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Marine protected areas : gathering stakeholder input via an internet-based survey

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Conservation efforts have been increasing in recent years to help preserve threatened coastal and ocean resources. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an important tool to protect and conserve ocean resources. The MPA Center was established to take the lead in developing a framework for a national system of MPAs. The Natural Science Research Strategy (NSRS) for MPAs is a document being created to provide common ground among MPAs and MPA managers across the U.S. It will be a general document discussing the natural science considerations for establishing MPAs e.g., larval dispersal, critical habitat, proximity to land (runoff), etc. The MPA Center wants to engage stakeholders in the process of identifying regional design criteria and research needs for MPAs. An online survey has been chosen to gather this stakeholder input. Hypothetical draft questions regarding MPA design criteria and research needs were developed, survey methodologies were reviewed emphasizing web-based strategies, and a prototype survey developed online. This report outlines the work described above and suggests ways that the MPA Center can move forward with this process.

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