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Marine Consulting Initiatives

Marine Planning brochure

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:

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

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.

Open OceanMap

Open OceanMap screenshotEcotrust'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 »


MarineMapDeveloped 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 »


EurekaEureka 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.

Ongoing Projects

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 »

Additional Projects

Past Projects

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

St. Kitts screenshotEcotrust 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

MA Rec Boater SurveyIn 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


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:

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:

Our Work

California's Marine Life Protection Act

Oregon's Territorial Sea Planning

Open OceanMap


Learn More

Watch webcast video from the World Oceans Summit (February 22-24, 2012 in Capella, Singapore)

Watch video by the 2011 Tech Awards about our marine planning tools (YouTube)

Ecotrust Marine Planning brochure (360kb pdf)

The video Zoning for People and Fish introduces our marine spatial planning work.

The video MarineMap: Bridging Knowledge Systems introduces the web-based tool for making better decisions about ecological and economic uses of the ocean.

Take a tour of the Open OceanMap, MarineMap and Eureka software applications (Flash required)


Charles Steinback
Director of Marine Planning
tel: 503.467.0777
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Jennifer Bloeser
Marine Planning Business Manager
tel: 503.467.0785
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