we actually live on the north coast or elsewhere, the recent challenges
presented by the tsunami weigh heavily in the hearts and prayers of all
involved in this process. I am certain the same spirit of cooperation
and determination in our process that produced just one set of
geographical boundaries, will also bring the resources for a speedy
recovery to those north coast communities affected by this event.
This final issue of North Coast News marks the completion of the marine
protected area planning process for the Marine Life Protection Act’s
open coast study regions. This tremendous accomplishment would not have
been possible without the dedication of each of you – the stakeholders
and members of the public who persevered through the trials and
tribulations to arrive at this moment of reflection and accomplishment.
As I reflect back on last month’s joint California Fish and Game
Commission and MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting, the collective tone
of respect and recognition of the unique characteristics of the north
coast illustrates the incredible progress we all made together. This
journey has led people of various backgrounds and experiences to unite
and establish new relationships, paving the way toward building a better
understanding of the social fabric that makes California the special
place it is. I am extremely honored to have been part of the MLPA
Initiative and to have worked closely with all of you to make our
stakeholder-based approach a powerful model for other national and
worldwide environmental decision-making processes.
I look forward to our paths crossing throughout 2011 and beyond.
~Ken Wiseman, Executive Director
California Fish and Game Commission Special Meeting with the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force
February 2, 2011 – Meeting Agenda and Materials
The California Fish and Game Commission held a special meeting with the
MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) on February 2, 2011 in Sacramento.
Recently appointed Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird opened the
joint meeting by commending the north coast community and the BRTF for
their hard work and the regional stakeholders at their success in
arriving at a single, unified MPA proposal. Secretary Laird shared that
he had requested his staff work with MLPA Initiative staff and others to
identify an administrative process that honors and accommodates
traditional tribal gathering while reflecting the stakeholders’ intent
in the unified proposal.
Throughout the day, commissioners received information from the MLPA
Master Plan Science Advisory Team, California Department of Fish and
Game (DFG), California State Parks, MLPA Initiative staff, BRTF members,
MLPA North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group members and members of the
public. At the end of the meeting, the commission unanimously supported
the guidance provided by Secretary Laird to his staff and directed that a
revised MPA proposal be developed that could accommodate traditional,
non-commercial tribal gathering. Additionally, staff was requested to
address in this MPA proposal, to the extent possible, the shortcomings
identified in the DFG feasibility analysis. Progress on these efforts
will be reported to the commission at its April meeting, at which time
it may choose to identify a ”proposed project” to initiate the
regulatory and environmental review processes.
What’s next for the north coast study region?
Since the joint meeting, Secretary Laird’s staff has been working with
staff and attorneys from DFG, California State Parks, the California
Attorney General’s office, the MLPA Initiative and a number of the north
coast tribes to identify a potential administrative solution to
allowing traditional tribal gathering within marine protected areas.
Those discussions are ongoing and an update is expected at the
commission’s April meeting.
Sometime in the coming months, the commission is expected to
select a “proposed project” from one of the MPA proposals under
consideration. This will allow staff to initiate the regulatory process
under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the environmental
review process under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
As required by the APA, the commission will hold at least two
hearings to receive public comment on the proposed MPA regulations in
the north coast to help inform a final decision; these hearings are
anticipated to take place in 2011. Members of the public are also
invited to provide general comments via the following:
Fax: (916) 653-5040
Mail: California Fish and Game Commission
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090
There will also be an opportunity for members of the public to
comment on the draft environmental impact report developed under CEQA
that is expected to be released for public review in 2011. For more
information about participating in the rulemaking process, please visit www.fgc.ca.gov/public/information/participate.aspx.
Information about the commission meeting schedule, draft agendas and
proposed regulations can be found on the commission website at www.fgc.ca.gov.
What’s next for the MLPA Initiative?
The north coast study region marks the completion of the MPA
planning processes for the MLPA’s open coast study regions. Members of
the I-Team have repeatedly commented on the strong sense of community
they experienced in the north coast study region and how much they will
miss working with everyone; sincere thanks to the regional stakeholders
and members of the public who actively contributed to the MPA planning
The San Francisco Bay Study Region
(waters within San Francisco Bay, from the Golden Gate Bridge northeast
to the Carquinez Bridge) is the fifth and final study region for
consideration under MLPA. Currently, an options report is being
developed that will consider the study region setting for a potential
MPA planning process, including the socioeconomic and jurisdictional
settings, existing planning and restoration efforts, overlap with
current projects, informational needs of the community and anticipated
resources needed for implementing a planning process. The options report
will be submitted to the secretary for natural resources and the
director of DFG in spring 2011. The report will also be shared with
other policy makers, members of the public and potential funders who may
have an interest in implementing the MLPA in the San Francisco Bay
In the coming months, the MLPA website and list server will continue to
provide the public with information about MLPA activities, including
commission announcements of dates or documents for the north coast
regulatory and environmental review processes.