V: MANAGEMENT PLAN
A. Introduction [Part V TOC]
Specific sites within the study area have a long history of research and a considerable amount of baseline environmental information has been documented. These are historical research areas of national significance. Año Nuevo Island and Año Nuevo Point have been intensively studied as has the rocky intertidal area along the northern shoreline of the Monterey Peninsula (Hopkins Marine Life Refuge and Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Fish Refuge). The Monterey Canyon and the Bay environment have been the focus
Thirteen marine research/education institutions are found in the preferred sanctuary boundary. The thirteen encompassed by the boundary are the Año Nuevo State Reserve; State University of California's Institute of Marine Sciences at Long Marine Laboratory at Santa Cruz; Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, (NOAA and CDF&G); San Jose State University's Moss Landing Marine Laboratories; Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station; the Center for Ocean Analysis and Prediction (NOAA); the Naval Postgraduate Marine Laboratory; Pt. Lobos Ecological Reserve; Granite Canyon Marine Laboratory (CDF&G); the Monterey Bay Aquarium's research division; the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (Incorporated May, 1987); the University of California's Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve in Big Sur; and the FWS research station at Pt. Piedras Blancas.
The opportunities for undertaking marine research in the area are excellent. The diversity of habitat types and communities is outstanding and past studies provide important baseline information. The Monterey Canyon provides a unique opportunity to undertake deep water marine research without having to undertake long and expensive cruises offshore. Finally, the marine research institutions within the area provide an exceptional resource to draw upon in furthering our understanding and thus the management of the proposed Sanctuary's marine resources.
Effective management of the MBNMS will require the inauguration of a research program that effectively coordinates the existing research programs and addresses management issues. COAP/NOAA in Monterey has already made significant progress in supporting research efforts in the area and in disseminating information from numerous data sources. A growing education program at COAP is also able to inform the general public and user groups of Monterey Bay about the relevance of the data to their day-to-day activities as well as increase their awareness of the significance of the bay's resources and qualities.
Specific applied research needs would include OCS research, fisheries management issues, coastal land-use planning, environmental toxicology, water and solid waste studies all focused on the resources and qualities of the Sanctuary.
The role of the Sanctuary can serve to provide a forum for discussion of research priorities and exchange of information among local research institutions. The Sanctuary can also provide limited but long term logistical and financial support for research studies consistent with the goals of the Sanctuary program.
Specific priority research needs for the Sanctuary will be identified and approved by SRD with advice from the Sanctuary Advisory Committee. This process is described in the following Sections.
Scientific investigations into the Monterey Bay ecosystem structure and function is essential so that managers can develop effective solutions to management problems. Research funded by the SRD will be directed to improving our knowledge of the Sanctuary's environment and resources. This research will not only expand our understanding of basic coastal and ocean processes but will be the basis for evaluating activities that may affect the Sanctuary's resources. The general direction of the research program and the process for preparing an annual Sanctuary Research Plan is discussed below.
B. Goals [Part V TOC]
The purpose of Sanctuary research activities is to improve understanding of the Monterey Bay environment, resources and qualities, to resolve specific management problems, and to coordinate and facilitate information flow between the various research institutions, agencies and organizations. A major emphasis of the research program will be to encourage studies that investigate the natural processes at the land-sea interface. For example, studies that integrate the facilities of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve with deep sea and/or coastal research will help increase our understanding of the role of estuaries in coastal productivity. Research results will be used in education programs for visitors and others interested in the Sanctuary, as well as for resource protection. The strategies to be employed in the research program are to:
- Establish a framework and procedures for administering research to ensure that research projects are responsive to management concerns and that results contribute to improved management of the Sanctuary;
- Incorporate research results into the interpretive/education program in a format useful for the general public;
- Focus and coordinate data collection efforts on the physical, chemical, geological and biological oceanography of the Sanctuary; šEncourage studies that integrate research from the variety of coastal habitats with nearshore and open ocean processes; šInitiate a monitoring program to assess environmental changes as they occur due to natural and human processes;
- Identify the range of effects on the environment that would result from predicted changes in human activity or natural phenomena;
- Encourage information exchange among all the organizations and agencies undertaking management-related research in the Sanctuary to promote more informed management.
- Evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the research program and its integration with resource protection and education objectives.
C. Framework for Research [Part V TOC]
The research program consists of three major project categories:
- Baseline studies to determine the features and processes of
the natural environment; to determine the abundance, distribution,
and interaction of the living resources; distribution and status
of historical resources and to describe the pattern of human
activity in the Sanctuary from prehistoric times to the future;
- Monitoring to document changes in environmental quality, in
ecology, and in human activity; and
- Predictive studies to assess the causes and effects of environmental and ecological changes.
Each of these categories is described in more detail below:
1. Baseline Studies [Part V TOC]
Baseline studies will be designed to obtain a better understanding of the physical oceanography and ecology of the Sanctuary. Because Monterey Bay is located in an area subject to hydrocarbon spills and discharge effluents, Sanctuary managers need sound information on water circulation. This information would be used to improve understanding of the dispersion pattern of possible oil spills and current land-source and ocean-source discharges into the Sanctuary as part of the Sanctuary's contingency planning efforts. A basic understanding of the physical oceanographic processes of the Monterey Bay area at a mesocosm scale is essential before one can undertake predictive studies of human activities on the marine environment. Studies into the transport of discharges and materials from sources to sinks throughout the water column are necessary before one can conclusively establish cause and effects of these anthropogenic inputs. It is hoped that ultimately this research will establish a firm scientific basis from which to apply management and possible regulatory measures that will reduce the impacts of these human activities on the environment and society.
Basic physical oceanographic studies should focus on interchange of water masses between Bay and open ocean, local circulation within the Bay, and upwelling processes. To accomplish the goal of understanding regional circulation the Sanctuary could assist with the development and dissemination of information from existing monitoring stations such as NOAA tide gauges, current meters, thermistor chains and satellites such as the NOAA polar orbiting satellites with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments which can image sea surface temperature. Process oriented studies can use resident, indicator species to identify local water mass movement and elucidate key productivity areas or areas of high diversity. Results could then be incorporated into an understanding of food chain relationships and predator-prey foraging dynamics.
Such studies could then be expanded upon to determine whether effects on the resources and qualities of the Monterey Bay area are caused by biological impacts, i.e., inter- or intra-specific competition or predation such as between salmon, seabirds, shorebirds and marine mammals, or from abiotic effects such as sea temperature rise from El Niño events or from human activities such as degradation of water quality via pollutants. For example, a fishery stock assessment could be instituted to determine the species composition and abundance of the fish population of Monterey Bay. The data collected in this study would serve to document the Bay's value as a fishery habitat and provide the basis for estimating the effects, if any, of increased fishing intensity, climatic change, fluctuations in predator and prey abundance, or pollutants on the fishery.
Comprehensive knowledge of the distribution of organisms and their dependence on environmental factors is needed for interpretation as well as for resource protection. At representative depths and locations, the environment should be characterized by the collection of additional baseline data on water temperature and salinity, light penetration, upwelling circulation and nutrient-load. This information should be correlated with data on the abundance and distribution, by depth zone and location of species populations living within and transiting the Monterey Bay area. Data of this type have been collected by the numerous research institutions surrounding Monterey Bay, but there are still many gaps in our knowledge of Monterey Bay ecology, particularly land-sea interactions.
The interaction of physical oceanography with biological studies will assist in developing an understanding of the ecology of the region and the general health and productivity of the Bay area. The research and education programs in general will emphasize a multi- disciplinary, multi-institutional, integrative approach that will engender a regional and cooperative attitude to basic and applied scientific issues. The geographic location of the proposed Sanctuary provides an excellent opportunity to integrate research that investigates the effects of man's land activities on the resources and human uses of the marine environment. The data collected from these studies would serve to document the Bay's value as a productive ecosystem and focus for public recreation and provide the basis for estimating the effects, if any, of present and future land-use practices on the Bay's resources.
