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Table 1

Examples of strategies and existing applications that can be used to help support ecological resilience to ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/elementa.198.t1

Strategiesa     Example applicationsb

 
1. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) 
Incorporate OAH considerations into MPA site selection and/or network design or refinement. 
  • Locate some MPAs in areas less exposed to OAH where vulnerability to OAH-caused ecological change is lower.

  • Locate some MPAs in areas that naturally experience OAH stress; populations in such areas may have greater physiological tolerance to OAH or greater potential for evolutionary adaptation.

  • Locate some MPAs to protect ecosystems that could help attenuate local or regional OAH through biogeochemical cycling.

 
  • Existing MPAs in Washington State are regularly exposed to OA; they can serve as test areas to evaluate physiological tolerance to OA.

  • National Estuarine Research Reserves may function as ‘buffering MPAs’ and can serve as test areas to evaluate changes in carbon dynamics and biogeochemical cycling under intensifying OAH.

 
Update management goals and evaluation. 
  • Ensure that management goals and performance evaluations accurately reflect the potential for significant ecological change associated with changes in ocean chemistry.

  • Move away from species-based goals and metrics towards those focused on ecological resilience and adaptive capacity.

  • Identify and implement management actions to reduce MPA vulnerability to OAH, such as by reducing local land-based contributions to OAH (e.g., nutrient inputs).

 
 
Support management-relevant science and monitoring. 
  • Improve understanding of whether, where, and how MPAs can contribute to ecological resilience under OAH.

  • Improve understanding of OAH effects on the structures, functions, and processes of protected ecosystems.

  • Develop modeling and scenario analysis tools to identify potential ecosystem trajectories and test alternative management interventions under projected OAH changes. Use this information to develop tools to integrate OAH considerations into MPA policies, siting, and design to support MPA-specific or regional resilience goals.

  • Implement MPA monitoring to track changing ocean chemistry and ecological impacts. Develop metrics and methods to monitor ecological resilience.

 
  • Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara are evaluating spatial scales of OAH variability relative to MPAs in the South Coast regional MPA network (G. Hofmann, pers. comm.), and piloting a coupled MPA monitoring – OA sensor network.

  • The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel developed a monitoring framework that prioritizes management relevant questions and couples biological and chemical data collection (http://www.westcoastOAH.org).

  • The California Ocean Science Trust is leading development of an OAH hotspots inventory, with support from California Ocean Protection Council, to map locations of vulnerability and potential adaptive capacity, align these with existing MPA, fisheries and habitat protections, and inform long-term monitoring design.

 
2. Fisheries Management 
Advance ecosystem-based policies to guide management. 
  • Integrate OAH considerations into ecosystem approaches to fisheries management.

  • Periodically update state and federal fishery management plans to incorporate improved understanding of the impacts and feedbacks among OAH, ecological processes, and fisheries management. Periodically re-evaluate ways in which individual fisheries could be managed to enhance ecological resilience under OAH.

 
  • The Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2013 includes summary information on OAH (PFMC 2013). Future updates to the FEP will include considerations of OAH into plans that guide management of >115 species by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

  • The NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy provides complementary guidance and stresses the importance of identifying and tracking climate impacts on ecosystems within an adaptive management context (http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/ecosystems/climate/national-climate-strategy).

 
Build decision-maker understanding. 
  • Improve understanding of OAH among key fisheries decision-makers and regulators in the private and public sectors through increased communication about OAH processes, impacts, and responses.

  • Provide forecasts of OAH conditions to decision-makers and users at spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to their management needs.

 
 
Invest in expanding scientific knowledge and tools. 
  • Develop scenario-based simulation models and risk assessment frameworks to explore interactions and feedbacks among OAH, fisheries management, and ecological resilience.

  • Develop and implement indicators of ecological resilience and of OAH impacts on fisheries and the ecosystems on which they depend. Use indicators to track and report trends.

  • Coordinate sharing and integration of new information as it is developed and make it available for fishery management applications.

 
  • Scenario-based simulation models for Puget Sound have begun to explore OAH impacts on fisheries yields, food webs, and biodiversity, how management choices affect impacts, and the feedbacks among OAH, fisheries management, and ecosystem resilience (see Kaplan et al., 2010; Busch et al., 2013).

  • NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment provides scientific support for ecosystem approaches through the development of tools for assessment.

  • In California, new research is exploring ecological risk assessments as a mechanism to integrate climate, OAH and other risks and uncertainties into state fishery management decisions.

 
3. Coastal Management 
Protect ecosystems that sequester carbon. 
  • Protect habitats that support beneficial ecological and biogeochemical processes.

