busy summer it has been! I am delighted to report more than 275 people
attended five open houses held throughout the MLPA North Coast Study
Region on July 6, 7, and 8. These open houses provided the public an
opportunity to review and comment on the four Round 2 NCRSG draft MPA
proposals, resulting in more than 120 comments, suggestions and ideas.
This valuable input was provided to the blue ribbon task force and the
north coast regional stakeholder group to help inform the third and
final round of MPA proposal development. Like all comments submitted
throughout the planning process, comments made on the Round 2 draft MPA
proposals are accessible online (a summary of public comments is available as well as a compilation of all the public comments
submitted through July 19). I encourage members of the public to review
the feedback provided by your fellow north coast residents.
Also in July, the science advisory team completed
its scientific evaluations of the Round 2 draft MPA proposals and
presented its findings to the blue ribbon task force. The task force provided guidance for the development of Round 3 proposals,
and the members of the regional stakeholder group began to put this
guidance into practice as they started to develop their final MPA
proposal(s) at their late July meeting.
In addition to all of our meetings, the MLPA
Initiative has made some great strides in improving online access to
materials and information. Launched in May, the new “Key Resources” page
provides a one-stop place to find key documents and resources such as
responses to science questions, policy documents, and MLPA 101
materials. Also, check out our new online search engine, which offers an easy way to access meeting documents quickly.
While these past few months have certainly had their fair
share of challenges, I am routinely impressed by the tight bonds the
north coast communities share and the mutual respect, compassion and
understanding for all perspectives and voices. I thank members of the
public in advance of our upcoming meetings in August and beyond, for
continuing the theme of respect and consideration as we move into the
final stages of the planning process.
~Ken Wiseman, Executive Director
Blue Ribbon Task Force
July 21-22, 2010 – Meeting Agenda and Materials
The MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) held its seventh meeting on
July 21-22 in Fort Bragg. During this meeting, the task force received
all four MLPA North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group (NCRSG) Round 2
draft marine protected area (MPA) proposals, as well as draft
recommendations for special closures. The task force also received
evaluations of NCRSG draft MPA proposals and special closures from the
MLPA Master Plan Science Advisory Team (SAT), California Department of
Fish and Game (DFG), California Department of Parks and Recreation
(California State Parks) and MLPA Initiative staff.
During this meeting, the task force discussed and approved
additional guidance to the NCRSG regarding developing Round 3 MPA
proposals. Key elements of the Round 3 process guidance includes:
The NCRSG will work primarily in a full group setting toward developing
a cross-interest proposal that meets the minimum science guidelines to
the extent possible, with a specific focus on addressing gaps in the
Round 2 draft MPA proposals, such as habitat replication and MPA
the NCRSG cannot come to agreement on a single proposal, it should work
to identify key geographies where the group cannot come to agreement on
a single MPA design and create multiple proposals to address those
differences. All NCRSG members should be able to live with at least one
Round 3 MPA proposal.
increase information available to the BRTF, MPAs with proposed uses
intended to accommodate tribal uses will be evaluated and reported for
habitat replication, MPA size and MPA spacing as follows:
- Proposed allowed uses and methods of take will be assigned a level of protection (LOP) consistent with the SAT’s protocol.
MPAs that are intended to be part of the backbone of an MPA proposal,
but with an LOP below moderate-high only to accommodate tribal uses,
will first be reported according to SAT evaluation methods (not included
if LOP is less than moderate-high) and then in a supplementary
evaluation be reported with all MPAs at or above moderate-high LOP.
BRTF’s next meeting will be held on October 25-27 in Fortuna where it
will receive the final NCRSG MPA proposal(s) and evaluations and will
develop recommendations to deliver to the California Fish and Game
Science Advisory Team
June 29-30, 2010 – Meeting Agenda and Materials
The seventh meeting of the MLPA Master Plan Science Advisory Team
(SAT) took place in Eureka on June 29-30. During the meeting, SAT
members discussed and approved all evaluation results of the Round 2 draft MPA proposals,
pending minor edits to the bioeconomic modeling evaluation results.
Additionally, SAT members approved responses to science questions, which
were forwarded to the BRTF and NCRSG.
