Thursday, November 8, 2007

MLPA Fact Sheet

What MLPA Does and Doesn’t Do

MLPA is designed to set aside state marine and intratidal zones to protect the marine habitat and biological diversity in the state's ocean waters threatened by coastal development, water pollution, and other human activities.

MLPA creates a network of protected sanctuaries from which—in theory—restored species will rebuild depleted fisheries. Protected areas are in three classes:

SMRs (State Marine Reserves). These areas are off-limits to any extractive activity, such as fishing. There are two flavors of SMR: No take and No go. In addition, there is a special consideration classification for bird nesting and seal nurseries, also no-go.

SMCAs (State Marine Conservation Areas) restrict human activities, for example which species and how many can be taken. There are 3 flavors of SMCA that allow varying levels of extractive activity.

SMPs (State Marine Parks) exclude any commercial fishing or harvesting of animals, plants, algae, or other resources.

MLPA does not change state quotas or limits on commercial or recreational fishing outside protected areas. MLPA does not restrict land use, water use, development, industrial activities, agriculture, or harvesting in watersheds that feed protected areas.

How MLPA Affects North Coast Property Owners

  • SMCAs and SMPs: Taking of certain species, most probably rockfish and abalone, will be restricted.
  • SMRs are designated “no-take” zones. Below the mean high tide line, this means:

- No fishing
- No taking of any marine animals, plants or algae
- No collecting
- No dead animals removal
- No driftwood or rock removal

  • An additional level of protection in SMRs is "no-go." No go is considered another "tool in the protection toolkit" by MLPA staff. In no-go areas, trespassing laws for people you catch in tidal areas cannot be enforced without breaking the law yourself.
  • Although DFG has committed to adding a few more enforcement officers, DFG is currently unable to fill open job requisitions.
  • Protected areas are defined by latitude and longitude and landmark. You may need a Global Positioning System to determine whether you are in violation.
  • Decisions about signage, public education, and enforcement mechanisms have not been part of the planning process. The BRTF is "unconcerned" about these issues.
  • MLPA introduces another layer of administration for protected areas to ensure that they are managed statewide as a network.
  • In the Central Coast, protected areas have been located adjacent to public or semi-public land (i.e., PG&E). In the North Central Coast study area, for the first time, MLPA “stakeholders” propose protected areas adjacent to private land.
  • MLPA’s mission to “improve recreational, educational and study opportunities” will encourage the public to believe they are entitled to access across private land.

Why Have You Not Heard About MLPA Until Recently?

  • · MLPA was enacted into California law in 1999. The statute called for implementation by January 1, 2003.
  • · MLPA was not funded. In 2004, Swartzenegger put the planning process on indefinite hold due to budget constraints and staff cuts.
  • · In 2004, Secretary of Resources Mike Chrisman found private grants for MLPA planning. $7.5MM in funding was secured from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and consolidated under the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF). The state of California has contributed ~$1,500,000.
  • · Salaries of the Blue Ribbon Panel, four MLPA staff, and several Department of Fish and Game staff are paid by RLFF. The planning process has been almost exclusively funded by RLFF.
  • · Between 2004 and 2007, the MLPA focused on Pigeon Point to Point Conception—the Central Coast. They convened the Blue Ribbon Panel, approved the Master Plan and designated protected areas.
  • · On August 17, 2006, the Fish and Game Commission approved SMCA and SMR maps for the Central Coast.
  • · In April 2007, the Blue Ribbon Task Force appointed members of the North Central Coast Regional Stakeholder Group.
  • · North Coast region public workshops were held in March 2007 in Gualala, April 2007 in Sausalito and May 2007 in San Francisco. Other public workshops have been held in Half Moon Bay, San Rafael, and Bodega Bay.
  • · “Stakeholder group” meetings were held on October 16-17 in Gualala.

Who Is Behind MLPA?

“Stakeholders”: North Central Coast Regional Stakeholder Group (RSG) was named in April 2007. Membership is now closed. Most proposals for protected areas come from NCCRSG. Of the 23 primary members, 6 represent commercial fishing interests, 5 are recreational fishermen and divers, 4 are environmental organizations, 2 are tour operators, and 6 represent public agencies. No coastal property owners are represented. Coastal property owners were deemed to be single-interest participants.

The Deciders: The Blue Ribbon Task Force decides which NCCRSG proposals to approve. Their decision goes to the Fish and Game Commission for approval. The Fish and Game Commission sets policy that the Department of Fish and Game enforces.

Follow the $$: Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF) is funding the planning and “public involvement” process, including all staff work. RLFF is a major funder of many environmental organizations and land trusts. RLFF gets its money from the Packard Foundation, the Moore Foundation, and the Marisla Foundation.

“Implementation” in the MLPA lexicon includes only identifying protected areas. Actual implementation of MLPA will fall on the Department of Fish and Game, which is funded by tax dollars.

What Is the Current Status of MLPA?

Completed Work

Regional profile
Proposed protected area alternatives


November 19-20, 2007 Next Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting

November 28, 2007

Special stakeholder meeting in San Rafael

December 11-12, 2007 Next stakeholder meeting in Pacifica

January 23-24, 2008 BRTF hearing on proposed North Coast maps

February 6-7, 2008 Stakeholder Group reviews preferred alternative maps

March 26-27, 2008 BRTF votes on preferred alternative maps

December 31, 2008 Conclusion of the North Coast planning process

What Can You Do?

  • Share your concerns with the Blue Ribbon Task Force at their next meeting Monday-Tuesday, November 19-20, 2007 Four Points by Sheraton, 1010 Northgate Drive, San Rafael, CA
  • Attend the special stakeholder meeting November 28 in San Rafael to speak out.
  • Attend the MLPA organizing meeting in Gualala Thursday December 6, 2007 sponsored by North Coast residents.
  • Attend the North Central Coast Regional Stakeholders meeting Tuesday-Wednesday, December 11-12, 2007 Best Western Lighthouse Hotel, 105 Rockaway Beach Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044
  • Email your input to
  • Write the decision-makers

Mike Chrisman
Secretary of Resources

1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

John McCamman
Interim Director of the Department of Fish and Game
1416 Ninth Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

John Carlson, Jr.
Executive Director

California Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Ken Wiseman
Executive Director
Marine Life Protection Act
c/o California Resources Agency

1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

Susan Golding
Chair, Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force
The Golding Group, Inc.

7770 Regents Road No. 113
San Diego, California 92122-1967

John Ugoretz
Policy Advisor
MLPA Initiative
c/o California Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814

Where Can I Learn More?

North Coast MLPA Home Page:

Proposed maps of North Coast protected areas:

MLPA Frequently Asked Questions:

MLPA summary:

MLPA Master Plan:

Gualala MLPA public workshop materials:

List of stakeholders:

Schedule of upcoming meetings:

Public Involvement Plan:

Maps of Central Coast MPAs:

List of related laws and public entities:

Coastside Fishing Club lawsuit against MLPA:

Underlying California law:

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