Marine Consulting Initiatives
Ecotrust’s Marine Consulting Initiative builds tools that help people make better decisions about the ocean. Our tools help visualize and map marine ecosystems and uses, bridge differing perspectives, and implement management decisions in a more inclusive and transparent way. The marine planning tools are part of Ecotrust’s 20-year history of doing innovative things with knowledge, technology, and capital to create enhanced conservation and economic development for coastal communities on a global scale.
Our planning tools and analyses are designed to help partners and clients:
- Visualize the ecosystem in a social and economic context.
- Create a participatory approach to incorporating stakeholder knowledge.
- Implement management decisions at appropriate scales.
Along the West Coast of North America, thousands of coastal stakeholders have used our tools to participate in decisions about the ocean environment. These participatory processes have enabled improved analysis, timely decision making and ecological conservation that preserves coastal livelihoods. Ecotrust’s consulting services are available to assist with marine planning around the world.
Products and Services
Ecotrust offers tools for marine planning from conception through implementation. Held in an open-source and highly intuitive platform, our tools offers a simple, flexible, and powerful means of gathering expertise from resource managers, scientists, community stakeholders and the public in a transparent and collaborative decision-making process.
Our tools operate in a web-based environment designed to assist the user in making decisions about the best economic and ecological uses of the ocean. Implemented in California, Washington, Oregon, and internationally, our toolkit is unique in placing social, economic, and ecological data together in a single, easy-to-use interface for the first time.
Adapting the Marine Consulting toolkit to meet the specific needs of our clients, we offer the following products and services, individually or in a package:
Digital Deck is a mobile technology tool for collecting and integrating data that supports fisheries harvest accountability, traceability, collaborative research, spatial planning, and monitoring. The tool was designed to meet the expressed needs of community fishing organizations across the United States working to address common challenges. Digital Deck provides real-time access to catch information so users can more effectively participate in fisheries and business management. Download factsheet to learn more.
Ecotrust's award-winning Open OceanMap allows users to build local participation into the marine spatial planning process. Enabling the compilation of expert knowledge about the economic importance of fishing grounds or other marine resources, Open OceanMap helps scientists, managers and communities understand the ecosystem in a social context. Learn more »
Developed in partnership between the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara, Ecotrust, and The Nature Conservancy, MarineMap was introduced to facilitate the design and evaluation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as defined by California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (MLPAI). Learn more »
Eureka is a web-based tool used by Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) to evaluate the biological performance of Marine Protected Areas. With Eureka, managers can easily aggregate monitoring data from a wide number of participants.
Oregon's Territorial Sea Planning
The goal of this project was to develop the first-ever comprehensive series of maps that illustrates commercial and recreational fishing use patterns and values along the entire Oregon coast and submit them to the Oregon Territorial Sea Planning process. The consideration of these maps in the planning process helped inform the location of future wave energy projects which minimize impacts upon existing human uses. Learn more »
California Human Use and Values Monitoring
The primary goal of this project is to understand the interactions between coastal and marine human uses and marine protected areas (MPA) networks in California. This project will directly inform the 5-year review of recently implemented MPAs in California which will provide a baseline characterization of the ecological and socioeconomic conditions and changes within specific regions of California since MPA implementation. Learn more »
- In 2010, the Washington state legislature passed a bill calling for comprehensive coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) in its state waters. To assist with Washington's CMSP efforts, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Ecotrust are working with the Pacific County Marine Resource Committee (MRC) to develop an online decision support tool to help facilitate Pacific County's efforts to update their shoreline master plan, a multi-objective marine planning process that will provide the foundation for informing forth-coming CMSP efforts on the outer coast of Washington.
- We are assisting the nonprofit organization, Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) to evaluate the biological performance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Sea of Cortez.
- We are documenting and characterizing harvest practices and understanding of the Bering Sea ecosystem structure and function as part of the North Pacific Research Board Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program.
California's Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
The goal of this project was to develop a series of maps that illustrate commercial and recreational fishing use patterns and values along the entire California coast to support the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) planning process. These maps help stakeholders make informed decisions when designing the location of marine protected areas (MPAs). Learn more »
St. Kitts and Nevis
Ecotrust was retained by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2010 to collect, compile and analyze commercial fishery data in support of a marine zoning plan for St. Kitts and Nevis. Our research team developed and deployed a custom version of Open OceanMap, which was used to collect geo-referenced information from local fishermen about the extent and relative importance of commercial fisheries. Learn more »
Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey
In 2010, Ecotrust was retained by Massachusetts Ocean Partnership to build a tool that enabled them to collect, compile and analyze data on recreational boating. Their findings documented where boaters go, how often they go out, what they do while boating (e.g., fishing, sightseeing), and how much they spend on boating.
Additional Past Projects
- Ecotrust's marine spatial planning work began in 2001, with the Groundfish Fleet Restructuring Information and Analysis Project. Together with our partners at the Pacific Marine Conservation Council, we developed a set of analytical tools and proposals to support the Pacific Fishery Management Council's restructuring of the coast-wide (California, Oregon and Washington) groundfish fleet.
- We supported the Joint Management Plan Review (JMPR) of three California National Marine Sanctuaries by creating fisheries profiles and analyses of the ways in which commercial fishermen use and value the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries.
- Other past projects include catch share assessment of British Columbia's commercial ocean fisheries and a socioeconomic baseline assessment for the Pribilof Islands Collaborative.
In 2005, Ecotrust joined with Oregon State University to copublish Place Matters: Geospatial Tools for Marine Science, Conservation, and Management in the Pacific Northwest, an early exploration of the use of geographic information systems in ecosystem-based management.
Our paper summarizing the methods used for collecting, compiling, and analyzing data about the spatial extent and relative economic importance of commercial and recreational fishing in the MLPA is: Incorporation of Spatial and Economic Analyses of Human-Use Data in the Design of Marine Protected Areas.
Together with research partners at the Centre for Applied Environmental Decision Analysis at the University of Queensland, Ecotrust tested the effectiveness of MLPA protected area network designs in protecting marine habitats while minimizing social and economic impacts on fishermen and coastal communities. This research was published in the papers:
- "Effectiveness of Marine Reserve Networks in Representing Biodiversity and Minimizing Impact to Fishermen: A Comparison of Two Approaches Used in California"
- "Marxan with Zones: Software for optimal conservation based land- and sea-use zoning"
- "Spatial marine zoning for fisheries and conservation"
Partners and Clients
Since 2001, Ecotrust has worked with federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and fishing communities to develop transparent and participatory approaches to marine planning and conservation. We bring an open, flexible and collaborative commitment to all our projects.
Ecotrust and The Nature Conservancy share common values in working to build thriving marine ecosystems and strong economies for the coastal communities who depend on them.
Ecotrust is proud to bring our consulting expertise and toolkit to clients who want to create comprehensive and collaborative solutions for the best use of the ocean. Our clients include:
- Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. (COBI)
- Gulf of the Farallones - Cordell Bank
- Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO)
- Monitoring Enterprises
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries
- Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Port Orford Ocean Resource Team
- World Wildlife Fund