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Author Topic: Officials explain MLPA process to skeptical locals  (Read 1300 times)

Offline MATT MATTISON

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Officials explain MLPA process to skeptical locals
« on: July 23, 2009, 08:40:59 AM »
More on the MLPA's from Jim Martin of RFA Recerational Fishing Alliance.

http://www.advocate-news.com/local/ci_12898347




Officials explain MLPA process to skeptical locals

By FRANK HARTZELL Staff Writer -
Updated: 07/23/2009 08:01:01 AM PDT




Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part series on the MLPA process. In part 2 next week, sources of funding, scientific basis and local efforts to create a local plan will be further detailed.



Dreading possible impacts from Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) implementation, local fishermen hope to propose their own option for new ocean protections to present to the state.

That would be fine with MLPA Initiative Executive Director Ken Wiseman, who said the process could be changed to accommodate such a proposal.

Wiseman and a dozen MLPA Initiative-involved planners, scientists and public relations specialists chatted with locals and even sampled locally-harvested seaweed at a Tuesday night open house at Dana Gray Elementary in Fort Bragg.

After a decade of delays, the state-mandated process of creating new protected areas has arrived for the area from Elk to the Oregon border. Meetings were also held this week in Eureka and Crescent City.

Some were irked there was no chance for locals to give speeches at the open house, but many took the opportunity to ask questions of the officials on hand.

Jim Martin, John Innes and Dan Platt were among the fishermen on hand discussing local people creating a local option.

Similar MLPA processes are under way in three other California Coastal regions, with one area complete. The state plans to complete the North Coast process within 18 months, with the entire statewide effort to be complete by the end of 2011.

Those attending the open house learned that the normal first step is creation of a panel of about 20 scientists to oversee the local effort. That process got started at the open house, with locals being asked to nominate qualified scientists.
Nomination requests were also sent to dozens of universities and ocean-related organizations.
Step two is normally creation of a local stakeholders group. The local stakeholders usually create a plan for creation of the closed areas, which would be presented to the scientific panel.
The scientific panel then edits the map and sends it back to the stakeholders to make changes.
Wiseman said the process could be changed to allow locals to come up with a plan to set the table — rather than the official stakeholders group.
"If we get some solid proposals from the community, we could then convene a stakeholders group and say the work has been done, start with this proposal. I think doing it that way would build community trust," Wiseman said.
In Southern California, the state ends up playing intermediary between rival factions.
"Currently in Southern California, we have three external proposals, two brought by fishermen and one from environmentalists," Wiseman said.
Those rival proposals will eventually be integrated into the stakeholders plan.
While local factions may fight over turf down south, in Fort Bragg and Eureka, locals are likely to stick together — often against "outsiders," whether they be oil companies, federal agencies or the state, Wiseman realizes.
"Conservationists and fishermen have successfully worked together here on watershed proposals," said Wiseman.
"There may be an opportunity to take these external proposals as a place to start, rather than doing them in tandem [with an official stakeholder plan]," Wiseman said.
Wiseman said it might be easier in Northern California to stay off the areas deemed untouchable by locals.
"In Southern California every square foot has somebody's name on it. Here, there are miles nobody is worried about and some people say that would make good habitat," said Wiseman.
So far, locals are sticking together — against the MLPA process going forward. A dozen locals interviewed at the event all expressed some opposition to the process. Some opposed a local proposal in favor of fighting against all change, despite the fact the MLPA has the authority of law to establish new protected areas.
Organizers were greeted by a petition signed by harbor districts in all three involved counties, as well as Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity county supervisors, asking that the entire effort be delayed.
Wiseman says a delay isn't practical for a process that has been twice derailed since the state law creating new protected areas passed in 1999.
Letters called for more local scientific data, more understanding of economic impacts and a concrete source of long-term funding.
Without those, the process isn't ready to go forward, the letter said.
"Such an effort needs to be driven by sound science, not an arbitrary timeline," the letter from local agencies to Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman said.
The union that represents game wardens also now favors delaying the MLPA, saying there aren't enough wardens to patrol existing areas, much less new ones. Wiseman said clearly identified closed areas could actually be easier to patrol than areas where some uses are allowed. He said local people help enforce closed areas in places like Australia and New Zealand, where the MLPA idea originated.
About 50 locals filled the gym at Dana Gray at 7 p.m. during the drop-in event that lasted three hours.
Innes said the displays were interesting but not truly interactive.
"They are here to tell us what they are doing, not listen to what we have to suggest," he said.


Those wishing to participate in creation of the local option can contact Jim Martin at flatland@mcn.org.
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Offline JASON HOLLIDAY

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Re: Officials explain MLPA process to skeptical locals
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2009, 04:06:44 PM »
 Thanks matt for the post. The more info i can absorb on the subject the better. I am crossing my fingers that I can get the day of the meeting off... ???
Jason Holliday
Fishing pole's are over rated..........

Offline MATT MATTISON

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Re: Officials explain MLPA process to skeptical locals
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2009, 04:08:10 PM »
So am I. as well as my toe's
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