Posted by & filed under WCMAC.

David Fluharty
Education institution

Dave is an associate professor at the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (SMEA). He has spent a lifetime researching marine issues, educating future marine professionals, and committing himself to public service. Dave teaches specialized courses in marine protected area management, marine spatial planning, U.S. fisheries management and core courses in marine policy analysis and marine affairs.

Recently, Dave served as the Chair of NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (2006-2010) and continues to serve as Co-Chair of the Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group to advise NOAA scientists on topics including integrated ecosystem assessments, marine spatial planning, ecosystem-based fishery management, ecosystem services valuation, and indigenous and local ecological knowledge.

In earlier work, Dave was a member of the original “citizen” Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, the Murray-Metcalf Northwest Straits Commission, and was a Washington representative on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (1994-2003). Dave was recognized with the Outstanding Public Service Award in 2013 by the UW College of the Environment.
David Fluharty
What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
I tend to view ocean management holistically. The state and federal government have a legacy of management approaches that evolved in an ad hoc manner. Thus, while policy for one sector might be effective it is sometimes not sufficient in dealing with other issues. First, and foremost, Marine Spatial Planning offers an initial framework to identify and protect existing uses. MSP can also be a forum used to set the conditions for how the government considers new uses. In order to do that, MSP first called for inventory and documentation of existing uses to understand what is happening in the marine environment in a holistic manner. Unlike other states, the Washington MSP process is fortunate to not have proposals for ocean energy, natural gas import/export terminals, or siting of offshore aquaculture driving the process. Thus, we can focus on developing (and improving) our own management approach and preparing for other changes due to sea level rise, increasing ocean temperatures, and ocean acidification. MSP helps us set priorities for current uses and protect the ecosystem services that sustain all people of the state.

How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
The short story is that I track many marine resource management issues in Washington to use in my teaching and research. I submitted my name and qualifications for the Educational Institution seat on the WCAMC and was appointed to serve. I wanted to share my experience with MSP more generally and have found it extremely rewarding to work with others on the WCMAC to learn how their experience informs the process.

What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
As a first generation plan, I think doing an inventory of ocean uses and documenting their value to coastal communities and to Washington more generally is a huge benefit. This will help to improve management and protection of the things we value. Further, to the extent that the plan can set forth direction that assists in review and assessment of potential new uses, whatever they might be, this will be a valuable contribution to holistic environmental management.

Anything else interesting about you?

  • I really am a mountain person in terms of recreation and have spent a lot of time and effort trying to protect Wilderness lands in the Washington Cascades.
  • As a high school athlete I focused on the decathlon and likely still hold the record for running from Paradise Inn’s veranda on Mt. Rainier to the top of Pinnacle Peak in the Tatoosh Range (45 minutes).
  • I am fluent in English and Swedish, and can even speak a passable version of Vietnamese (at one point my life depended on it).


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