Sea floor mapping
As coastal populations increase, the uses of the sea floor become more diverse and intensive. Major activities in coastal and marine environments requiring knowledge of sea floor characteristics for successful management include commercial and recreational fishing, sanctuaries and marine protected areas, burial of fibre optic and electric power cables, oil and gas pipelines, ecotourism, navigation, aquaculture and generation of renewable energy from winds and tides. Experience has shown that good management of similar activities on land requires the use of adequate maps. With that goal in mind, the Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative (GOMMI), a collaboration of government and non-government partners, is working to obtain funding and undertake a comprehensive mapping program. The multi-year project aims to produce mapping reports through images, maps and surveys that will benefit the general public, as well as private industry, federal and local management agencies and researchers. The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment has endorsed the project. To view mapping surveys to date in the Gulf of Maine and internationally and to access other mapping resources visit GOMMIs new Web site http://sh.nefsc.noaa.gov/gommi/.
Marine protected areas report
The Ocean Conservancy has recently released a report assessing existing coastal and marine protected areas incorporating GIS data. Marine and Coastal Protected Areas in the U.S. Gulf of Maine Region, examines more than 300 protected areas within state and federal coastal lands including the waters off Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The areas are described and mapped, then analyzed for their management objectives, specific protections afforded and effectiveness in long-term conservation of marine biodiversity. For a free copy of the 96-page full color report, please contact Susan Farady at (207) 879-5444, email@example.com or Cheri Recchia at (202) 429-5609, firstname.lastname@example.org. The report can also be accessed online at http://www.oceanconservancy.org/dynamic/aboutUs/publications/publications.htm.
Managing aquatic invasive species
In October of 2000, a coalition of state and federal agency representatives, consultants, academics and other natural resource managers began drafting a statewide management plan to address threats from aquatic invasive species in Massachusetts. Aquatic invaders such as Eurasian water milfoil, purple loosestrife and the European green crab have cost the Commonwealth and the region millions of dollars in lost recreational and commercial revenue and can severely diminish the ecological integrity of aquatic systems. The Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan outlines a five-year strategy for state agencies and their partners to minimize damage from non-native species by preventing their introduction, informing the general public about their impacts, monitoring for new introductions and meeting other objectives related to invasive species management. To download the plan, visit http://www.mass.gov/czm/invasivemanagementplan.htm.
ACAP report assesses impacts
The Atlantic Coastal Action Program, ACAP, supported by Environment Canada, is a community-based model of ecosystem management. There are 14 ACAP organizations throughout Atlantic Canada. A new report entitled An Evaluation of the Atlantic Coastal Action Program: Economic Impact and Return on Investment assesses economic impacts, the cost of an alternative delivery approach and identifies advantages associated with community-based delivery. The report is available at http://www.ns.ec.gc.ca/community/acap/index_e.html.
Pew Oceans Commission final report
A network of fully protected reserves should be established immediately in all major marine habitats of the coastal United States, according to Marine Reserves: A Tool for Ecosystem Management and Conservation, a report released by the Pew Oceans Commission. The report, written by Stephen R. Palumbi, is the last in a series of seven reports on Americas oceans prepared for the Commission. The report states that marine ecosystems from Hawaii to Florida are breaking down, giving way to invading organisms and losing important commercial species, and they are failing to replenish themselves at the same rate they are being damaged or exploited. Among the major threats to healthy ocean ecosystems are overfishing, habitat alteration, pollution, runoff from land, aquaculture, invasive species, coastal development and climate change. Palumbi calls for a fundamental reorganization of the role of local, state and federal governments in marine activity-a move designed to integrate all potentially conflicting uses of the ocean into a comprehensive planning framework. To access all seven reports go to http://www.pewoceans.org.