Coastal and marine ecosystems are threatened by a host of stressors, including climatic changes and effects. A number of holistic planning and management approaches and tools have been developed and implemented around the world with the goal of balancing competing or conflicting uses and values. These include methods such as integrated coastal zone management, ecosystem-based management, marine protected areas, ocean zoning, and marine spatial planning. There is much overlap amongst these approaches, and great variety in how they have been integrated into policy and practice.
In the United States, for example, the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 mandates integrated coastal planning at the federal level while participation of states and territories is voluntary, although accompanied by strong incentives. Almost all coastal States and Territories now have established CZM programs with the exception of Alaska. The 2010 National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes adopted recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force to develop an ecosystem-based management framework for CMSP to ensure effective management of natural resources, as well as existing and new coastal and ocean uses.
Getting Clear on Coastal and Marine Management Approaches
- Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM): “A strategy for an integrated approach to planning in and management of the coastal zone, in which all policies, sectors and to the highest possible extent, individual interests are properly taken into account, with proper consideration given to the full range of temporal and spatial scales, involving all coastal stakeholders in a participative way.” (International Ocean Institute)
- Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM): “An integrated management approach that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.” (NOAA)
- Marine protected areas (MPAs): “Any area of intertidal or sub-tidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment.” (IUCN)
- Marine reserves: “MPAs or zones that allow human access and even some potentially harmful uses, but that totally prohibit the extraction or significant destruction of natural and cultural resources.” (NOAA)
- Ocean zoning: “A big picture approach to how we manage the ocean that balances all uses and helps to ensure sustainability…[by creating] a map for what happens where in the ocean. Potential zone categories include fishing, tourism, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, offshore energy, aquaculture, recreation, shipping, boat moorings, etc.” (Waitt Institute)
- CMSP: “A comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. CMSP identifies areas most suitable for various types or classes of activities in order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic, environmental, security, and social objectives.” (Council on Environmental Quality)
Despite the focus on long-term sustainability, climate change is not yet being integrated into CMSP on a consistent and comprehensive basis. However, planning and management are vulnerable to climate change in a number of ways, including changes in the socioeconomic and cultural value, geographic extent, and availability of marine species, habitats, and resources. Because CMSP is an emerging field, it is important to look to other coastal and marine planning and management frameworks to identify opportunities for climate-informed action.
Climate-informed Coastal & Marine Planning Considerations
Each step includes recommended activities, guiding questions, and key actions linked to case studies. Key actions for climate-informed CMSP include:
- Use near-, medium-, and long-term time horizons for visioning and planning to facilitate the incorporation of climatic changes over time.
- Incorporate traditional and community knowledge, use, and values, which can provide valuable insight into how an area has changed over time and how the system functions overall.
- Adjust existing data and maps to reflect potential changes over time.
- Create new data, maps, and conservation targets to reflect climate-specific concerns
- Emphasize connections between terrestrial and ocean systems.
- Limit development in vulnerable areas.
- Engage stakeholders to strengthen public buy-in and support.
- Use climate-related information to evaluate and/or prioritize uses.
- Implement climate mitigation and adaptation options.
- Acknowledge and document uncertainty.
- Implement monitoring and adaptive management to document changes, track effectiveness, and make necessary adjustments to actions.