Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Scientific Advisory Team Meeting January 8 2008 Comments by Walter Ratcliff

Hello. My name is Walter Ratcliff. I’m representing the Sail Rock Ranch, which is fronted by what’s being called the Saunder’s Reef protected area in sub-region 1. We support the goals of MLPA and want to see it accomplish significant results. But we don’t see it heading in that direction in sub-region 1. Here’s why.

This map overlays the latest proposals in sub-region 1 and public access points. Siting decisions are pretty clearly a function of an effort to avoid existing access points. Is this a problem? Well, it depends on what you believe the scoring methodology is supposed to achieve.

Setting boundaries is an activity, not results. Results would be recovery of species. The multi-million dollar question is: will the activity lead to the result?

If you’ve been to previous meetings, you would have heard managers of the last three large intact lands in this area—Sail Rock Ranch, Haven’s Neck, and Richardson Ranch—talk about de facto preserves. We have protected the land-sea interface off these properties for 80 plus years.

It seems to us that the scoring method enables—actually encourages—the teams to put a new label—SMR, SMCA—on these areas and not actually change anything. Going back to the idea of focusing on results not activity:

If the scoring method simply ratifies the status quo, we ask you: what do you expect will be different at the end of the next 80 years?

Let me be clear. The Scientific Advisory Team shouldn’t settle for a re-labeling outcome. Applying science should result in better outcomes. We urge you to alter the evaluation guidance using a targeted, bottom-up perspective to protect what is NOT already protected.

Thank you.

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