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  Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network Honored with Interior Department "Partners in Conservation" Award  
 
Award Recipients

From left: Marcilynn A. Burke, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Land and Minerals Management; Steve Murray, Interim Provost, California State University Fullerton; Richard Ambrose, Professor, Department of Environmental Health Services UCLA; Dan Richards, Biologist, Channel Islands National Park; David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior; Mary Elaine Helix, MARINe Manager, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Jack Engle, MARINe Coordinator, University of California Santa Barbara; Greg Boland, Benthic Sciences Program Coordinator, BOEM; Tommy Beaudreau, Director, BOEM.

 
 

MARINe – The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network – was honored with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Partners in Conservation award in recognition of the unique and extensive partnership that has developed among federal, state and tribal governments, local agencies, universities and private groups dedicated to the study and management of rocky intertidal shoreline habitats, one of our most diverse and vulnerable coastal resources. The award was presented by Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes during a special ceremony on October 18 at the Department's headquarters in Washington DC. "The Partners in Conservation Awards offer wonderful examples of how America's greatest conservation legacies are created when communities from a wide range of backgrounds work together," said Hayes.

MARINe's long-term monitoring program is the largest of its kind, involving 38 organizational sponsors, contributors and collaborators that monitor rocky intertidal species at over 135 sites on the east and west coasts. Accepting the award for 65 key representatives of the coastal network were MARINe Manager Mary Elaine Helix (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), MARINe Coordinator Dr. Jack Engle (University of California Santa Barbara), and MARINe Principal Investigators Dan Richards (Channel Islands National Park), Dr. Rich Ambrose (University of California Los Angeles), Dr. Steve Murray (California State University Fullerton) and BOEM Benthic Science Program Coordinator, Greg Boland.

This prestigious awards program recognizes partnerships that promote conservation, protect natural and cultural resources, use innovative approaches for resource management, and engage youth and diverse entities in accomplishing the Department's mission. "These awards recognize dedicated citizens from across our nation who collaborate to conserve and restore America's Great Outdoors, encourage youth involvement in conservation, and forge solutions to complex natural resource challenges," Hayes said. "We are strongest and best when we are leveraging what we do with our partners." The annual award was established by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in 2009.

A national panel assembled by the Department of the Interior selected the award winners from a large slate of nominees submitted by all Interior bureaus. MARINe was nominated for the award by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The winners were selected for their exceptional contributions to conservation and management of the public lands. This year's awards recognize more than 700 individuals from 17 organizations that have achieved exemplary conservation results through public-private cooperation and community engagement. Other 2012 award winners include organizations nominated by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management.

The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network is a partnership of agencies, universities and private groups committed to determining the health of the rocky intertidal habitat and providing this information to the public. MARINe conducts long-term monitoring of marine life at representative intertidal locations along the West Coast from Alaska to Mexico, including the Channel Islands, with additional sites also monitored in the Northeastern US. The Network was formalized in 1997; however, standardized surveys at early sites have been monitored for 20-30 years. This remarkable, extensive dataset is shared on a common database available to partner agencies and the public http://www.marine.gov; http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal. Findings from this unique program indicate that many rocky shores are under stress, with some tidepool populations changing significantly over the past several decades. Factors associated with these changes include public use, fishing pressure, poaching, pollution, disease epidemics, and climate change. MARINe data documented catastrophic declines in black abalone in the 1980's and thereafter (due to harvest and withering disease) that led to closure of the fishery in 1993 and listing as an endangered species in 2009. MARINe also discovered that owl limpets near unprotected public access areas are smaller than those in remote or protected locations; that invasive species are showing up along our shores, that mussels and seastars declined significantly in southernmost California sites since the 1970's, and that rockweeds were impacted by oil spills in San Francisco Bay. The Network is helping evaluate the effectiveness of new California Marine Protected Areas and is developing long-term methodology for detecting climate change effects, including temperature effects, sea level changes, and ocean acidification. MARINe collaborations include joint programs with the National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary Program, U.S. Navy, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Mussel Watch, California Department of Fish and Game, California Ocean Science Trust, California State Water Resources Control Board, and numerous local agencies and universities.

 
 

 

Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network Partnership in Conservation Award Full Citation:

This Partners in Conservation Award is presented to MARINe – The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network – in recognition of the unique and extensive partnership that has developed among federal, state and tribal governments, local agencies, universities and private groups dedicated to the study and management of rocky intertidal shoreline habitats, one of our most diverse and vulnerable coastal resources. MARINe provides a scientific foundation for decision making, ensures the quality and relevance of science products, provides science for adaptive management of regulatory oversight affecting resources and provides scientific data to inform communities. This long-term monitoring program is the largest of its kind, involving 38 sponsors, contributors and collaborators that biannually monitor rocky intertidal species at over 135 sites on the east and west coasts. MARINe, a model partnership in existence for over a decade is funded entirely by the contributions of its members, who jointly publish data in peer-reviewed literature, provide information to resource managers and actively support public education about tidepools.

This partnership ensures that the authoritative data collected under the program result from sound science and are relevant for resource management. The standardized protocols and shared database allow the partners to compare their data across the entire network of sites. The geographically broad and long-term data set enables managers to evaluate large changes in the ecosystem, such as effects from global climate change. It also allows managers to tease out one-time perturbations, such as effects from an oil spill or pollution event, from natural variation in the community. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management expects to employ the information gained from MARINe to understand and predict the effect of wave energy conversion projects on biological communities.

Our coastlines are home to dynamic, highly diverse biological communities that are subject to dramatic changes due to natural phenomena and human activity. MARINe is committed to the long-term study of these rocky intertidal communities in order to determine the health of the habitat and provide this information to the public. Findings from this broad-based and distinctive long-term monitoring program indicate that many rocky shores along the coast, particularly those near urban centers, are under stress, with some intertidal populations changing significantly over the past several decades. Factors correlated with these changes include: increases in public use of the shoreline, increased fishing pressure, poaching and pollution.

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