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Understanding the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative in Southern California

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Date: July 10, 2009
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5736

Kelly Sayce, Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Public Outreach and Education Coordinator, and Dr. Satie Airamé, MLPA Science Advisor, will be the featured speakers at the July “From Shore to Sea” lecture series. Together, they will discuss the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative planning process in the south coast region.

The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was passed into California state law in 1999 (AB 993). It directs the state to reexamine and redesign California’s system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to, among other things, protect marine life, habitat, ecosystems, and natural heritage.

Sayce will explain the MLPA Initiative, a public-private partnership developed to help the State of California achieve the MLPA goals. She will provide updates on how MPA proposals are being developed to meet these goals through active public involvement in the study region. Sayce will also describe frequently asked questions and common misunderstandings about the initiative and describe the role of the public in this stakeholder-driven process.

Airamé will discuss scientific guidelines for designing MPA networks to meet the goals of the MLPA Initiative. Additionally, she will present results from the five-year review of the existing Channel Islands MPAs. The Channel Islands MPAs are not being redesigned as part of the MLPA Initiative. Evaluating the effectiveness of existing MPAs contributes to our understanding of how this ecosystem management approach protects our oceans. 

Sayce has worked in the field of informal education and public outreach for local organizations including Reef Check Foundation, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. She is the co-founder of Strategic Earth, LLC, an environmental consulting firm based in Los Angeles. Sayce received a MS in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Since 2002, Airamé has served as a marine policy coordinator for PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For the past ten years Airamé has worked on the Channel Islands MPAs process including coordinating efforts to determine potential locations, developing ecological monitoring plans, and managing the five-year review of the Channel Islands MPAs.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with generous support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2009, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, July 15, 2009, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

For more information about the MLPA Initiative, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mpla.

Did You Know?

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Channel Islands National Park has more endangered species that only exist within this park than any other unit of the National Park Service. This means that survival of these plants and animals depends entirely on our ability to protect and restore the habitat of the five park islands.