About the Project
Lessons Learned from
Recent Marine Protected Area Designations in the United States
The National Marine Protected Areas Center initiated a project to evaluate six recent marine protected area (MPA) planning processes. The goal of this project was to identify "lessons learned" that could improve ongoing and future planning processes.
Six MPA Designation Processes
The six MPA designation processes selected represented a range of governmental levels and geographic regions. They included:
Multi-State/Federal Process: Schuster Horseshoe Crab Reserve (Delaware Bay)
Federal/State Process: Channel Islands Marine Reserves (California)
Federal/Fishery Management Council Process: Gulf of Mexico Grouper Closures (Gulf of Mexico)
Federal/State/Local Process: San Juan County Bottomfish Recovery Zones (Washington)
Federal/State Process: Tortugas Ecological Reserve (Florida)
State Process: Marine Life Protection Act (MPLA): Phase I (California)
The first phase of the Lessons Learned project objectively documented the establishment processes. It included producing a timeline of events and identifying the various entities involved in each process. A report containing detailed case studies for five of the processes is available at http://www.mpa.gov/pdf/helpful-resources/mpalessons-learned.pdf.
The second phase of the project involved interviewing participants to get individuals' subjective perception of what worked and what did not for each process. Contractors conducted this second phase, selecting candidates to interview based on their unique experience with and perspective on one or more MPA planning processes. In addition to resource managers from involved agencies, a wide range of stakeholder groups, including commercial and recreational interests, environmental groups, and scientists were interviewed.
The final report, Lessons Learned from Recent Marine Protected Area Designations in the United States, summarizes strengths and weaknesses and provides recommendations for ongoing and future MPA planning efforts.
In 2003, the National Marine Protected Areas Center and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation provided financial support to the National Fisheries Conservation Center and the Marine Resources Assessment Group Americas, Inc. to bring impartiality to the interview phase of the project. The team included:
Brock Bernstein, National Fisheries Conservation Center
Suzanne Iudicello, National Fisheries Conservation Center
Charlie Stringer, Marine Resources Assessment Group Americas, Inc.
Heidi Lovett, Marine Resources Assessment Group Americas, Inc.
The National Marine Protected Areas Center would like to thank all the individuals who were interviewed for this project and who thoughtfully provided their perceptions on the processes.
Link to Report
Learned from Recent Marine Protected Area Designations in the United
Related Documents from the National Marine Protected Areas Center
These reports were developed by the National Marine Protected Areas Center to complement the Lessons Learned project.
Marine Protected Area Process Review: Case Studies of Five MPA Establishment Processes
Involving the Public: Legal Requirements for Public Participation