PA-CAT 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

Puerto Rico’s Protected Areas Map and Inventory Updated

SAN JUAN — The partnership of government agencies and non-governmental organizations known as the Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT) released today the 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico. The updated inventory includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. In 2016, 1,076 hectares (2,659 acres) were added to the protected land inventory while a new marine extent added 6,490 hectares (16,036 acres) to the protected seas around Puerto Rico. These additions bring the amount of terrestrial protected areas to 16.1% and 26.7% for marine protected areas. Additionally, six area boundaries and changes in the attribute table for eight areas are included in this update. After the team updated the inventory, the Government of Puerto Rico declared the zone of Mar Chiquita in the municipality of Manatí a nature reserve; this new reserve will be included in the December 2017 update next year.


The December 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.

The December 2016 update of the Protected Areas Inventory of Puerto Rico includes eight new terrestrial protected areas from Para La Naturaleza and two from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources. Partners worked together to identify and compile updates of the protected areas of Puerto Rico from each agency’s database. This year, the U.S Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry GIS Lab undertook the technical tasks to update the island’s inventory and create the map figures, while collaborating with personnel from the DNER Coastal Management Program and Para La Naturaleza to document the changes and identify issues between datasets (Cartography Credit: Maya Quiñones, U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry).


The PA-CAT was formalized in 2015 and in December of that year the first collaborative protected areas inventory and map were released. The action team plans to release a new version each year in the month of December for use by multiple agencies, organizations, and the public. No single inventory or common terminology for the different protected area designations existed prior to 2015. Despite past efforts to develop a comprehensive inventory of protected areas for the island, individual agency inventories continued to evolve with little input and in isolation from each other.  By working together team members are moving towards a unified vision for protected areas in Puerto Rico. This vision should reduce the long recognized limitations in planning and monitoring of conservation effectiveness. These limitations result from the lack of standard terminology, guidelines or protocols combined with historical fragmentation and complexity of policies applied to the natural protected areas. The PA-CAT defines a Natural Protected Area as “a geographic area clearly defined and delimited through legal or other effective means for the long-term conservation of its natural resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services and associated cultural values.”  On April 19, 2016 the principal entities of the team signed a collaborative agreement to coordinate efforts to develop and manage information and to provide mechanisms and protection strategies for natural protected areas and cultural resources in public and private lands in Puerto Rico.


To view the map interactively or to access the data visit: CLCC Interactive Map

To view the map interactively or to download the data visit:

CLCC Interactive Map in the Data Center or the Caribbean Conservation Planning Atlas.

Data can also be downloaded at the U.S. Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry website.



December 2016 Protected Areas Inventory 
164 total PAs (not counting legacy areas as individual PAs)
137 terrestrial
27 marine
3 small areas of overlap between PAs. In revision
9 zonas de amortiguamiento (not counted as PAs)
1076 ha (2659 acres) increase in terrestrial PA land from 2015 inventory
6490 ha (16036 acres) increase in marine PA extent from 2015 inventory
143590.09 ha (354818.85 acres) total land protected in 2016
361887.17 ha (894242.67 acres) total sea protected in 2016
16.1% 2016 % of terrestrial PAs
26.7% 2016 % of marine PAs


Changes between the 2015 and 2016 inventories

New Areas

Para La Naturaleza:

  1. 1. Área Natural Protegida Rio Bairoa
  2. Área Natural Protegida La Pitahaya
  3. Área Natural Protegida Los Llanos
  4. Área Natural Protegida Cerro La Tuna
  5. Área Natural Protegida Rio Toa Vaca
  6. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Lago
  7. Área Natural Protegida Freddie Ramírez
  8. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Pellejas

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

  1. Reserva Natural Playa Grande El Paraíso—DRNA
  2. Ext. Marina R.N. Playa Larga El Paraíso—DRNA

Changes in the Boundaries

Para La Naturaleza

  1. Área Natural Protegida Medio Mundo y Daguao
  2. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Buena Vista—absorbs Marueño
  3. Área Natural Protegida Río Encantado—overlap with the Karst Conservation Zone
  4. Área Natural Protegida Cañón San Cristóbal

Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources:

  1. Reserva Natural Planadas – Yeyesa—DRNA
  2. Finca Nolla—DRNA

Overlap Problems Corrected

  1. Área Natural Protegida Hacienda Pellejas—small overlap (2.4 ha) in the southern area with the Bosque del Pueblo in Adjuntas
  2. Planadas Yeyesa—small overlap (.04 ha) with Piedras del Collado