July 28, 2010 – Meeting Agenda and Materials
On July 28, 2010, the eighth meeting of the SAT for the MLPA North
Coast Study Region (NCSR) was held via teleconference and webinar.
During the meeting, SAT members approved three documents:
The next SAT
meeting will be October 13-14, 2010 in Eureka when the science
evaluations of the Round 3 draft MPA proposal(s) will be reviewed.
North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group
July 29-30, 2010 – Meeting Agenda and Materials
The fifth meeting of the MLPA North Coast
Regional Stakeholder Group (NCRSG) was held on July 29-30 in Fort Bragg.
During this meeting, the NCRSG received a number of presentations,
- Guidance for Round 3 process design from the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force and MLPA Initiative staff;
- Overview presentations of Round 2 draft marine protected area (MPA) proposals and draft proposed special closures; and
results of Round 2 draft MPA proposals from the MLPA Master Plan
Science Advisory Team (SAT), California Department of Fish and Game
(DFG), California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) and
MLPA Initiative staff.
NCRSG began developing its Round 3 MPA proposal(s) as a full group and
specifically identified potential MPA options for homework groups to
build from during their efforts between the NCRSG’s July and August
meetings. The NCRSG selected its Round 3 co-leads: Brandi Easter, Zack
Larson, Bill Lemos, Jennifer Savage, Tom Trumper, and Adam Wagschal.
Four homework groups (southern bioregion, northern bioregion, estuaries,
and special closures) were created and participants were identified to
continue developing ideas to be incorporated into the Round 3 MPA
The next NCRSG meeting will take place August 30-31, 2010 in Fortuna
to develop the Round 3 NCRSG MPA proposal(s) to be forwarded to the
BRTF for consideration.
All meetings are open to the public and
simultaneously webcast on the day of the meeting (field trips not
included). Meeting details are available on the MLPA website. Open houses, workshops and work sessions are generally not videotaped or webcast. Click here to learn more about NCRSG work sessions.
the extent possible, public participation locations are also set up in
at least one other city within the study region (Crescent City, Eureka
and/or Fort Bragg) to provide members of the public with a stable
Internet connection for the webcast and the opportunity to provide
comments during the public comment period(s).
Meeting agendas are posted to the MLPA website at
least one week in advance of the meeting. Meeting materials are posted
as soon as they become available. In addition to the simultaneous
webcast of meetings, the video and audio archives are posted online within two days of each meeting.
Monday, August 30 – Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30 at 9:00 a.m.
Tuesday, August 31 at 8:00 a.m.
Regional Stakeholder Group
River Lodge Conference Center
1800 Riverwalk Drive
Fortuna, CA 95540
single public comment period will be held, beginning on Monday, August
30 at approximately 4:30 p.m. The comment period will recess and resume
at approximately 11:00 a.m. the following morning for approximately one
hour. Members of the public will have the opportunity to speak at one of
the identified time periods; to be most effective for stakeholder group
discussions, it is suggested that comments be made on Monday, August
30. Click here for “Guidelines for Providing Public Comment”.
Thursday, September 1, 2010
Regional Stakeholder Group Work Session*
River Lodge Conference Center
1800 Riverwalk Drive
Fortuna, CA 95540
Wednesday, October 13 – Thursday, October 14, 2010
Science Advisory Team
Red Lion Hotel
1929 Fourth Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Monday, October 25 – Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Blue Ribbon Task Force (with the North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group)
River Lodge Conference Center
1800 Riverwalk Drive
Fortuna, CA 95540
* Work Sessions:
Work sessions provide NCRSG members with focused, face-to-face
opportunities to pursue their charge of developing alternative MPA
proposals. NCRSG work sessions are not formal public meetings and are
not videotaped or webcast. All work sessions are open to members of the
public, who may attend as observers; while there is no formal public
comment period, there are informal opportunities for members of the
public to share their perspectives with NCRSG members and MLPA
Initiative staff. Accredited media interested in covering an NCRSG work
session are asked to contact the MLPA Initiative media relations team prior to the session.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Shelter Cove Fire Station Meeting Hall
9126 Shelter Cove Road
3:00 - 4:30 PM
The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative invites the Shelter
Cove community and others to attend an informational presentation
designed to orient interested members of the public to the MLPA North
Coast Study Region marine protected area planning process. MLPA
Initiative staff will invite questions and solicit input on the draft
MPA proposals. For more information contact Kelly Sayce by email or by phone at (707) 832-4088.
