Local marine planning needs public input

Marine planning is happening in the Central Coast, and there is an opportunity for you to discuss any questions you might have.

Marine planning is happening in the Central Coast, and there is an opportunity for you to discuss any questions and specific feedback you might have on the draft Central Coast Marine Plan. The Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) will be holding a public review period (anticipated to start in mid May), which will include public open houses in Bella Coola and Shearwater. Information on the open houses will be advertised in the Coast Mountain News, and will also be made available through the MaPP website, once dates are established.

The Central Coast Regional District is directly involved in this planning process with MaPP and would like to invite and encourage constituents from the Central Coast to attend one of these open houses.  A summary of the plan, once released, can be found at http://mappocean.org/central-coast/draft-plan-for-input/.

MaPP is a collaborative multi-year planning process between the BC Provincial Government and 18 First Nations that have traditional territories along the northern coast of BC. The Province and First Nations have been working together for over two years to develop localized coastal and marine plans for Haida Gwaii, North Coast, Central Coast and North Vancouver Island. A Letter of Intent between the partners was signed in November 2011, with planning meetings continuing through June 2014.  Each of the four subregional plans will be accompanied by implementation agreements that provide specific guidance for day-to-day operations and marine use decisions in the plan area. Implementation and management meetings are anticipated to begin in July 2014.

The Province and First Nations have been conducting resource planning for the land in coastal British Columbia for many years through the Land and Resource Management Planning (LRMP) process.  Extending this collaborative relationship to marine and coastal areas improves consistency in resource management for the entire region. MaPP focuses specifically on the marine environment which is under provincial jurisdiction: nearshore, foreshore, and waters that are “between the jaws of the land” (fjords and bays).  The activities in these areas which are under provincial jurisdiction include: coastal and marine tenures for specific activities (docks, clean energy and underwater cables), provincial seafood development programs (seafood marketing, processing and distribution), protected Areas (including providing recommendations for a Canada – B.C. Marine Protected Area Network), community, social and economic programs related to marine and ocean interests, and pollution prevention.

Coastal and marine plans consider how marine habitats and environments as well as cultural and economic considerations fit together. MaPP is using an Eco-Based Management (EBM) approach to planning, which has precedence around the globe in marine planning, including such high-profile areas as the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, and the ocean surrounding Cape Cod, an important fishing region in the northeast United States. The principles of EBM are very similar to the way the First Nations of the Central Coast have been practicing resource management and enhancement for thousands of years. This approach is intended to create plans that enhance the health of all aspects of the marine environment, as well as the health and economic well-being of the people that rely on the marine environment for their survival and/or economic prosperity.

Development of the Central Coast marine plan has been informed by traditional and local knowledge, as well as globally-recognized best practice science-based decision-support tools such as MARXAN (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxan).  For the Central Coast, planning has relied heavily on input from local First Nations technical planners, marine use planning committees, and the marine use plans of the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo Xai’Xais, Wuikinuxv, and Nuxalk Nations. Marine planning coordinators for each Nation are: Wilf Dawson (Nuxalk Nation); Julie Carpenter (Heiltsuk Nation): Daniell Shaw (Wuikinuxv Nation); Doug Neasloss (Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation).

The Central Coast Marine Plan Advisory Committee (MPAC) also provides important information and feedback for the development of the plan. The MPAC is comprised of members from a wide range of sectors: Academic, Commercial Fisheries, Recreational Fishing Services, Commercial Tourism, Conservation, Finfish Aquaculture, Forestry, Local Government, Public Recreation, Renewable Energy, and Shellfish Aquaculture.  Local MPAC representatives include: Diana Chan (Conservation); Gary Wilson (Finfish Aquaculture); Hans Granander (Forestry); Brian Lande (Local Government); Alison Sayers (Local Government); Janice Kyle (Public Recreation).  These stakeholders have provided details on areas of importance to their groups. Their input was considered by the MaPP partners during development of the draft spatial plan (zone mapping) and aspatial management direction (written plan). All draft spatial zones and aspatial management direction were presented to the MPAC for additional feedback.  More information about the committee structure and process of MaPP can be found on the MaPP website: www.mappocean.org.

The maps within the spatial plan include “polygons” (pictures) of three different types of zones.  General Management Zones (GMZs)
allocate space for a wide range of sustainable marine uses and
activities. The GMZ designation recognizes that many areas have no over‐arching priorities for use or activity, and that a large number of activities do not have spatial or temporal conflicts.  Special Management Zones (SMZs) are established to provide management emphasis for specific uses and activities, to prevent or mitigate current or future conflicts between user groups, or when there is a desire to allocate space for high priority / high potential sustainable marine uses and activities.  Protection Management Zones (PMZs) allocate
space primarily for conservation purposes.  PMZ areas may contribute to a larger network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) or serve as a basis for
protecting localized
areas of high conservation
value.

During the public review period for the plan, the CCRD intends to gather feedback from constituents, and then submit feedback, suggestions, and advice to the planners.  If you would like to give feedback through the CCRD representatives for MaPP, please contact Brian Lande (250-982-2403, blande@ccrd-bc.ca) or Alison Sayers (250-982-0074, alison@canyonspringsconsulting.com). The CCRD hopes that the final plan enhances the health and wellbeing of the entire Central Coast community and the marine environment, supports First Nations traditional and cultural uses, and enhances the economic development of our region.

For further information: www.mappocean.org. This website provides an overview of the process, lists the stakeholders and planners involved, and describes the organizational structure of MaPP.  Feedback on the draft plan can be submitted through this website. On www.seasketch.org, navigate to the bottom of this page where the MaPP Marine Planning Portal is shown and click on the link to launch the web map. The web map has numerous layers that have been used during the planning process and users can “turn on” layers with the click of a mouse, and see how they overlap each other.  Feedback on the draft spatial plan can be submitted through this website.