Additionally, a historical context study, including a general literature search building on existing work, will be conducted to identify probable historical sites (this term, as indicated before, also includes cultural, archeological and paleontological sites) within the Sanctuary. This research will be followed by a field reconnaissance-type remote sensing survey and archeological assessment to locate and evaluate the extent to which historical resources are based in the Sanctuary. These baseline historical resource studies will provide the fundamental information necessary for developing a historical resource management strategy and education/interpretation program for the Sanctuary.
The recently constructed Stanton Center will provide a new maritime museum and history center in Monterey. It will provide separate exhibit areas, a workshop for ship building and restoration and a research library. Coordination with this institution will enhance the public awareness as well as the efforts of the Sanctuary to protect and research important historical resources.
2. Monitoring [Part V TOC]
Effective management requires a data base more comprehensive than simply the number of plants, animals, and geologic, physical and chemical elements within the Sanctuary. It requires an understanding of long-term changes to the status of the resources and their environment. Monitoring provides such understanding. Monitoring data indicative of the relative health of resources can be used to detect ecological changes and trends. This program should include pollution monitoring studies and studies to monitor the population dynamics of species inhabiting the benthos and water column of Monterey Bay's intertidal zone, canyons and continental shelf. Changes in the relative distribution of these species could indicate the existence of natural or man-caused threats to Bay resources. A three-phase monitoring program has been initiated at the neighboring Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. This program can be coordinated and developed in concert with a program suitable for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The resources and qualities of the Monterey Bay area are exposed to many different types of threats. Research and monitoring needs could be ranked according to the perceived magnitude of the threat. Among the threats to the Bay area resources and qualities are oil and gas activities as well as discharges from the land and ocean including point source (sewage treatment plants, combined sewer overflows, etc.) and non-point source (agriculture, marinas, urban runoff, etc.) pollutants. Pollutant loading into the Sanctuary can occur indirectly via land runoff from rivers or the atmosphere and directly from man's activities such as ocean dumping, outfall pipes or vessel discharges. The MOA regarding water quality and discharges outlines a Sanctuary water quality protection program that, amongst other issues, calls for the establishment of a comprehensive water quality monitoring program to: (1) determine the sources of pollution causing or contributing to existing or anticipated pollution problems in the Sanctuary, (ii) evaluate the effectiveness of efforts to reduce or eliminate those sources of pollution, and (iii) evaluate progress toward achieving and maintaining water quality standards and toward protecting and restoring any degraded areas and living marine resources of the Sanctuary.
Many other activities and phenomena in the Bay area warrant long-term investigation and monitoring. For example, studies could be implemented to monitor the effects of (1) commercial vessel traffic in the area; (2) recreational activities; (3) changes in the abundance and proportions of adult to juvenile invertebrates and fish larvae; (4) fluctuations in the abundance of whale, pinniped and seabird species in the Sanctuary; (5) the intensity and relative importance of sport fishing, commercial fishing and nature observation activity; (6) biological input of organics and fecal coliforms from pinnipeds at Año Nuevo; (7) effects of natural versus man-induced (e.g., sand mining) erosion and sedimentation; (8) fate of enteric pathogenic bacteria in Monterey Bay and West Coast waters in general; and (9) fishery/mammal interactions, such as the by-catch of sea otters and birds in gill nets, and the competition between sport divers and otters for abalone.
In general the monitoring data needs to be collected and analyzed in a manner so that it is widely applicable and provides timely and pertinent information for academic, management and educational purposes. Status and trends of contaminants in Monterey Bay is presently underway with the NOAA and State Water Resource Control Board Mussel Watch Programs. However, there is a need for before, during and post-hydrocarbon activity monitoring and toxicological assessments. These studies should be directed at all trophic levels of concern including plankton, algae, fisheries, invertebrates, mammals, and birds. A monitoring program has been initiated by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) for hydrocarbon activities in Southern California (MMS, 1988). A similar study should be considered if future Lease Sales are considered in the central California area.
