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Human Influences: Resource Needs

Resources Needs
Section II. Resource Needs Summarized from MBNMS Site Characterization Sections

All section authors were asked to include several topics in their overviews which we believed would help us later summarize MBNMS resource needs, including:

  1. recent advances/gaps in information (the interviews and RAP reports can help)
  2. links to other habitats/processes in MBNMS
  3. unique features occurring in MBNMS
  4. geographic locations which are representative of section subject
  5. Common/representative species
  6. Exotic/listed species of concern
  7. areas of critical biological importance (e.g hotspots, breeding areas)
  8. temporal/spatial patterns, inc. seasonal/annual/decadal etc, variations within/btwn habitats, terrestrial vs. marine
  9. human impacts

Few authors addressed all these subjects, in part due to space limitations (we had asked authors to limit sections to about 5 pages text plus unlimited tables and figures, based on scoping meeting suggestions to make the site characterization a small, concentrated document) and author familiarity with specific subjects. Therefore, this summary is clearly not comprehensive: it is as likely to reflect authors' backgrounds, interests and time available to complete the sections, as much as relative importance of resource needs. With this caveat in mind, resource needs as identified by section authors generally fell into two categories: a) needs to better understand basic natural processes, communities, and/or assemblages; and b) needs to better understand and/or modify human impacts.

A) Need to better understand basic natural processes, communities, and/or assemblages.

A lack of information about geographic regions outside Monterey Bay was identified by several authors. The geology south of Point Sur has been poorly studied (see Geology II.C.), as have kelp forests (see Kelp Forest Community) and marine mammal populations (see Marine Mammals ) both north and south of the Monterey Bay region.Surprisingly little is apparently known about the water circulation of the northern and southern bights within Monterey Bay (see Physical Oceanography section). Most striking, however, was the lack of information available for the benthic fauna (see Deeper Bottoms) and chemical processes (see Chemical Oceanography) of the seafloor beyond Scuba depths, which comprises more than 90% of the MBNMS.

Other such gaps included:

B) Need to better understand and/or modify human impacts

Much of the Socioeconomic Uses section summarizes human impacts which should be referred to directly, and are therefore not resummarized here. However, nearly all section authors were also concerned about documented or potential negative human impacts relevant to their specific subjects, i.e.:

  1. saltwater intrusion to aquifers and reduced freshwater input to coastal wetlands due to heavy agricultural freshwater use (see Geology and River Mouths sections),
  2. accelerated coastal erosion due to human structures blocking riverine and alongshore sediment transport (see Geology and Coastal Dunes sections),
  3. disturbance of rocky shore and coastal dune communities due to human trampling (see corresponding sections)
  4. disturbance of pinniped rookeries (see Marine Mammals section);
  5. potential impacts of human-generated underwater noise on marine mammals (see Marine Mammals section);
  6. direct and indirect impacts of fish and invertebrate harvests (see Sandy Beach, Kelp Forest, Shallow Soft Bottom, Deeper Bottoms, Seabirds and Shorebirds, Marine Mammals, Anadromous Fishes sections);
  7. habitat loss due to coastal development (see Geology, River Mouths, Rocky Shores, Coastal Dunes, Seabirds and Shorebirds sections) or vessel traffic (see Seabirds and Shorebirds section);
  8. Native species reductions due to increasing non-native populations (see Coastal Dunes and Seabirds and Shorebirds sections).

Two authors also expressed a need for long-term monitoring studies (see Rocky Shores, Marine Mammals sections) to establish baseline information enabling more accurate assessment of natural variation vs. human impacts.

Interestingly, only one author identified a need to expand on a positive human impact to MBNMS natural resources, i.e. restoration efforts on local coastal dunes (see Coastal Dunes section; but also see marine reserves information in Human Influences section).

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Section I. Introduction