptive interventions are required to protect species.

Climate change and the performance of larval coral reef fishes: the interaction between temperature and food availability

Climate-change models predict that tropical ocean temperatures will increase by 2–3°C this century and affect plankton communities that are food for marine fish larvae. Both temperature and food supply can influence development time, growth, and metabolism of marine fishes, particularly during larval stages. However, little is known of the relative importance and potential interacting effects of ocean warming and changes to food supply on the performance of larval fishes. We tested this for larvae of the coral reef anemonefish, Amphiprion percula, in an orthogonal experiment comprising three temperatures and three feeding schedules. Temperatures were chosen to represent present-day summer averages (29.2°C) and end-of-century climate change projections of +1.5°C (30.7°C) and +3°C (32.2°C). Feeding schedules were chosen to represent a reduction in access to food (fed daily, every 2 days, or every 3 days). Overall, larvae took longer to settle at higher temperatures and with less frequent feeding, and there was a significant interaction between these factors. Time to metamorphosis was fastest in the 30.7oC and high food availability treatment (10.5 ± 0.2 days) and slowest in the 32.2oC and low food availability treatment (15.6 ± 0.5 days; i.e. 50% faster). Fish from the lower feeding regimens had a lower body condition and decreased survivorship to metamorphosis. Routine oxygen consumption rates were highest for fish raised at 32.2°C and fed every third day (162 ± 107 mg O2  kg−1 h−1) and lowest for fish raised at 29.2°C and fed daily (122 ± 101 mg O2 kg−1 h−1; i.e. 35% lower). The elevated routine oxygen consumption rate, and therefore greater energy use at higher temperatures, may leave less energy available for growth and development, resulting in the longer time to metamorphosis. Overall, these results suggest that larval fishes will be severely impacted by climate-change scenarios that predict both elevated temperatures and reduced food supply.

Drawing lines at the sand: Evidence for functional vs. visual reef boundaries in temperate Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can either protect all seabed habitats within them or discrete features. If discrete features within the MPA are to be protected humans have to know where the boundaries are. In Lyme Bay, SW England a MPA excluded towed demersal fishing gear from 206 km2 to protect rocky reef habitats and the associated species. The site comprised a mosaic of sedimentary and reef habitats and so ‘non reef’ habitat also benefited from the MPA. Following 3 years protection, video data showed that sessile Reef Associated Species (RAS) had colonised sedimentary habitat indicating that ‘reef’ was present. This suggested that the functional extent of the reef was potentially greater than its visual boundary. Feature based MPA management may not adequately protect targeted features, whereas site based management allows for shifting baselines and will be more effective at delivering ecosystem goods and services.

Marine biological valuation of the shallow Belgian coastal zone: a space-use conflict example within the context of marine spatial planning

The Belgian coastal zone hosts a complex of space-use and resource-use activities with a myriad of pressures. Specifically at the beaches, predictions on sea-level rise, storms and flood risk from the North Sea have led to several big coastal defence projects. Management of sandy beaches is a multi-faceted and complex endeavor, where the interests of several stakeholders need to be combined.

In this paper, we used the marine biological valuation (BV) method in order to (1) analyse the spatial structure of the intertidal and shallow subtidal Belgian coastal zone; and (2) explore the applications of BV for an ecosystem-based approach to marine spatial planning of two space-use conflicts at the Belgian coast, being flood protection, by means of beach nourishment, and nature conservation.

The biological value was assessed with a focus on a detailed and integrated dataset (1995 – 2011), gathering all available ecological information on macrobenthos, epibenthos, hyperbenthos and birds. The 67 km Belgian coastline was divided into an across-shore intertidal and shallow subtidal subzone while the width of the along-shore subzones comprises 250 m for benthic components and wider distances of 3 km for the birds. The intrinsic biological value of each subzone was calculated using the BV method and the pertained score, ranging from very low to very high, was plotted accordingly in order to obtain a marine biological valuation map (BVM).

Following trends in BV along the Belgian coastline were detected: (1) a strong mosaic pattern of BV along the coastline; (2) a clear lack of (benthic) data at the eastern part of the Belgian coast; (3) a rather high biological value score for around 70 % of the shallow part of the subzones, compared with the intertidal part; (4) a high/very high biological values found in intertidal zones located immediately to the east of the harbours Nieuwpoort, Oostende and Zeebrugge.

A detailed analysis of protected areas and areas under coastal flood risk indicates that the use of BVMs is very promising in order to differentiate between several impact values. BV can therefore be used as a management tool by local decision makers and can allow for the integration of ‘natural/ecological values’ at an early stage of policy implementation.