How does the MLPA differ from fisheries management regulations current in place in the north coast study region?
MPAs established under the MLPA are intended to complement
existing fishing regulations and are not intended to replace existing
or future regulations. MPAs are focused on ecosystems, rather than
individual species, and are designed to allow both fished and unfished
species to exist in a more natural setting.
The Marine Life Management Act (MLMA)
is California’s primary fishery management tool. The MLMA acknowledges
that other conservation and management programs, such as those being
developed under the MLPA, help facilitate long-term protection of
fishery resources. An important difference, however, is that habitat
protection under the MLMA is intended to advance the "primary fishery
management goal" of sustainability, while protected areas established
under the MLPA are intended to address broader, ecosystem-based
objectives that are not limited to managing fisheries. Some goals of the
MLPA simply cannot be achieved with traditional fisheries management.
What is the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
rationale for the inclusion of Stone Lagoon in the MLPA North Coast
Study Region (NCSR)?
Based on criteria determined by DFG,
Stone Lagoon is included in the NCSR. The determination to include
Stone Lagoon was based on the consideration of a series of data sources,
including detailed accounts of natural breaching events, documented
saltwater fish species, and reported water quality measurements. Key
Lagoon, fed primarily by one perennial stream (McDonald Creek),
breaches naturally and is therefore tidally influenced, at least
periodically. Breaching occurs every several years from either the
seaward or the lagoon side and, upon breaching, the water level in the
lagoon typically reaches near sea level within a day or so. The breach
site can quickly close or remain open for months, depending on the level
of water exchange.
saltwater fish species have been reported from Stone Lagoon, such as
Pacific herring, Pacific staghorn sculpin, tidewater goby, bay pipefish,
tubesnout, night smelt, topsmelt, cabezon, surfperches, starry
flounder, and sandsole.
A detailed explanation for the method used to determine the NCSR boundary can be found in section 3.1.3 of the Regional Profile of the North Coast Study Region (Alder Creek to the California-Oregon Border); this method is consistent with how boundaries were determined for previous MLPA study regions.
How does the California Fish
and Game Commission’s recent decision to revise Stewarts Point State
marine Reserve in the MLPA North Central Coast Study Region potentially
affect proposed placement of north coast MPAs?
On June 24, 2010, the California Fish and Game Commission (F&GC)
reviewed a proposal to change a portion of Stewarts Point State Marine
Reserve (in the north central coast study region) to allow for certain
recreational activities, thereby allowing traditional tribal gathering
to continue. The F&GC unanimously approved reclassifying a portion
of Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve as a state marine conservation
area that would extend 1000 feet offshore from the northern boundary of
the reserve to just below Rocky Point, approximately four miles south.
This change amended the new MPA regulations that went into effect in the region on May 1, 2010 as well as the replication of beach habitat in the north central coast.
The sixth goal of the MLPA states California’s MPAs
should be designed as a statewide network. Habitats protected in MPAs in
other study regions can help to guide regional stakeholders in the
placement of and rationale for MPAs in the north coast study region. As a
result of the F&GC’s change to Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve
in the north central coast, the reserve no longer includes sufficient
beach length to constitute a replicate of beach habitat (see the north central coast evaluation methods document
for a description of replication and how it helps to achieve the goals
of the MLPA). The next replicate of beach habitat to the south is
located at Bodega Head State Marine Reserve in the north central coast,
approximately 58 miles south of Alder Creek, the border between the
north coast and north central coast study regions. This change in the
configuration of replicated habitats in the north central coast study
region challenges the MLPA North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group
(NCRSG) to consider placing an MPA closer to the border between the
study regions to create a replicate for beaches.
