WCMAC Chairperson and Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee Seat
Garrett recently joined The Nature Conservancy as the Washington Coast Conservation Coordinator and was appointed to the Grays Harbor County Marine Resource Committee (GHC MRC). For the decade prior he worked for the Grays Harbor County Division of Environmental Health, which included being the staff coordinator for the GHC MRC since its creation in 2009. Garrett strives to build strong working relationships throughout the coastal communities. He also serves as the WCMAC representative on the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC).
Garrett grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and lives in Montesano with his awesome wife and four, hopefully awesome, kids.
- What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
This may very well be the key question of this planning process. My short answer would be that it is a process that gives communities the tools to apply the best available science and data to appropriately manage the human and environmental needs and uses of the marine areas. However, it needs an answer longer than that to be successful and I think long answers would notably vary amongst those engaged in Washington’s MSP process. A quick internet search of the question reinforces that assumption. Wikipedia may be the first result, but Google came up with nearly 2,000,000 possible answers including The White House and the European Commission. This may be the ultimate challenge of this planning process – that those involved appreciate the variety of perspectives on the process, goals and plan while still being able to find enough agreement to be successful.
- How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
One of my first tasks as staff for the GHC MRC was to help facilitate a forum on marine spatial planning in Aberdeen. The process has trudged along since and the MRCs have stayed involved with the goal of ensuring that the plan can have a positive impact on the communities of the coast. This involvement has included workshops, summits, The Big Chew, WCMAC 1 and WCMAC 2.
Now that I am working as the Coastal Coordinator for TNC, I have the opportunity to further assist in the planning process with the deliberate objective of having a plan, and supporting tools, that will allow all decisions on the Washington coast be as informed and comprehensive possible.
- What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
The WCMAC has the opportunity, or possibly obligation, to have the Plan be influenced or driven by the needs and concerns of those who are dependent on our ocean and live in our coastal communities. My hope would be that WCMAC can provide recommendations, review and insight that takes full advantage of this opportunity. This would require honesty, trust, compromise and perseverance.
And I would like to add that it is important to remember that our coast has tremendous and wide-reaching ecological and economic importance, and this is a plan of the State Government and the corresponding responsibilities will affect the plan.
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS), the Active Tectonics & Seafloor Mapping Lab (AT&SML) at the Oregon State University, and several contributing partners worked together to compile raw seafloor mapping data and stitch them together into a seafloor atlas.
The group remapped data when necessary, standardized the classifications and methodologies, and applied existing ground-truth information as appropriate. Data in the seafloor atlas include seabed habitat, backscatter, bathymetry, structural data, and remote sensing with multibeam sonar information. The atlas shows high resolutions of the primary surficial substrate types from the shoreline to 700 fathoms.
The image below is an example of the online atlas and references the rest of the atlas in the top right.
For more information:
The use analysis process:
- Summarizes data on existing uses (such as fishing, aquaculture, recreation, and shipping);
- Assesses where those existing uses would interact with potential new uses (such as renewable energy);
- Informs the development of recommendations.
Image is a visual representation of combining data layers into a map series for the use analysis.
Summarize Existing Uses Assess
The spatial analysis aspect of the use analysis takes place using GIS (geographic information systems). To summarize existing uses, data for each single use is combined to produce a footprint of that sector as well as an intensity map of that sector (when available). For example, shipping data on tug and tow vessel traffic will be combined with the other shipping data such as cargo vessel traffic to product maps that display:
- The number of shipping types operating in a given area;
- The intensity of use by the shipping sector.
Maps for each sector will then be combined with maps of other sectors to see how many existing uses are present in a given area and how intensely different areas are used. In addition, these existing use maps will be compared to maps of renewable energy potential. The final products will help guide planning decisions in the future and development of recommendations for inclusion in the plan.
During the use analysis process, the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council (WCMAC) drafts recommendations on how new uses should be addressed in the future. These are recommendations from an important bottom-up process on how the state and federal governments should guide planning and permitting of new uses.
For more information:
View the WCMAC meeting presentation from September 2015
Read the materials on the Use Analysis from past WCMAC meetings
How are we doing?
In a planning process that has so many moving parts, many participants are wondering, overall, how are we doing? This tool provides an updated progress report on the overall process.
The goals and objectives used in this tool were identified through stakeholder workshops, tribal government consultations, and a public SEPA scoping process. The action items used in this tool were approved by the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council. Each row of this tool aligns the action items with the associated marine spatial planning projects.
The progress column provides a visual indication of whether the goals, objectives, actions, and projects are Complete (green), In Progress (yellow), or Under Development (grey). A website link for each completed project is available by clicking on the name of the project or under the MSP Projects page of the website.
View the MSP Progress Report here
For more information on the original documents, visit the:
MSP Actions List from July 9, 2014
SEPA Scoping Document from January, 2014
Draft Marine Spatial Plan Contents from April, 2015
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Washington Departments of Ecology and Natural Resources conducted a series of participatory human-use mapping workshops as part of the Pacific Regional Ocean Uses Atlas project. These workshops were held during April 2013 in Aberdeen and Port Angeles and convened local ocean use experts and stakeholders who, through facilitated mapping exercises, documented their spatial and contextual knowledge about ocean uses.
BOEM and NOAA collected similar data in Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The data is now accessible for viewing and download through the Marine Cadastre. Type “Proua” in the search bar to view or download the Washington dataset.