A global map of coastal recreation values: Results from a spatially explicit meta-analysis

This paper examines the welfare dimension of the recreational services of coastal ecosystems. First, we construct a global database of primary valuation studies that focus on recreational benefits of coastal ecosystems. Second, the profile of each of the 253 individual observations is enriched with characteristics of the built coastal environment (accessibility, anthropogenic pressure, human development level), natural coastal environment (presence of protected area, ecosystem type, marine biodiversity), geo-climatic factors (temperature, precipitation), and sociopolitical context. We then propose a meta-analytical framework that is built upon a Geographic Information System (GIS) and allow for the exploration of the spatial dimension of the valued ecosystems, including the role of spatial heterogeneity of the selected meta-regression variables as well as the spatial profile of the transferred values. The empirical outcome results in the first global map of the values of coastal recreation, which may play a crucial role in identifying and ranking coastal area conservation priorities from a socio-economic perspective.

Off-shore wind farm development: Present status and challenges

Offshore wind farm (OWF) is an emerging technology in the wind energy conversion system. These wind resources are abundant, stronger, and are more consistent in terms of their availability than land-based wind resources. As a matter of fact significantly higher energy production is achieved due to larger wind turbine ratings and stronger wind profiles.

This paper highlights the present scenario and challenges in development of offshore wind power. The challenges and opportunities that exist in the development stages of an offshore wind farm project, from exploration to erection and installation of wind turbines, construction of platforms and laying of sea cables, up to maintenance and de-commissioning, involving important technical aspects are addressed. An application of high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission for integration of large scale offshore wind farm with onshore grid is attractive as compared to high voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission system. To make the offshore wind farm feasible, reliable and secure, the different aspects in its planning, design and operation are also reviewed in this paper.

Effects of Marine Protected Areas on Overfished Fishing Stocks with Multiple Stable States

Marine protected areas (MPAs) have attracted much attention as a tool for sustainable fisheries management, restoring depleted fisheries stocks and maintaining ecosystems. However, even with total exclusion of fishing effort, depleted stocks sometimes show little or no recovery over a long time period. Here, using a mathematical model, we show that multiple stable states may hold the key to understanding the tendency for fisheries stocks to recover because of MPAs. We find that MPAs can have either a positive effect or almost no effect on the recovery of depleted fishing stocks, depending on the fish migration patterns and the fishing policies. MPAs also reinforce ecological resilience, particularly for migratory species. In contrast to previous reports, our results show that MPAs have small or sometimes negative effects on the recovery of sedentary species. Unsuitable MPA planning might result in low effectiveness or even deterioration of the existing condition.

Integrated planning for land–sea ecosystem connectivity to protect coral reefs

Coral reefs are threatened by human activities both on the land and in the sea. However, standard approaches for prioritizing locations for marine and terrestrial reserves neglect to consider connections between ecosystems. We demonstrate an integrated approach for coral reef conservation with the objective of prioritizing marine reserves close to catchments with high forest cover in order to facilitate ecological processes that rely upon intact land–sea protected area connections and minimize negative impact of land-based runoff on coral reefs. Our aims are to (1) develop and apply simple models of connections between ecosystems that require little data and (2) incorporate different types of connectivity models into spatial conservation prioritization. We compared how, if at all, the locations and attributes (e.g., costs) of priorities differ from an approach that ignores connections. We analyzed spatial prioritization plans that allow for no connectivity, adjacent connectivity in the sea, symmetric and asymmetric land–sea connectivity, and the combination of adjacent connectivity in the sea and asymmetric land–sea connectivity. The overall reserve system costs were similar for all scenarios. We discovered that integrated planning delivered substantially different spatial priorities compared to the approach that ignored connections. Only 11–40% of sites that were high priority for conservation were similar between scenarios with and without connectivity. Many coral reefs that were a high priority when we considered adjacent connectivity in the sea and ignored land–sea connectivity were assigned to low priorities when symmetric land–sea connectivity was included, and vice versa. Our approach can be applied to incorporate connections between ecosystems.

Assessment of shipping’s efficiency using satellite AIS data

A detailed analysis of technical and operational efficiency and carbon emissions across all international shipping vessels, using global satellite Automatic Identification System data on ship movement.

International shipping is commonly considered the most efficient and lowest-carbon transport mode, and is also seen as having significant potential remaining to reduce emissions still further. This assessment, performed by researchers at the University College London as part of the International Council on Clean Transportation’s World Shipping Efficiency Indices project, seeks to quantify just how efficient ships are as they move goods around the world to better understand how some ship owners are achieving lower climate impacts. It is the first study to utilize global satellite Automatic Identification System (AIS) data on ship movement to assess the detailed variation in technical and operational efficiency and carbon emissions across all international shipping vessels.

