Oil spills, coastal floods, and failing fisheries are bringing into sharp public focus the declining health and increasing user-conflicts of our coastlines and oceans. Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) is an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach that allocates human activities along coasts and in the oceans both in space and time. CMSP reduces conflicts between users and maintains ecological processes and the ecosystem services they support, such as tourism, protection from floods, and fishing.
The CMSP process can be shown as a series of discrete steps, though the real process is iterative, requiring participants to revisit and revise previous steps to accommodate new information. Stakeholder engagement and participation, in particular, is vital at all steps in the process and shapes both the process and the outcomes.
A variety of planning and analytical tools have been developed to assist with and inform ecosystem-based management, including many that can be applied in the coastal and marine spatial planning process. The Coastal-Marine Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network has cataloged these tools in an online database (ebmtools.org). Here we highlight some of the tools from the EBM Tools Network database that are most useful for CMSP, grouped by their primary function (though many of the tools are useful in multiple CMSP steps):
Legislative Atlas: Legislative Atlas displays spatial data for U.S. state and federal laws and jurisdictional boundaries and allows you to search an online database of coastal and ocean legislation according to geographic area, issue of interest, or management agency.
Audience Response/Keypad Polling Systems: Audience response/keypad polling systems consist of handheld keypads, or, more recently, cell phones and computers, that send participant input to a central receiving station. Use them in public processes to obtain anonymous feedback from participants at key decision points.
Cumulative Impacts Model: Cumulative Impacts Model is a method for mapping the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems. The resulting maps can help you determine what suite of activities can best meet objectives for a given area.
InVEST: InVEST models and maps the delivery, distribution, and economic value of ecosystem services and helps you visualize the impacts of potential management decisions and identify tradeoffs and compatibilities between environmental, economic, and social benefits.
Multipurpose Marine Cadastre: Multipurpose Marine Cadastre provides access to marine cadastral, physical, cultural, and legal information, including responsibility and use of marine areas, for U.S. state waters and the outer continental shelf.
Open OceanMap: Open OceanMap helps you collect and compile local expert ecological and economic knowledge through an intuitive 100-pennies stake-holder interview process.
MarineMap: MarineMap helps draw possible marine protected areas (MPAs), predicts the biological and economic effects of different MPA pro-posals, and helps you select sites that will optimize conservation and fisheries benefits.
Marxan with Zones: Marxan with Zones helps allocate land and/or sea parcels to zones with diverse targets, planning unit costs, and biodiversity benefits in order to create zoning plans that maximize social, economic, and ecological objectives while minimizing implementation costs.
Multi-scale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES): MIMES is a suite of models you can use to assess the value of ecosystem services, how the services are linked to human welfare, and how their function and value might change under different management scenarios.
NatureServe Vista: NatureServe Vista helps develop, evaluate, implement, and monitor spatial management scenarios that account for conservation values and other planning and assessment activities, such as land use, transportation, and energy.