  • Protect seagrass and kelp beds that have the potential to ameliorate local pH through carbon assimilation and sequestration.

 
  • Protection and restoration of eelgrass meadows have been recommended as management actions to address OAH in Washington state and California (Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, 2012; West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel: Major Findings, Recommendations and Actions, 2016).

 
Integrate OAH into coastal ecosystem management frameworks and actions. 
  • Advocate for resources to assist local and regional coastal managers in addressing OAH, for example through cooperative research and demonstration projects.

  • Work with water quality regulators to develop and refine indicators and metrics of OAH.

  • Update place-based management plans and models to include OAH. Manage water circulation, stratification and retention in coastal areas via management of flow rates, water column depth and structures.

  • Include OAH in public education. Provide information to diversify and broaden the audiences who understand the implications of OAH for the places and ecosystems that matter to them.

 
  • In Washington State, collaborative projects by the Puget Sound Restoration Fund are underway to rebuild Olympia oyster populations by providing critical habitat and water quality characteristics that also enhance local ecosystem functioning (http://www.restorationfund.org/projects/olympiaoyster).

  • In Washington State, OA monitoring data from multiple sources have been shared with state and federal water quality regulators.

 
Support research to advance management approaches. 
  • Conduct research and assessments to inform local plans and actions, including research to evaluate the efficacy of carbon assimilation and sequestration as a means of addressing local OAH.

  • Improve understanding of the role of retention and stratification in coastal waters for use in mitigating local OAH effects.

  • Support monitoring to assess status and trends of OAH in coastal and estuarine waters and promote open sharing of the data.

 
  • The California Ocean Protection Council is supporting research to develop coupled oceanographic and biogeochemical models to understand the role of nutrient discharges and coastal oceanography on OAH in the Southern California Bight.

  • The Washington Department of Ecology is working to quantify the role of key natural and human-influenced processes that contribute to acidification, as recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. This effort includes investiging the role of nutrient pollution from land-based sources.

  • In Washington State, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund is investigating the utility of kelp culture to ameliorate local OA conditions.

  • In California, management of hypoxia in Pescadero Lagoon is being attempted via management of flow rate and mouth state.

 
Strategiesa     Example applicationsb

 
1. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) 
Incorporate OAH considerations into MPA site selection and/or network design or refinement. 
  • Locate some MPAs in areas less exposed to OAH where vulnerability to OAH-caused ecological change is lower.

  • Locate some MPAs in areas that naturally experience OAH stress; populations in such areas may have greater physiological tolerance to OAH or greater potential for evolutionary adaptation.

  • Locate some MPAs to protect ecosystems that could help attenuate local or regional OAH through biogeochemical cycling.

 
  • Existing MPAs in Washington State are regularly exposed to OA; they can serve as test areas to evaluate physiological tolerance to OA.

  • National Estuarine Research Reserves may function as ‘buffering MPAs’ and can serve as test areas to evaluate changes in carbon dynamics and biogeochemical cycling under intensifying OAH.

 
Update management goals and evaluation. 
  • Ensure that management goals and performance evaluations accurately reflect the potential for significant ecological change associated with changes in ocean chemistry.

  • Move away from species-based goals and metrics towards those focused on ecological resilience and adaptive capacity.

  • Identify and implement management actions to reduce MPA vulnerability to OAH, such as by reducing local land-based contributions to OAH (e.g., nutrient inputs).

 
 
Support management-relevant science and monitoring. 
  • Improve understanding of whether, where, and how MPAs can contribute to ecological resilience under OAH.

  • Improve understanding of OAH effects on the structures, functions, and processes of protected ecosystems.

  • Develop modeling and scenario analysis tools to identify potential ecosystem trajectories and test alternative management interventions under projected OAH changes. Use this information to develop tools to integrate OAH considerations into MPA policies, siting, and design to support MPA-specific or regional resilience goals.

  • Implement MPA monitoring to track changing ocean chemistry and ecological impacts. Develop metrics and methods to monitor ecological resilience.

 
  • Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara are evaluating spatial scales of OAH variability relative to MPAs in the South Coast regional MPA network (G. Hofmann, pers. comm.), and piloting a coupled MPA monitoring – OA sensor network.

  • The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel developed a monitoring framework that prioritizes management relevant questions and couples biological and chemical data collection (http://www.westcoastOAH.org).

  • The California Ocean Science Trust is leading development of an OAH hotspots inventory, with support from California Ocean Protection Council, to map locations of vulnerability and potential adaptive capacity, align these with existing MPA, fisheries and habitat protections, and inform long-term monitoring design.