Coastal stations, as well as offshore data buoys maintained by NOAA and MMS, presently measure wind, sea level, temperature, and other air and sea parameters. Data from these sites can be used for research, management, enforcement and rescue programs. However, continuous monitoring and rapid dissemination of information is essential to permit a timely and effective response by personnel to constantly changing environmental conditions and threats.
Overall, the monitoring program will assist in our understanding of the general health of the Bay. It could help discover sources of pollutants and assist in the establishment of cause and effects relationships as part of long-term toxicological evaluations. It could also elucidate the changing patterns, and magnitudes of input of contaminants. Finally the monitoring program will carefully address the issue of what to do with the data and how to apply the findings for basic science as well as academic, education and applied management purposes.
3. Predictive Studies [Part V TOC]
In addition to baseline research and monitoring, the Sanctuary research program will continue studies, as needed, to analyze the causes and consequences of ecosystem changes and predict their effects on new and more intense human activity in the area. Unlike the monitoring program these predictive studies are envisioned to be more short-term and directly targeted to an immediate management issue. Studies could be made to determine the effects on marine mammals of possible increases in boating activity if heightened interest in whale watching and fishing excursions results from Sanctuary establishment. A knowledge of these effects would enable management to provide information to Sanctuary users to avoid disturbing these animals unnecessarily.
Other studies of whales, pinnipeds and seabirds in the Sanctuary could be initiated to determine their range, where they come from, and how dependent they are on the food resources of the Bay. These studies should be closely tied into similar studies conducted in the GFNMS and Año Nuevo research programs. One such study, for example, might be an investigation to determine (1) whether the decrease in Steller sea lions in the Farallon and Channel Islands can be attributed to a decline in prey availability and compare the results to a similar study on the relatively stable Stellar sea lion population on Año Nuevo and; (2) the importance of the Monterey Bay fish stocks in sustaining the Steller sea lion population.
Other areas of predictive studies include the development of adequate circulation models that would be used for pollutant tracking, emergency response procedures, stock management, etc. Development of realistic computer models, when updated with direct environmental measurements, could be of direct assistance with the management issues mentioned above.
D. Selection and Management of Research Projects [Part V TOC]
To ensure that projects considered for funding by the SRD are directed to the resolution of Sanctuary management issues and concerns, the Sanctuary Manager and the SRD will follow procedures developed by the SRD. These procedures include: (l) preparing an annual Sanctuary Research Plan (SRP) and (2) monitoring the progress of research in the Sanctuary. To some degree, the research program for the Sanctuary will be coordinated with the research and monitoring program at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
1. Preparing an Annual Plan [Part V TOC]
Each year a Sanctuary Research Plan (SRP) will be prepared for the Sanctuary. The SRP will then be incorporated into a national plan which includes annual plans for each Sanctuary. SRD is currently preparing the steps involved for the annual planning process and the announcement of requests for proposals.
If research proposals include activities that are prohibited by Sanctuary regulations, a permit may be issued by NOAA upon application by researchers or it may be determined that all or part of the research should be conducted outside of the Sanctuary.
2. Monitoring Progress [Part V TOC]
The Sanctuary Manager will monitor the performance of research projects and keep records of all research underway, equipment being used on site, frequency of researchers' visits, and progress to date. SRD funded researchers will be required to submit progress reports and final reports to the SRD and Sanctuary Manager to ensure conformance to schedules outlined under the terms of the contract. Final reports may be reviewed by recognized scientists and resource managers before approval by the SRD. Outstanding project reports will be published by the SRD in its Technical Report Series.
3. Information Exchange [Part V TOC]
To complement directly funded research, the SRD will encourage research funded from other sources particularly where it supports Sanctuary management objectives. In this regard, the SRD will make available to other agencies and other interested parties Sanctuary resource data obtained from past and ongoing research projects.