Friday, February 8, 2008

Mike Chrisman Responds

In response to my December 14 letter to Chrisman, this response appears to have been written by Ken Wiseman.

January 16, 2008

Walter W. Ratcliff, Manager
Sail Rock Highlands LLC
31500 State Highway I
Gualala, CA 95445

Dear Mr. Ratcliff,

Thank you very much for your letter dated December 14, 2007 regarding the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. I appreciate your interest in the process and suggestions for improvements.

I understand from our MLPA staff that you and other members of Sail Rock Ranch have been actively involved in the MLPA Initiative process, by speaking at the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, North Central Coast Regional Stakeholder Group and Master Plan Science Advisory Team meetings. The MLPA Initiative process is one of the most extensive public processes I have ever seen in government, which I had the chance to witness firsthand in Gualala last October. I am pleased to know that you have been able to take advantage of this opportunity.

In response to specific points you raise in your letter:

• You are correct in that public access has been one of various criteria stakeholders have used in developing marine protected area (MPA) proposals; early in the MLPA Initiative process, the desire to maintain existing public access was raised by the public and consideration of that access was subsequently incorporated into the regional goals and objectives for this study region. I recognize and appreciate the impact land stewardship has on the surrounding environment. It is not our desire to discourage private landowners from protecting natural resources on or adjacent to their property.

• The Blue Ribbon Task Force has provisionally adopted goals and objectives for the study region that the science advisory team has indicated are measurable. In addition, the regional stakeholder group has developed objectives for each proposed MPA. Once the California Fish and Game Commission has acted on MPAs in the north central coast, a baseline evaluation will be conducted and then ongoing monitoring will be put in place, specifically to allow the state to determine if the adopted goals and objectives are being met through an adaptive management program.

• The Marine Life Protection Act requires the best readily available science be used to help inform the decision-making process. Over the last three years, two groups of esteemed scientists have worked to identify that science and how it should be applied to the MPA planning process; as with the overall MLPA Initiative process, a transparent public process was used to develop the science guidelines which were adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission.

• Every Californian has a stake in the outcome of this process. To help ensure that all voices are heard, the director of the California Department of Fish and Game and the chair of the task force appointed as broad a constituency representation as possible on the regional stakeholder group; combined with an extensive public outreach and participation strategy, a wide range of voices are being heard at the table, including those of private landowners. We strongly believe in a science-based process that includes the public in the design of California’s marine protected area network, and we believe we have a process which accomplished just that.

Thank you for your continued, active participation and recommendations for improving the MLPA Initiative process. If you have any questions, please contact Executive Director Ken Wiseman at (916) 653-5674.


Mike Chrisman
Secretary for Resources
cc: John Carlson, Executive Director, california Fish and Game Commission
Richard B. Rogers, President, California Fish and Game Commission
John McCamman, Acting Director, California Department of Fish and Game
MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force members
Ken Wiseman, Executive Director, MLPA Initiative

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