Marine Protected Areas
Your news from the National Marine Protected Areas Center
National Marine Protected Areas Center
       Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
July 2014
In This Issue
Quick Links
MPA Center Website
MPA Center Webinar Series


      Magnificent Frigatebirds
       Johnston Atoll NWR

              Sea Anemone
         Kingman Reef NWR

   Coral at Jarvis Island NWR

            Snorkelers in the
  Virgin Islands National Park
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We're very happy to share this new e-newsletter version of MPA Connections - your source for news about marine protected areas in the United States. We hope you'll find it useful, and invite you to share your ocean news with us - we'll be glad to include your submissions in future issues. The National Marine Protected Areas Center aims to be the nation's hub for building innovative partnerships and tools to protect special ocean places.This newsletter is just one more step we're taking to create an MPA community in the United States and build the capacity of MPA programs to address shared challenges.


Lauren Wenzel

Acting Director, National Marine Protected Areas Center


As part of a suite of ocean protection measures announced during the State Department's Oceans Conference, on June 17 the White House announced plans to immediately consider how the Administration might expand protections near the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The Monument is currently about 87,000 square miles that includes some of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world. "I'm going to use my authority to protect some of our nation's most precious marine landscapes," Obama said in a video to the Our Ocean conference, urging other countries to also take ocean protection measures. Before making decisions about the geographic scope and details of future marine protections, the Administration will consider the input of fishermen, scientists, conservation experts, elected officials, and other stakeholders.

Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Calls for Action on Managing Recreational Uses
Outdoor recreation is growing rapidly throughout the U.S. and recreation along our coasts and in our ocean is no exception. To highlight the recreational opportunities created by the nation's marine protected areas (MPAs) and the need for proactive agency actions to ensure sustainable management of the natural and cultural resources that attract these visitors, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPA FAC) and the Chairs of the National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Councils drafted a "Call to Action" in June 2014. This "Call to Action" recommends that the nation's ocean management agencies work actively with local communities to: 1) invite people to play (responsibly) in MPAs; 2) embrace the human dimension of ocean places; 3) sustain MPA ecosystems and values; and 4) engage recreational users as ocean stewards. In addition to its adoption by the MPA FAC, the "Call to Action" is being presented to each of the 14 Sanctuary Advisory Councils for formal approval during Summer 2014. The MPA FAC also adopted additional recommendations on specific measures MPA managers can take to sustainably manage recreational activities.  

                     Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA
Graduate students from the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources have completed a report for the MPA Center on Engaging Communities in Marine Protected Areas: Concepts and Strategies from Current Practice. The report, based on interviews with dozens of MPA managers and community members, describes why MPAs may wish to engage local communities and the challenges and successful strategies for doing so. Community engagement can build local awareness of and support for MPA objectives, and encourage stewardship of marine resources. This is the first synthesis of experiences from U.S. MPAs, and includes examples from diverse programs and regions
Courtesy of Redfish Rocks Community Team Facebook page
Courtesy of Redfish Rocks Community Team Facebook page
The MPA Center has launched a new blog on MPAs in collaboration with Open Channels, an online community for ocean planners and managers. The blog explores important ideas and stimulates inquiry and dialogue among others on the role of MPAs in achieving conservation outcomes. Success in today's world requires a solid foundation of science and stakeholder input and also a renewed national and international conversation about when, where and how best to use MPAs to achieve conservation objectives in a rapidly changing environment. These are complex and important issues and we invite you to join us as we tackle a range of timely issues. Authors include MPA Center staff, national system partners and invited guest authors. The latest blog looks at the new sanctuary nomination process. Other recent topics include maritime domain awareness - how technology is improving compliance and enforcement of MPAs, and how MPAs can be managed for growing recreational uses. Join us!

Breaching Humpback Whale 
Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank NMS/NOAA
At Capitol Hill Oceans Week, John Podesta announced that - for the first time in 20 years -- the door is now open for communities to nominate new areas to be considered for designation as National Marine Sanctuaries. Learn more about what's involved at this new, very cool website.   




Sydney 2014

The World Parks Congress, held every ten years, sets the global agenda for protected areas. NOAA's Marine Protected Areas Center is working with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the World Commission on Protected Areas - Marine, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks Authority, Parks Australia and IUCN's Marine and Polar Program to develop and implement the marine themes for this year's Congress, to be held in November 2014 in Sydney, Australia. The Marine Theme at the Congress will focus on the design and management of effective MPAs and MPA networks, including increasing investment, involvement and protection for marine areas. The Marine Theme will build upon the products of the Third International MPA Congress. 

This year's Capitol Hill Ocean Week was chock-a-block with great speakers and interesting topics. You can catch up via OceansLIVE!, which has recordings of President Obama's Counselor John Podesta giving the keynote address, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. Podesta is a White House senior counselor overseeing climate change, energy policy and environmental issues, and said the nation must double-down on its efforts to protect the oceans and better balance the management of the economic, environmental, energy and security resources it provides. Podesta said that the Administration is committed to using the remainder of the president's term to advance marine conservation and to support and encourage growth of the ocean economy, and announced a new process to allow communities to nominate areas to be considered as national marine sanctuaries. Jewell called climate change the defining issue of our time and the reason she took the job as Secretary of the Interior. She spoke about marine and coastal resources being important drivers of U.S. economic activity and noted U.S. coastal and marine national parks and refuges host 100 million visitors every year which supports 77,000 jobs. The Secretary said sustainability and taking care of our planet and resources "is a team sport." She closed by saying very complex issues are made less complex when people work across sectors to solve challenges and help to craft sustainable solutions for the future. To view presentations, see:  





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