Information about the F&GC’s action and the resulting
change in beach habitat replication was presented by the SAT to the
NCRSG in July for consideration. MLPA Initiative staff advised the NCRSG
to consider the information and follow BRTF guidance to strive to meet
the SAT guidelines. However, recognizing that this change took place at
the beginning of the final round of MPA proposal development and that
the NCRSG may choose not to create a replicate for beaches, NCRSG
members were asked to explain their rationale for not designing MPAs to
include a replicate for beaches in the southern bioregion of the north
coast study region.
How do the MPA size and spacing
guidelines described in the California Marine Life Protection Act Master
Plan for Marine Protected Areas apply to estuaries?
Estuarine habitats, including estuarine waters, eelgrass,
coastal marsh, and tidal flats, are among the key habitats identified in
the master plan
and thus are subject to the spacing guidelines applied to all key
habitats. In past study regions, estuarine habitats were unevenly
distributed or poorly mapped, which reduced the utility of estuarine
spacing evaluations; however, spacing was assessed for estuarine
habitats in the north central coast.
In the north coast study region estuarine habitats, with
the exception of tidal flats, are generally well mapped and are
relatively evenly distributed across the study region. Although gaps
between adjacent estuaries in the north coast do not exceed the spacing
guideline of 62 miles, eelgrass and coastal marsh habitats are less
evenly distributed throughout the study region with natural gaps that
exceed the spacing guidelines. During Round 1 of MPA proposal
development, SAT evaluations were completed for estuarine habitat
representation, replication and size. Noting the number of estuaries in
the north coast study region, SAT members agreed during their March
16-17, 2010 meeting that an evaluation for spacing also should be
conducted for rounds 2 and 3. Round 2 evaluations were conducted for
estuarine habitat representation and replication, as well as MPA size
and spacing, consistent with the evaluation methods; this evaluation
contributed new information to inform the north coast MPA planning
The NCRSG has been provided the estuarine evaluation
information to help inform Round 3 discussions. The SAT will continue
evaluations of estuarine habitats, including MPA spacing, to provide
information for planning. MLPA Initiative staff advised the NCRSG to
consider the information and follow BRTF guidance to strive to meet the
SAT guidelines. However, recognizing that this information was presented
to the NCRSG at the beginning of the final round of MPA proposal
development and that the NCRSG may not meet the SAT guidelines for
estuarine habitats,, NCRSG members were asked to explain their rationale
for why spacing guidelines were not met for estuarine habitats.
How do I use the MLPA Initiative website’s document search engine?
Did you know you can search for any MLPA Initiative
meeting document through our new document search engine? Here are some
steps to help you find the information you’re searching for in a quick
and easy way:
- When you click on this link you are taken to this page:
can then enter in keywords, such as "public comment", and hit "search".
You can also choose a "subcategory" so the search only targets a
specific MLPA Initiative meeting type.
Once the search has populated the list of potential documents, you can
sort by "author", "subject" or "published" to be sure you get the
document you're looking for!
The success of
the MLPA largely depends on the continued involvement of the public.
There are a number of ways that members of the public can participate in
Have you contacted your regional stakeholder group members?
Share your questions and concerns with the MLPA North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group (NCRSG) members.
Composed of your local representatives, the NCRSG is charged with
drafting marine protected area (MPA) recommendations for the north coast
segment of California’s statewide MPA network. Contact an NCRSG member
today and ensure your voice is included in the MPA planning process.
Providing feedback is one of the most
important ways to get involved in the MLPA Initiative. Public comment
provided at meetings should be concise and focused on specific ideas or
suggestions (click here
for suggested guidelines for providing public comment). While the time
available for verbal comments at meetings is usually limited, there is
no limit on the length of comments submitted in writing. All written
comments can be submitted via email, mail or fax:
Mail: Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
c/o California Natural Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
written comments are compiled on a weekly basis and distributed to the
I-Team and MLPA Initiative groups (BRTF, NCRSG and SAT as appropriate).
Please do not send comments to SAT or BRTF members directly.
Specific opportunities to provide input include:
Spread the word
- Circulate North Coast News
to help ensure others in your community are aware of the MLPA
Initiative, upcoming meetings and opportunities for public involvement
you are a leader in your community and/or have access to a large number
of constituents, become a “Key Communicator.” Contact the Public
Outreach and Education Team via email or call (707) 832-4088 to learn more.