June 2017 Posts

U.S. Marine Protected Area Classification System


CLCC Staff Note: This post was reprinted from the NOAA Marine Protected Areas Center as it relates to the work of the CLCC Protected Areas Conservation Action Team.

Hōlei Sea Arch with viewing area. Credit: S. Geiger, NPS

In an attempt to clarify discussion about various MPA issues, the National Marine Protected Areas Center developed a set of simple definitions for common MPA types that are intended to provide an objective and intuitive way to understand, describe, and constructively assess most MPAs found in the United States.

This classification system is:

  • simple, consistent and intuitive
  • an accurate reflection of MPA goals and approaches
  • a tool to allow an objective assessment of the impacts of proposed MPAs on ecosystems and users
  • one that doesn’t overlap with programmatic names
  • one that has minimal connotations

The MPA classification system was created to simplify the often confusing diversity of MPA terminology by focusing on a few key functional features that together describe those aspects of the MPA that are of greatest concern to stakeholders, agencies, and scientists. The classification system uses five fundamental design characteristics, and options within them, that can be used to describe any MPA. The main two characteristics are Conservation Focus and Level of Protection.

Learn more about the five fundamental characteristics of U.S. MPAs.

There are other classification systems in use worldwide. Learn about the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN)guidelines, or visit the IUCN’s protected areas section.

For More Information

Write to mpainfo@noaa.gov

A Tale of Two Watersheds


The CLCC is building momentum around the two Pilot Delivery Watersheds in Puerto Rico for our Landscape Conservation Design efforts. Two Delivery Watersheds. Two Approaches.

  1. Rio Grande de Arecibo Watershed: Leading Landscape Conservation Design and Implementation from A to Z
  2. Rio Herrera – Las Cabezas Watershed: Supporting Role: Bring new resources in support of existing efforts and/or identify gaps in existing efforts

This infographic from the World Resources Institute demonstrates two others types of watersheds and how one with a healthy natural infrastructure improves water security and one with degraded lands threatens water supplies. Our vision is that through cooperative efforts both our Pilot Delivery Watersheds in Puerto Rico (and the future one(s) in the U.S. Virgin Islands) will resemble the former, and not the latter.

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