 
2. Fisheries Management 
Advance ecosystem-based policies to guide management. 
  • Integrate OAH considerations into ecosystem approaches to fisheries management.

  • Periodically update state and federal fishery management plans to incorporate improved understanding of the impacts and feedbacks among OAH, ecological processes, and fisheries management. Periodically re-evaluate ways in which individual fisheries could be managed to enhance ecological resilience under OAH.

 
  • The Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) adopted by the Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2013 includes summary information on OAH (PFMC 2013). Future updates to the FEP will include considerations of OAH into plans that guide management of >115 species by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

  • The NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy provides complementary guidance and stresses the importance of identifying and tracking climate impacts on ecosystems within an adaptive management context (http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/ecosystems/climate/national-climate-strategy).

 
Build decision-maker understanding. 
  • Improve understanding of OAH among key fisheries decision-makers and regulators in the private and public sectors through increased communication about OAH processes, impacts, and responses.

  • Provide forecasts of OAH conditions to decision-makers and users at spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to their management needs.

 
 
Invest in expanding scientific knowledge and tools. 
  • Develop scenario-based simulation models and risk assessment frameworks to explore interactions and feedbacks among OAH, fisheries management, and ecological resilience.

  • Develop and implement indicators of ecological resilience and of OAH impacts on fisheries and the ecosystems on which they depend. Use indicators to track and report trends.

  • Coordinate sharing and integration of new information as it is developed and make it available for fishery management applications.

 
  • Scenario-based simulation models for Puget Sound have begun to explore OAH impacts on fisheries yields, food webs, and biodiversity, how management choices affect impacts, and the feedbacks among OAH, fisheries management, and ecosystem resilience (see Kaplan et al., 2010; Busch et al., 2013).

  • NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment provides scientific support for ecosystem approaches through the development of tools for assessment.

  • In California, new research is exploring ecological risk assessments as a mechanism to integrate climate, OAH and other risks and uncertainties into state fishery management decisions.

 
3. Coastal Management 
Protect ecosystems that sequester carbon. 
  • Protect habitats that support beneficial ecological and biogeochemical processes.

  • Protect seagrass and kelp beds that have the potential to ameliorate local pH through carbon assimilation and sequestration.

 
  • Protection and restoration of eelgrass meadows have been recommended as management actions to address OAH in Washington state and California (Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, 2012; West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel: Major Findings, Recommendations and Actions, 2016).

 
Integrate OAH into coastal ecosystem management frameworks and actions. 
  • Advocate for resources to assist local and regional coastal managers in addressing OAH, for example through cooperative research and demonstration projects.

  • Work with water quality regulators to develop and refine indicators and metrics of OAH.

  • Update place-based management plans and models to include OAH. Manage water circulation, stratification and retention in coastal areas via management of flow rates, water column depth and structures.

  • Include OAH in public education. Provide information to diversify and broaden the audiences who understand the implications of OAH for the places and ecosystems that matter to them.

 
  • In Washington State, collaborative projects by the Puget Sound Restoration Fund are underway to rebuild Olympia oyster populations by providing critical habitat and water quality characteristics that also enhance local ecosystem functioning (http://www.restorationfund.org/projects/olympiaoyster).

  • In Washington State, OA monitoring data from multiple sources have been shared with state and federal water quality regulators.

 
Support research to advance management approaches. 
  • Conduct research and assessments to inform local plans and actions, including research to evaluate the efficacy of carbon assimilation and sequestration as a means of addressing local OAH.

  • Improve understanding of the role of retention and stratification in coastal waters for use in mitigating local OAH effects.

  • Support monitoring to assess status and trends of OAH in coastal and estuarine waters and promote open sharing of the data.

 
  • The California Ocean Protection Council is supporting research to develop coupled oceanographic and biogeochemical models to understand the role of nutrient discharges and coastal oceanography on OAH in the Southern California Bight.

  • The Washington Department of Ecology is working to quantify the role of key natural and human-influenced processes that contribute to acidification, as recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. This effort includes investiging the role of nutrient pollution from land-based sources.

  • In Washington State, the Puget Sound Restoration Fund is investigating the utility of kelp culture to ameliorate local OA conditions.

  • In California, management of hypoxia in Pescadero Lagoon is being attempted via management of flow rate and mouth state.

 

aGeneral strategies that can be adopted despite current uncertainties about the timing, scale and magnitude of OAH ecosystem impacts. Whether, where, and how each strategy might be implemented will depend on the specific management situation; some strategies will be more appropriate in certain situations than others.

bReal-world examples of tools and practices now in place within the California Current region illustrating how each strategy could be implemented within existing management frameworks.

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