For more information, you can:
Read the final regional report.
Read the final Washington report
View the summary map of all uses combined.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) created maps detailing the locations of important seabird and mammal areas along the Washington coast and conducted marine mammal aerial surveys. WDFW identified key life history locations including seabird nesting and marine mammal haulouts. Additionally, WDFW estimated population sizes and trends for rare and recovering populations of seabirds and marine mammals. This project provided an opportunity to update existing data, which can help consider the potential interactions between wildlife uses and human uses in the marine environment.
An example of the first draft of species distribution maps are shown in the figure below – including seabird colonies, seal and sea lion haulouts, sea otter distribution, and encounter rates of seabirds and mammals (August, 2015).
For more information, read the final reports on seabirds and marine mammals, and pinnipeds and sea otters.
Washington Sea Grant developed robust human dimensions indicators that characterize the coastal communities. These indicators are intended to be part of the integrated ecosystem assessment that the Northwest Fisheries Science Center uses for ecological indicators.
- Economic indicators
The figure below displays the five overarching categories of economic indicators: Demographics, Housing, Employment, Labor earnings, and Competitiveness. This study identified the top indicators to use in assessing a community’s economic health over time; these include: GRP, month to month income, income per capita, poverty rate, and job diversity. These indicators tell researchers and the community what’s going on and what’s important in a community.
- Social Well-Being Indicators
The social indicator researchers selected each of the categories in the figure below to measure the overall well-being of a community. For each of these categories, Washington Sea Grant developed a handful of indicators, compared the information available for each indicator in each coastal county across various years, and developed a percent change over time. The data and changes can be updated in the future to show general trends in social well-being of a community. If you are interested in more details on a particular county or topic, you can access the report.
These projects help to ensure that the best available science is used to develop the marine spatial plan.
For more information, read the Economic Indicator final report or the Social Indicator final report.
Join Washington Sea Grant’s Kevin Decker for an exciting weekend at the 39th Annual Wooden Boat Festival, September 11-13 at the Northwest Maritime Center.
The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is one of the most enlightening and exciting wooden boat events in the world. The annual festival features over 300 wooden vessels, hundreds of indoor and outdoor demonstrations. This is a who’s who of wooden boat experts and thousands of wooden boat enthusiasts, there’s something to do, someone to meet or a boat to board at every turn.
Get on the water
The festival provides several ways for you to boat or sail during throughout the weekend. Hop on a charter boat like the Adventuress, kayak, ride on the Martha J, or row aboard a replica of Captain George Vancouver’s ship from 1792.
Be sure to bring your kids to the festival. There are several activities that are perennial favorites, like designing, building, and sailing your own small wooden boat, riding the carousel, building crafts, hunting for pirate treasure, and snorkeling with sea life.
Look for Kevin at the Washington Sea Grant booth and play a game about marine spatial planning!
For more information, visit:
MSP Event Calendar
NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) completed three projects to inform Washington’s marine spatial plan:
- Development of species distribution models for key seabird species along the outer coast of Washington.
- Evaluation of marine mammal datasets (species distribution models are under development).
- Prioritization of areas for future seafloor mapping activities and identification of the underlying drivers and management needs associated with the priorities.
Below are a few figures to display some of the NCCOS work.
- Seabird Models
The figures below represent modeled distributions of Tufted Puffins and Black-footed Albatross predicted for April-October. The team also created distribution models for Marbled Murrelets, Common Murre, Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Sooty Shearwater.
- Marine Mammal Survey Inventory
The figure below shows marine mammal survey locations. The NCCOS team performed a data inventory of all marine mammal surveys off the coast of Washington including large whales, resident whales, pinnipeds, cetaceans, sea otters, turtles, haulouts, acoustic tracking, and others. The team is pulling together these different sources, providing a comparable platform, and will analyze the data through a model. Species distribution models for key marine mammal species will be available at the end of 2015.
- Seafloor Data Collection Priority Areas
The tool provides access to data about the type, extent, year, and source of seafloor mapping surveys that have been conducted on Washington’s coast. NCCOS took inventory of the available seafloor mapping information and worked with marine and coastal management entities to determine priorities for potential seafloor data collection and to identify ways in which the management entities may work together in the future.
For more information, read the Seabird Model Final Report, read the Marine Mammal Inventory Report, read the Seafloor Mapping Report, browse the Technical and Mapping Support Report or view the seafloor data viewer.
The Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) developed conceptual peer reviewed models of habitats within Washington State’s marine spatial planning study area that represent important ecological components, physical drivers, and human activities within each habitat. The habitats include the large coastal estuaries of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, rocky shores, sandy beaches, kelp forests, seafloor, and the pelagic zone.
The estuary model below depicts the important ecological components and interactions of Washington’s large coastal estuaries. In addition, the models show which physical drivers are most important and the human activities that are most prevalent in each of the habitats. These models form the foundation for selecting indicators that can be used to assess the status and trends of components within each habitat type.
The team also selected indicators to represent the important components, drivers, and activities of each habitat. They developed tables that describe important attributes and evaluated the usefulness of various indicators for each of the components, drivers, and activities. The indicators can now be used to measure and track the status and trends of components that we care about within each of the habitat types. The status and trends of these indicators form the basis of assessing how ecological components are doing relative to the oceanographic or estuarine environment and the human activities occurring within the system.
For more information, read the Ecosystem Indicator Final Report, view the maps in the Appendix, or visit the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment webpage.