Changes in the Attributes

  1. Conservation Easement Reserva Natural Punta Ballenas—Designation: Bosque Estatal / Reserva Natural / Servidumbre de Conservación
  2. Name change to R.V.S. Iris Alameda de Boquerón – B.E.  de Boquerón
  3. Name change to Reserva Natural Cayo Ratones – B. E. de Boquerón
  4. Área Natural Protegida Marueño— changed to be part of Hacienda Buena Vista
  5. ANP Pedro Marrero changed name to ANP Río Sana Muerto
  6. Conservation Easement Don Ingenio changed name to ANP Río Toro Negro
  7. Name change to Guayama Research Area
  8. Name change to Manati Research Area
  9. Área Natural Protegida Finca Jájome—name change to Área Natural Protegida Jájome
  10. Área Natural Protegida Sendra—name change to Área Natural Protegida Hermanas Sendra
  11. Finca Los Frailes—name change to Área Natural Protegida Los Frailes
  12. Finca Shapiro—name change to Área Natural Protegida Shapiro
  13. Área Natural Protegida Río Toa Vaca—name change to Área Natural Protegida Toa Vaca

Additions to the Puerto Rico Protected Areas Inventory shown in dark green for terrestrial areas and dark blue for marine extents.

Additions to the Puerto Rico Protected Areas Inventory shown in dark green for terrestrial areas and dark blue for marine extents.

The Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT) is composed of multiple partners, including Federal and State agencies, non-governmental organizations and individuals from Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. These include, among others,  the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR),  International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) of the United States Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Puerto Rico Conservation Trust and its unit Para La Naturaleza,  Foundation Alma de Bahía, Bahía Beach Resort, Puerto Rico Planning Board, Foundation for Development Planning, Inc., University of the Virgin Islands, and the University of Puerto Rico. These agencies and organizations work together in an alliance called the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Protected Areas Conservation Action Team – Technical Group Work Session (Puerto Rico)

Work Session Agenda:
– Brief general announcements and other tasks
– IUCN data for protected areas in PR, which DNER will be able to use as input for their meeting with reserve management officers in late September Tasks prior to meeting:
Participants: 1. Soledad Gaztambide-Arandes 2. Kasey R. Jacobs-Curran 3. Jessica Castro-Prieto 4. Maya Quiñones 5. Bill Gould 6. Iván Llerandi-Román 7. Carlos J. Cruz-Quiñones 8. Vicente Quevedo-Bonilla 9. Darien López-Ocasio 10. Mabel Rivera-Sanabria 11. María Luisa Rivera-Vázquez 12. Carolyn Cabrera-Semidey 13. Daniel Díaz-Torres 14. Rafael Marrero-Arce 15. Luis Villanueva-Cubero 16. Víctor J. Rodriguez-Cruz 17. Brent Murry 18. Coralys D. Ortiz Maldonado 19. Marcela Cañón 20. Adriana González-Delgado Will attend via phone: – Kasey Jacobs Excused: – 1. Rebecca de la Cruz – 2. Sandra A. Soto-Bayó

July 2016 CLCC Quarterly Connections Newsletter


Announcing the new CLCC Coordinator and more!

¡Para la version en español haga clic aquí!

Inside this Issue:

  • Progress Report: CLCC Steering Committee continues restructuring progress
  • Announcement of new CLCC Coordinator – Welcome Dr. Miguel “Toño” García!
  • Brief notes from Conservation Action Teams
  • New on the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas
  • Rare Elfin Woods Warbler receives Endangered Species Act Protection
  • Opportunities for students and young professionals
  • New story map for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy
  • Missed the #CaribbeanClimateTalks webinar last month? View recording.
  • New Opportunities and Events
  • Publications and Reports

Feature Photo: Members of the CLCC Steering Committee met at US EPA Region 2 Caribbean Environmental Protection Division headquarters in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico on June 28th, 2016.
Photo Credit: Natalie Giro, US EPA Intern

We are a science partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in achieving a sustainable future for the Caribbean Islands, by addressing cooperatively the issues that currently threaten our natural and cultural resources.

Progress Report: CLCC Steering Committee Continues Restructuring Progress

In the March 2016 Quarterly Connections Newsletter Recent Progress in Our Strategic Direction, we announced the Steering Committee’s decision to hire a full-time coordinator. The search then began for a highly qualified individual to be the lead facilitator of cooperative activities and programs. The new coordinator’s responsibilities are: 1) to ensure the Cooperative coordinates across geographic areas and other boundaries; 2) provides scientific and technical coordination support to the activities and programs of the CLCC; 3) facilitates scientific expertise, coordination, and leadership in developing fish and wildlife conservation strategies and plans; 4) provides leadership in creating, guiding, facilitating, and nurturing an interdependent network; and 5) serves as supervisor for a staff of scientists, planners, and other professionals from CLCC-member agencies assigned to or working for the CLCC.

