More about the Marine Protected Areas Inventory
The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Inventory is a joint collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of the Interior. Its purpose is to gather and make publicly available comprehensive information on place-based marine conservation efforts under U.S. federal, state, territorial, local, and tribal jurisdiction. This unique comprehensive inventory of federal, state, and territorial MPA sites provides governments and stakeholders with access to information to make better decisions about the current and future use of place-based conservation. The information will also be used to inform the development of the national system of marine protected areas as required by Executive Order 13158.
The term "marine protected areas" is defined in Executive Order 13158 as "any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by Federal, State, territorial, tribal, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein." For more detail on key terms within this definition, click here.
The Marine Protected Areas Inventory Database and Data Collection Process
The inventory contains a range of information on each marine protected area (MPA) established or managed by federal, state, or territorial agencies or programs. For each site, it includes the following information: Site Name, Region, Level of Government, Level of Protection, Permanence, Constancy, Scale of Protection, Conservation Focus, Primary Conservation Focus, Fishing Restrictions, and Area.
The MPA Inventory is based on the Marine Managed Areas (MMA) Inventory, which was active from 2001-2007. MMAs are a more inclusive category of place-based management than MPAs. The MPA Center decided to adopt this more inclusive approach at the start of the inventory process because the criteria for MPAs were still in the process of being established through a public process. With that process now coming to a close, the draft definition of "MPA" used in the Revised Draft Framework for Establishing a National System of Marine Protected Areas is being used as the criteria for the MPA Inventory. The MMA Inventory has now been archived; contact email@example.com if you need additional information.
Status of the Inventory
Information in the Inventory is current as of December 2007. Data were collected from most federal, state, and territorial agencies and programs. For states that chose not to participate in the inventory, the MPA Center collected the best publicly available information. All information has been quality checked by the MPA Center to ensure consistent application of definitions. The MPA Center will update the inventory annually, and welcomes corrections or additional information. For questions or comments about the MPA Inventory, please write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of the MPA Inventory
The MPA Inventory is the only such comprehensive listing of these diverse sites available in the nation. It provides baseline information that will contribute to the development of the national system of MPAs as defined in the Executive Order. The MPA Inventory also serves as a valuable resource for agencies, managers, scientists, non-governmental organizations, and the interested public to better understand numerous characteristics about these sites, such as management capabilities, resources protected, and evaluation processes. It also helps these groups and individuals make better, more informed decisions about current and future management of our nation's marine resources.
Other benefits of the MPA Inventory:
- Increases information exchange
- Aids in natural and cultural resource management decisions
- Provides strong analytical assistance to resource managers, stakeholders, and academia
- Provides a consistent and accessible information base
- Promotes a better understanding of the distribution, condition, and effectiveness of existing MPAs
- Increases awareness of MPA sites at natural, regional, and local levels
Applications of the MPA Inventory
The MPA Inventory is a powerful tool for analyzing the patterns of marine protected areas in the U.S. For sample maps, reports, and analytical products that utilize the MPA Inventory, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Explore the MPA Inventory
Public Input and For More Information
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