The analysis indicates that new ships with high technical efficiency—as promoted by the Energy Efficiency Design Index standards—is translating to more efficient vessels in real-world operating conditions. Yet there is wide variation in ships’ operational efficiency and carbon emissions, driven primarily by factors like ship speed. Including technical and operational differences, the top 5% most efficient cargo-hauling vessels achieve greater than a 50% reduction in carbon intensity (in grams of CO2 emitted per ton-mile) from the industry average, although the results differ somewhat for each of the nine analyzed ship types (e.g., container, tanker, dry bulk, gas). The assessment also reports more generally on the strengths and limitations of using satellite ship movement data for future work.

IPCC Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis - Summary for Policymakers

The Working Group I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) considers new evidence of climate change based on many independent scientific analyses from observations of the climate system, paleoclimate archives, theoretical studies of climate processes and simulations using climate models. It builds upon the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), and incorporates subsequent new findings of research. As a component of the fifth assessment cycle, the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) is an important basis for information on changing weather and climate extremes.

This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) follows the structure of the Working Group I report. The narrative is supported by a series of overarching highlighted conclusions which, taken together, provide a concise summary. Main sections are introduced with a brief paragraph in italics which outlines the methodological basis of the assessment.

The degree of certainty in key findings in this assessment is based on the author teams’ evaluations of underlying scientific understanding and is expressed as a qualitative level of confidence (from very low to very high) and, when possible, probabilistically with a quantified likelihood (from exceptionally unlikely to virtually certain). Confidence in the validity of a finding is based on the type, amount, quality, and consistency of evidence (e.g., data, mechanistic understanding, theory, models, expert judgment) and the degree of agreement1. Probabilistic estimates of quantified measures of uncertainty in a finding are based on statistical analysis of observations or model results, or both, and expert judgment2. Where appropriate, findings are also formulated as statements of fact without using uncertainty qualifiers. (See Chapter 1 and Box TS.1 for more details about the specific language the IPCC uses to communicate uncertainty)

The basis for substantive paragraphs in this Summary for Policymakers can be found in the chapter sections of the underlying report and in the Technical Summary. These references are given in curly brackets.

Marine Planning Handbook

The purpose of this Handbook is to provide information and guidance to regions that choose to establish regional planning bodies and develop marine plans. State, tribal, and Fishery Management Council participation on regional planning bodies is voluntary.

Regions that develop marine plans will define what to address and how they do so, but some components of planning–such as providing opportunities for public input–are common to all regions. The common planning elements outlined here provide guidance on a nationally consistent but regionally flexible approach to a planning process that addresses regional priorities. The Handbook provides an outline of these common practices to guide regions as they develop marine plans that work best for them. It clearly identifies specific kinds of information or actions that are necessary to ensure regions that develop marine plans do so through a transparent, participatory, science-based process.

The Handbook supplements the discussion of marine planning in the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. It is based on the extensive public and stakeholder input specific to marine planning that was received during public review of those documents. The Handbook provides more specific information and guidance on regional planning bodies, regional participation, and marine plans. The Handbook will be periodically updated to reflect lessons learned. Nothing in this document creates private rights of action or other enforceable legal rights.

Knowledge, Capacity, and Needs for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Marine Planning: Key Findings from a West Coast Assessment

In response to the many existing and emerging demands on coastal and ocean resources, President Obama established by Executive Order the National Ocean Policy (NOP) in 2010, identifying marine spatial planning (MSP) as a mechanism to reduce conflicts and improve management. On the west coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was designated as a federal co-lead for implementation. NOAA’s Western Regional Collaboration Team (NOAA West), a cross-cutting line office team, and the west coast Sea Grant programs initiated assessment of NOAA’s knowledge, capacity, and needs related to MSP through focus groups and a survey. Through nine focus-group meetings held in California, Oregon, and Washington from April to June 2012, 90 NOAA Line Office and Extended Family (defined as entities that receive base funding from NOAA) employees discussed key elements of successful stakeholder engagement, and voiced challenges posed by MSP. The subsequent Web-based survey conducted April 2013 more broadly evaluated the west coast NOAA work force (N=238) and provided insights into employees’ knowledge of and involvement in MSP, existing and preferred methods for receiving information, and gaps and challenges associated with stakeholder engagement, data sharing, and tools.