In July 2009, The Nature Conservancy began a gap analysis to assess the level of protection provided by existing marine protected areas in Washington state and the adjacent US federal waters. The analysis was one of the top five recommendations from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) Marine Protected Area Work Group, or MPA Work Group, to the Legislature to “find universally applicable levels of protection that were ecologically meaningful in order to evaluate an agency’s primary management objective for an MPA and its potential for contributing to a coordinated marine conservation approach” (Van Cleve et al., 2009).
In this project, I worked with Allison Bailey from Sound GIS to develop an MPA inventory, gap criteria, assign gap levels, and quantify conservation management status.
This project is on-going and has been presented at conferences in Canada and USA, including an MPA workshop hosted by the Puget Sound Partnership in Sept 2012. A manuscript is in preparation and a summary report is available from The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Chapter.