Photo Credit: Natalie Giro, US EPA Intern

While the search for the full-time coordinator was underway, Brent Murry, CLCC Science Coordinator and Science Applications Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); Iván Llerandi-Román, Caribbean Coordinator of the Partner for Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Programs, USFWS; and Soledad Gaztambide, Policy and Government Relations Coordinator for Para la Naturaleza (the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust) each served as the Acting Coordinator for varying periods of time. Prior to the selected coordinator being able to assume his new role, Lisamarie Carrubba, Natural Resource Planner and lead of the NOAA Fisheries Caribbean Field Office and a CLCC founding member will fill the role of Acting Coordinator. Thank you to the USFWS, Para la Naturaleza, and NOAA Fisheries for providing this series of detailees.

At the same face-to-face meeting at Para La Naturaleza headquarters in November 2015 where it was decided to hire a full-time coordinator, the Steering Committee acknowledged the need to set a strategic direction for the CLCC. It was determined that a new internal structure was needed to maximize the energy and resources of individual member organizations. Chairperson Leo Miranda, USFWS Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services in the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and founding CLCC member, presented the committee with his decision to step down as chair. Leo acknowledged the need for a chair who can dedicate more time to CLCC issues, such as the restructuring process. In accordance with this new direction, the co-chairs and founding members Jean-Pierre Oriol, Director of the Virgin Islands DPNR-Division of Coastal Zone Management, and Ernesto L. Diaz, Director of the Puerto Rico DNER-Climate Change and Coastal Zone Office, also stepped down, though all three continue serving on the Steering Committee. The CLCC staff wishes to thank Leo, Ernesto, and Jean-Pierre for their leadership and service since 2012. We look forward to continuing to work together in these exciting times of large-scale conservation partnerships in the region. Continue reading the progress report…

New CLCC Coordinator:
Welcome Dr. Miguel “Toño” García!

Earlier this month, the USFWS selected the new Coordinator for the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative — Dr. Miguel García.

Miguel is currently the Undersecretary for Protected Areas and Biodiversity for the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER). He has also served as the Director of Fisheries and Wildlife, Endangered Species Coordinator, and as a Wildlife Biologist for the DNER. During his career, he has received numerous appointments and recognitions, including serving as the Puerto Rico representative to the Caribbean Biological Corridor Initiative, a United Nations Program, as an Affiliate Researcher at the University of Puerto Rico Center for Applied Tropical Ecology and Conservation, and is currently the President of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Miguel holds a Bachelor and Master degrees in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment of the University of Michigan. He is expected to report as the new CLCC coordinator later this summer.

Leopoldo Miranda, CLCC Steering Committee member and former Chair, would like to thank Jerry McMahon and Jorge Baez of the CLCC Steering Committee; Edwin Muñiz, Project Leader for the Caribbean Ecological Services Office; and Luis Santiago and Allan Brown from the USFWS Regional Directorate for their help in the selection process.
Join us in welcoming Dr. Miguel García to the Caribbean LCC!

Photo Credit: Aitza Pabón, DNER

Brief Conservation Action Team Notes

Protected Areas

The Protected Areas Conservation Action Team (PA-CAT), composed of the principal entities that manage Puerto Rico’s natural resources, celebrated the announcement that Puerto Rico achieved protection of 16 percent of its territory in April 2016.

The 16 percent target was reached by adding existing Natural Protected Areas (NPAs) acquired by the Commonwealth not previously counted toward that end, the acquisition of new lands for conservation by governmental and non-governmental organizations, and a revision of the methodology traditionally used to count NPAs, which included the development of a new definition of NPAs that is in line with the parameters established in the United States and the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the global level.

This new definition by the PA-CAT establishes that “A Natural Protected Area is a geographic area clearly defined and limited through legal or other effective means for long-term conservation of nature, biodiversity, ecological services and associated cultural values.”

To learn more about the new methodology, read a blog article or, for more detailed information, read the Puerto Rico Team’s Technical Note here in Spanish.


Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation

The Conservation Action Team focused on dune systems (Dune-CAT; Dune Building and Stabilization with Vegetation CAT) is currently working to select beaches in Puerto Rico suitable for dune restoration and stabilization using vegetation. To do so, they are using existing inventories of beaches from the Puerto Rico DNER Office for Coastal Management and Climate Change; Dr. Maritza Barreto, University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras; and Dr. Rosana Grafals Soto, University of Puerto Rico – Cayey. The CAT is using these data along with other qualitative and quantitative data for a select set of team-designed criteria to perform a landscape-scale analysis in order to find candidate beaches.

The selected beaches will be used for demonstration sites, education and awareness building, nursery propagation, and the development of a municipal guide to dune building and stabilization with vegetation.  Municipalities with candidate beaches around Puerto Rico will then have a guide and be able to consider dune restoration as a means to protect critical infrastructure, coastal communities, and coastal ecosystems.  If you are interested in joining the Dune-CAT and assisting with this landscape analysis to find candidate beaches, please contact Pedro González of Mare Society at

Photo Credit: Ricardo J. Colón-Rivera, DNER

New on the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas


Last year the CLCC began a partnership with the Conservation Biology Institute to enhance the data discovery, visualization, and analytical platform for stakeholders throughout the Caribbean through the CLCC Conservation Planning Atlas (CPA). The CLCC continues to use the CLCC Data Center and Interactive Map for sharing spatial layers and climate data for the region but the CPA is meant for a broader audience. With the CLCC CPA, users can view, retrieve and perform analyses on geospatial data collected for specific conservation goals and priorities; search for spatial datasets; visualize CLCC-supported projects; and learn more about landscape scale conservation science and design in the region. Currently the CPA has two galleries, one for the PA-CAT and another for the Cay Systems CAT that are open to the public.

Have research or management questions that would benefit from spatial data? View, analyze, and download the datasets today!

Rare Elfin Woods Warbler Receives Federal Endangered Species Act Protection

Photo Credit: Mike Morel

A message from former Acting Coordinator Soledad Gaztambide-Arandes, Para La Naturaleza:

I was asked to share this important news with the CLCC Steering Committee and partners. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the Elfin Woods Warbler (Setophaga angelae) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As you know, this is a complex and long process. We congratulate the FWS Regional and Field Offices on this effort and hope that they are able to complete the process of extending protection to this species’ critical habitat. They are accepting comments on the proposed critical habitat rule until August 22. Continue reading

Opportunities for Students and Young Professionals

CLCC Communications Assistant/Intern Position Available. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

CLCC Data Management Assistant/Intern Position Available. Application Deadline: Rolling deadline (all year round). Read the full internship announcement. 

Virtual Meeting Facilitator. Paid per meeting. We have funding available for Virtual Meeting Facilitators to assist us during annual conferences and quarterly Steering Committee meetings. No experience necessary. Contact our Partnership & Communications Coordinator if you would like to be added to our list of potential service providers.

New Story Map for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy Features PR and USVI

The dramatic changes sweeping the United States’ Southeast and Caribbean regions —urbanization, competition for water resources, extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and climate change — pose unprecedented challenges for sustaining natural and cultural resources. However, they also offer a clear opportunity to unite the conservation community around a shared, long-term vision for the future. The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) is that vision.

Six Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) across the Southeast have joined forces with the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a website for the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS). SECAS was initiated by states of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and the federal Southeast Natural Resource Leaders Group with support from Southeast and Caribbean LCCs and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership. SECAS is bringing together people and organizations to design and achieve a connected network of landscapes and seascapes that supports thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people across the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The website explains the need for SECAS, explains the “Blueprint” conservation design processes being carried out across the six LCCs, features a Story Map of example projects, and more, including two from Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Explore the new SECAS website at

Cynthia Edwards, SECAS Coordinator, recently provided a SECAS summary for the Southeast and Caribbean LCCs. View the summary here >>


Missed the #CaribbeanClimateTalks Webinar last month? View recording. 

Status of Developing Multi-Model Ensemble Projections for Ecologically Relevant Climate Variables in Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands


#CaribbeanClimateTalks Webinar - June 27, 2016


New Opportunities and Events

National Wildlife Refuge Association is hiring a Caribbean Conservation Coordinator. Read Position Description. 

Island Conservation is hiring a Bahamas Project Manager. Read Position Description. 

Supervisory Biologist at US Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry. Read Position Description. 

NOAA Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program. Read more here. 

Webinar: An Overview of NRCS’s PLANTS database. Read more here. 

Annual Conference of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Baton Rouge, LA.  Read more here. 

8th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and 25th Biennial Meeting of The Coastal Society, New Orleans, LA. Read more here.

Publications and Reports

National Academy of Sciences Review of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

USDA Caribbean Regional Climate Sub Hub Agricultural Vulnerability Assessment for Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands.

US Virgin Islands Report: Ecosystem-based Adaptation Guidance Promoting Resilient Coastal and Marine Communities.

US Virgin Islands Climate Products Factsheet

Quantifying key drivers of climate variability and change for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean by K.Hayhoe. Read the Report.

New Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network Strategic Plan 2014. Read the Plan.

Downscaled Climate Projections for the Southeast United States: Evaluation and Use for Ecological Applications. Read the Report.

National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. Taking Action Progress Report September 2014. Read the Progress Report.

A Compendium of Conservation Organizations for the US Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico. Read the Report.

A Compendium of Conservation Organizations for the Insular Caribbean, Belize, Suriname, Guyana. Read the Report.

State of the Birds 2014 Report. Read the Report.

National Climate Assessment: Tools for Educators. Our Changing Climate.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences