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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium ISSUES

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium This page in the original is blank.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium COASTAL OCEAN HABITAT MITIGATION STRATEGIES Introduction Coastal habitats can be changed by various human influences, as well as by natural processes. These can be physical changes (e.g., placement of physical structures in coastal areas, dredging and filling, and changes in freshwater inflow), chemical changes (introduction of nutrients and contaminants), and biological changes (introduction or elimination of organisms and species). Increasingly, coastal managers attempt to minimize or reverse human impacts on coastal habitats. The following paper and issue group summary present examples of the benefits of coastal habitats and the results of damage to them. They also discuss strategies and techniques for evaluating habitats. The scientific understanding and techniques on which habitat restoration and mitigation are based are still in their early stages and the efficacy of many techniques is largely unproven. Therefore, mitigation techniques should still be considered experimental. Strategies for maintaining coastal habitat integrity should include, first avoidance of impacts, then minimization of those impacts, and finally, remediation of impacts. Coastal Ocean Habitat Mitigation Strategies James W. Rote California Assembly Office of Research On November 12, 1936, Winston Churchill became so exasperated with the continuing failure of Britain to prepare for Hitler’s impending onslaught that he blasted his government in the following remarks before the House of Commons:

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium “The government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in a strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. . The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” Does this sound familiar? It sounds a lot like the gridlock of Washington, D.C. and Sacramento in 1992. This may seem a strange way to start an issue-framing paper on habitat mitigation strategies, but I feel that the effort to protect habitat for living marine and estuarine resources, as for many environmental efforts, has become the moral equivalent of war. Much ground has already been lost. In fact, few West Coast estuaries remain in their original state. The percentage loss of original acreage along the California coast, an 1100-mile stretch of the continental West Coast, is the highest in the nation. Most remaining estuaries are highly urbanized and many are in danger of total elimination in the face of pressures associated with rapidly accelerating population growth. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), California has lost over 90% of its original 5 million acres of wetland areas, and 87% of its original 3.5 million acres of coastal wetlands. In San Francisco Bay alone, wetlands have declined 80%. NMFS also tells us that of the 1985 U.S. commercial fishery landings, about 77% by weight and 71% by value are composed of estuarine-dependent species (i.e., dependent for reproduction, as nurseries, for food production, or migrations). This estuarine-dependency is not as significant in California (18%) as it is for the Gulf of Mexico (98%) or the Southeast Atlantic (94%) (Chambers, 1992). However, coastal wetlands also function as critical habitat for plants, birds, invertebrates, and other wildlife, as well as serving as buffers from storms, filters of pollutants, a source of plant detritus and energy for broader marine systems, and provide aesthetic and recreational benefits. Despite the importance of these natural systems, we still drift, procrastinate, enact half-measures, and stick our heads in the sand until a crisis is upon us. And then it is often too late. I expect our panelists will cover this subject in much greater detail, and one of the participants plans to discuss the inability of the state Legislature, and the Governor, to enact any meaningful habitat legislation. One example I can give here, of the sorry state of our government, is found in the continuing saga of the fishery declines in the San Francisco/San Joaquin Bay-Delta system.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium Since the 1977 drought, the Department of Fish and Game has been appearing before the State Water Resources Control Board and reporting that the Striped Bass Index is getting lower and lower. Incredibly, Fish and Game officials explain this decline with a standard, “there are fewer adults, because there are fewer juveniles, because there are fewer eggs, because there are fewer adults - - - !”. I fully expect to attend a state board hearing in my lifetime and hear the department announce that they have been monitoring the demise of the striped bass population for 30 (or more) years and can now safely report that there are no more striped bass in the Delta. While many of the habitat issues in Northern California involve anadromous resources, and there are serious declines in our salmon stocks, due in part to lack of adequate freshwater flows and lost spawning grounds, this paper will focus primarily on marine resources. I’ll be very straight with you and tell you right up front that I’m not too wild about this mitigation business. Restoration—yes; mitigation?—I’m not so sure. Its like reparations after a war, or opening up your country’s borders to millions of immigrants and refugees after you have demolished their country. Fortunately, I’m not required to come up with any answers or recommendations today; just frame the issue. This is a very controversial issue, because the jury is still out on whether habitat loss can be offset by attempting to restore previously degraded habitat, or create new habitat. The focus of this paper is degraded wetlands, artificial reefs, and kelp forests—all coastal ocean habitats. In discussing mitigation strategies for these three types of habitat, I will attempt to integrate our charge to understand the existing interactions between science and decisionmaking better. In March, 1991, I attended an excellent Symposium in Baltimore, MD, “Stemming The Tide of Coastal Fish Habitat Loss.” In summarizing the proceedings, the co-chairs noted: “Wetland restoration is a new art, and proponents have yet to demonstrate that most biological life-support functions of a natural system can actually be restored. Therefore, it is inappropriate to give the development community the impression that project losses can in fact be compensated by attempted restoration or rehabilitation. Until successful restoration of fishery habitats can be demonstrated scientifically, it should not be relied upon by regulators as a certain trade-off methodology. Rather, it must be considered as an experimental approach until proven for routine application. “Sequenced” mitigation - - avoid, minimize, and, finally, compensate for unavoidable impacts - is essential. ” (Hinman and Safina, 1992) The term mitigation comes from the latin word “mitigare,” which means to soften, make less harsh or hostile, less severe or painful. In the context of government regulation, this term refers to reducing or eliminating the impact of a regulated

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium activity (Parry, 1992). The President’s Council on Environmental Quality has adopted the following comprehensive definition of mitigation for use in regulatory decisions: (1) avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action; (2) minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action or its implementation; (3) rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment; (4) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action; (5) compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments. (See CEQ, 40 CFR 1508.20). If we are going to consider strategies for coastal ocean habitat, we really must consider the entire gamut of protective measures: avoid, minimize, and compensate (=mitigate). Compensatory mitigation should be the last card played; unfortunately, it is very late in the game and we are running out of cards. The best scenario would obviously be avoiding the damage in the first place—or, “Just saying no.” However, as has been previously mentioned, California has already lost nearly 90% of its original coastal wetlands. It’s like a farmer closing the barn door after the cow is out. At a September, 1990 Symposium, sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Restoring the Nation’s Marine Environment,” panelists agreed that the first priority should be placed on protection of habitats so that expensive, cumbersome, and partially-successful restoration solutions might be rendered unnecessary. I was appointed Director of the NMFS Office of Habitat Protection in March, 1979. The NOAA Administrator at the time, Dick Frank, made habitat protection the top priority within NOAA. I quickly found out, however, that there were NMFS Regional Directors and Research Center Directors who had other agendas. They were into fisheries “management” and fisheries research in “blue” water, and they told me that NMFS had no business in coastal waters. They felt that it was the states’ responsibility to deal with wetlands and estuaries. There was little coordination between state fish and game programs, state coastal programs, and the federal government when it came to habitat protection efforts. There is still little interaction between fishery managers and wetland/habitat restoration practitioners. I left Washington on November 4, 1980, the day Ronald Reagan was elected president. Twelve years later, after budgets were cut and programs were terminated, the NMFS Director has re-established the Office of Habitat Protection. A September 14, 1992 NOAA circular announced that effective October 4, the NMFS Office of Habitat Protection was established to provide executive leadership and policy direction for the NMFS nationwide habitat protection program.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium However, on September 25, the Senate and House Appropriations Committee conferees decided to provide no increase for the National Habitat Protection Program, and slightly reduced the Program’s FY 1992 base funds. The irony here is that because the federal budget is in such bad shape, the Congress has cut NOAA programs across the board, giving the new Habitat Office little to work with. This program, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state trustee agencies, is the first line of defense. The NMFS program alone reviews and comments on some 10,000 permits and actions nationally per year. Just when the California Coastal Commission budget appeared to be safe from a budget cut this year, at the last minute, the Governor took his blue pencil to about 20% of the commission’s budget. This is most unfortunate, because each coastal state’s coastal zone management plan must include provisions for the “protection of natural resources, including wetlands, floodplains, estuaries, beaches, dunes, maritime forests, barrier islands, coral reefs, and fish and wildlife and their habitat, within the coastal zone.” With the recent budget cuts, the California Coastal Commission is going to have a difficult time fulfilling this mandate. The state Department of Fish and Game’s budget is also in shambles, so it doesn’t look good on the national, or state, front for efforts to avoid habitat loss. That, by default, throws us into the next category: minimize impacts. There is a growing consensus that no number of conditions on a permitted development project can compensate for another acre of coastal ocean habitat dredged or filled. It is no consolation that the applicant is required to conduct educational tours of a new amusement park if it is sitting on what was once prime fishery habitat! In the Spring of 1991, the Walt Disney Company proposed a theme park and resort development in and adjacent to the Port of Long Beach. Called the Port Disney project, the project included Disney Sea, a theme park with rides and attractions, five new hotels, retail shops and entertainment, boat excursions and rentals, 400 new marina slips, and a cruise ship port. The project would have required 250 acres of fill in the port. A bill was introduced on March 8 in the State Senate (SB 1062) to pave the way for the project. Disney dropped the bill after four amended versions and three months of hearings. On February 20, 1992, another bill was introduced in the Senate (SB 1677) which would have allowed any publicly-owned deep water commercial port proposing development in subtidal waters to pay an in-lieu fee to the State Coastal Conservancy, in lieu of undertaking any evaluation of impacts to, or mitigation for loss of, subtidal fish habitat value that may be caused by the proposed development. This bill was amended several times and, incredibly, passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor in August. In its final form,

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium the ports may submit a report to the Conservancy that identifies and describes “deepwater habitats” (not defined) that could be enhanced, restored, or newly created as potential mitigation associated with the construction of port facilities in deepwater areas. One bright spot in all the federal and state budget cuts; NOAA’s Marine Sanctuary Program got a small shot in the arm earlier this fall, when Congress appropriated $7 million, over $1 million more than expected. This particular program seems to be alive and well, with the designation of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in September of this year. The Monterey Bay management plan’s prohibitions and regulations, covering over 4,000 square nautical miles and 200 miles of the central coast, will go a long way to protect coastal ocean habitat. There is an urgent need for added protection of remaining marine/estuarine habitat. There must be a greater emphasis placed on protection and management of ecosystems and biological communities, whether it be through the Marine Sanctuary Program, NOAA’s Estuarine Research Reserves, EPA’s National Estuary Program, or the four new marine research reserves, which were mandated by Proposition 132, and will be established prior to January 1, 1994 by the Fish and Game Commission. Each Ecological Reserve shall have a surface area of at least two square miles, and activities in the areas shall be restricted to scientific research relating to the management and enhancement of marine resources. The California Attorney General rendered an opinion earlier this year declaring that all activities (fishing, boating, surfing) would be prohibited in the reserves. Marine fishery reserves (“harvest refugia”) offer a potential way to protect habitat, while improving fisheries by protecting species composition, population age structure, spawning potential, and within-species genetic variability. Artificial reefs, which I will briefly touch on in a few minutes, could further enhance habitat and mitigate for lost fishing areas. The ideal number, location, and size of reserves necessary to achieve these objectives needs to be determined. It might be noted here that the Florida Keys and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries are considering the establishment of “harvest refugia,” and the concept is spreading to other areas of the country. Back to the main subject, mitigation strategies, and the controversy surrounding restoration efforts. As an indication of the confusion and misunderstanding (even between experts in the field) in this area, I want to cite a few statements from last year ’s Baltimore Symposium. Dr. Roy (Robin) Lewis, from Tampa, Florida, discussed “Coastal Habitat Restoration as a Fishery Management Tool.” While his expertise lies mainly in the South Atlantic and Gulf, Robin offered the following:

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium “The restoration of lost or damaged fishery habitat as a fishery management tool is vastly underutilized. This is not a lack of technology, but philosophical confusion of wetland restoration as a means of regulatory mitigation with wetland restoration solely for restoring lost fish and wildlife habitat. While the technology is well developed for successful marine wetland restoration on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, it is less well developed for the West Coast. The scientific base supporting wetland restoration as a fishery management tool is meager, but no more so than for artificial reefs. Like artificial reefs, restored marine wetlands support sizable fish populations within days of their completion, due to local immigration. In the longer term, permanent resident fish populations become established, and the potential nursery functions have been scientifically demonstrated in restored wetlands. Functional equivalency is not required for wetland restoration to deserve more use as a fishery management tool.” (Lewis, 1992) The Coastal Society has adopted a policy statement which declares that coastal wetland restoration is not “largely experimental”; that technology is available for most wetland types except seagrass meadows (due to water quality problems). The society feels that restored systems have fish and wildlife populations closely approximating those found in natural wetlands. Robin Lewis disagrees. He says there is no justification to allow coastal wetlands to be filled and replaced by constructed coastal wetlands. To add to the controversy (and confusion), Dr. Bill Fox, Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, in his keynote address at the Baltimore Symposium, disagreed with Lewis by saying, “Restoration technology is not well developed. While techniques exist to revegetate salt marsh and seagrass meadows, results have not been fully evaluated.” Confusing? Yes, it is very confusing, and most perplexing. But, these folks are from the East Coast and what do they know? We have Joy Zedler, and Mike Josselyn, and Rich Ambrose to sort it out. I’m really counting on our West Coast experts to agree on some basic principles before we attempt to develop a strategy. We need some consensus on the following issues: Are we dealing with a scientific problem (i.e., is restoration technology available and accepted for West Coast marine wetlands, or is it largely experimental?); or a philosophical confusion over the use of wetland restoration as regulatory mitigation (i.e., can we justify the filling of existing coastal wetlands or subtidal habitat through the creation of new constructed wetlands?); or both?

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium If the technology does work, or simply needs refinement, should we focus on restoration projects (i.e., pilot/experimental) that are not part of mitigation to offset the effects of a new development? Is “functional equivalency” necessary for wetland restoration to justify it as a fishery management tool? Is there adequate data/published documentation of the success of wetlands restoration? Do we know what has worked and what hasn’t worked? Is there a management problem, rather than a technological one (i.e., compliance monitoring and enforcement)? Should a strategy be limited to mitigation, or should protection efforts (avoidance of loss) be considered as well? Should the first priority be placed on protection of habitats? Are habitat evaluation techniques (HEP/WET/BEST) accepted by the scientific community? What are the major unresolved scientific questions regarding the different approaches/systems? Habitat Evaluation Techniques The three major habitat valuation methods currently in use all have their shortcomings: Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) — developed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; little data available for marine species, which makes developing models for marine systems difficult. Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET) — developed by the Federal Highway Authority; provides a good screening method, but without quantitative numbers, results only give a qualitative “high/moderate/low” value. Biological Evaluation Standardized Technique (BEST) — developed by MEC for the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles; too subjective in its approach, and sensitive to small data differences; attempts to equate species from different habitats (i.e., harbor/sand with reef species).

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) On February 20, 1974, the California Coastal Commission approved two additional units (Units 2 and 3) to Southern California Edison ’s (SCE) nuclear power plant on the South Coast. A three-member scientific Marine Review Committee (MRC) was impaneled to carry out a comprehensive field study of the effects of SONGS on the marine environment, with the commitment that SCE would make future changes in the SONGS cooling system to address impacts identified by the MRC. Fifteen years of data collection, and $46 million later, the commission received the MRC report in 1989, which noted substantial damage to an offshore kelp bed and to resident fish and their eggs and larvae. Two years after the MRC study was received, the commission adopted a plan that required SCE to meet three conditions: (1) to improve the plant’s fish behavioral barrier devices; (2) build a 300-acre artificial kelp reef; and (3) create, or substantially restore, a 150-acre coastal wetland somewhere in Southern California. Permit 183-73, dated July 16, 1991, required SCE to evaluate eight wetland restoration sites identified by the commission. SCE employed MEC Analytical Services, Inc. to make the evaluation, and in December 1991, MEC concluded that three sites were most suitable: Anaheim Bay, San Dieguito River Valley, and the Tijuana River Estuary. The U.S. Navy was not happy with the consideration of Anaheim Bay, so the final decision was San Dieguito and/or Tijuana. On June 11, 1992, the Commission selected San Dieguito as the site best suited for the SONGS Units 2 and 3 wetland mitigation requirement. I am going to leave it to Susan Hansch, the Manager of the commission ’s Energy and Ocean Resources Unit, to explain the details of the San Dieguito project. We are fortunate to have Sue and Dr. Rich Ambrose on the Habitat panel, as SONGS serves as a key case study for our purposes. I will note here that SONGS conditions/mitigation decisions did not come easily. As Peter Douglas remarked in a September 23, 1991 letter to the Ocean Studies Board, “… The major rub with the San Onofre experience is that the scientific input came after the fact rather than before the decision to approve the facility was made. As a result, the adverse impacts of the facility which have now been identified, and which are significant, will be ongoing for the life of the plant. All that can be done at this point is to compensate, to some extent, for the ongoing adverse impact to the marine environment. ” This statement pretty much summarizes the situation we’re in: the economic necessity to make development decisions without the benefit of environmental studies or a baseline. This San Dieguito restoration project may be the “big test” of our ability to mitigate unavoidable damages. Does the Coastal Commission condition set a good precedent or a bad precedent? Time will tell.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium Issue Group Summary Leader - Robert W. Knecht (University of Delaware) Rapporteur - Richard Hildreth (University of Oregon) Other Members of Issue Group - Joseph DiMento (University of California at Irvine), Peter M. Douglas and Elizabeth Fuchs (California Coastal Commission), Ira Michael Heyman (University of California at Berkeley), Charles Lester (California Coastal Commission), Douglas Lipka (Environmental Protection Agency), Frederic Nichols (U.S. Geological Survey), John Patton (County of Santa Barbara), Randy Pestor (California State Assembly Local Government Committee), Frederick Piltz (Minerals Management Service), Alison Rieser (University of Maine), Steve Sanders (California State Senate Office of Research), Harry N. Scheiber (University of California at Berkeley), Paul D. Thayer (California State Assembly Natural Resources Committee), William Tuohy (Independent Consultant), Thomas H. Wakeman III (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and Joy Zedler (San Diego State University) Cumulative impacts can result from the additive effects of impacts that may be separated by time or space, but which affect the same resource in the same area. Concern with cumulative impacts reflects the desire to avoid the “tyranny of small decisions,” the unintentional and undesirable consequences that can arise from the narrowness of individual perspectives. Cumulative impacts can have a number of important characteristics. Cumulative impacts are those that result from the interactions of many incremental activities, each of which may have an insignificant effect when viewed alone, which becomes significant in the aggregate. Cumulative impacts may interact in an additive or synergistic way (see Douglas et al., this volume). Cumulative impacts may occur onsite or offsite. Cumulative impacts may have short-term or long-term effects. Cumulative impacts may occur soon after the disturbance or may be delayed. There are two different categories of independent variables: (1) the incremental activities of many different types of developments and disturbance

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium over time, and (2) the incremental activities of one major type of development or disturbance repeated over time. Regarding the dependent variable (the affected entity), for natural systems, we can think of the categories that were discussed earlier in the plenary session—cells, organs, individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. For social systems, we can think of impacts on individuals, families, social groups, communities, states, and nations. An example of the first kind of cumulative impacts on natural systems is water pollution in the Southern California Bight from multiple sources. An example of the second kind of forcing function affecting natural systems might be the effects of many oil platforms on a given type of marine organism. On the social side, the first kind of cumulative impacts can be exemplified by the impact of industrialization on rural areas, including changes in the economic base, character of the social systems, density, crowding, and diversity. The second type of cumulative impacts on social systems might be exemplified by the effects of offshore oil development on communities in the Gulf of Mexico. Impediments to developing interactions between science and policy on the issue of cumulative impacts include Impediments related to limiting factors Many scientists work on single issues. Agreed-upon definitions of cumulative impacts are lacking, and statutory mandates are unclear. Good baseline information from which to measure impacts is often missing. There may still be a problem, however, in determining whether the impact is due to natural or human-induced changes. Scientific input into the questions to be answered seldom occurs. Frequently, managers or policymakers frame the questions in a way that makes it difficult for scientists to respond. No one wants to hear about cumulative impacts. There is a fear of learning about the consequences of a cumulative impact problem.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium Impediments related to institutional aspects Information generation and transfer does not favor cumulative impact analysis. Databases are not maintained at the proper geographic and time scales. Compartmentalization of disciplines reduces the opportunity for interactions of practitioners from the relevant disciplines. The academic reward structure does not, in general, reward scientific contributions to applied questions, although this situation seems to be changing in some institutions. Storage and retrieval of historical information is often difficult. Good information about past management decisions and their effects is not collected or made easily accessible. The annual funding cycle of governments makes it difficult to maintain long-term continuous activity. Management structure, leadership, and policy can change as a result of the turnover of personnel. Institutional and jurisdictional fragmentation make actions difficult to coordinate. Various agencies are taking actions that contribute to the cumulative impacts in a given area or with regard to a given resource. Despite the availability of some methods for cumulative impact analysis, other priorities of permitting and regulatory agencies limit their use. Impediments related to information access Only parts of a given cumulative impact problem are obvious to a given agency because of limited purview. The management responsibilities of existing agencies are often too narrow to deal with all aspects of a given cumulative impact issue; this again is related to functional fragmentation. Technical information may need to be “translated” for use by some decisionmakers.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium Proprietary data, even in the public sector, may not be available when needed. Policymakers and managers may have difficulties in gaining access to the right data on a reasonable time scale. The National Environmental Protection Act process and the environmental impact report and analysis processes, in general, tend to encourage fragmented, project-by-project decisions. Given these impediments, the issue group listed three critical elements of a rational scheme to manage cumulative impacts: Conceptual clarity of the management goal. The key variables to be measured should be defined on the basis of management goals. Clear causal relationships to support the calculation of key thresholds. A sufficient understanding of natural and social systems is needed to evaluate the risk and to determine the thresholds of serious impacts. There must be a capability to initiate and sustain the kind of monitoring program that will provide the needed information at the right time. The uncertainty of the estimates must also be assessed, and information about uncertainty must be communicated to policymakers. In a sense, the right kind of monitoring can substitute for a lack of prior scientific understanding. Adequate capacity for governance. The ability to govern the activities required to achieve the goal must exist. The geographic scale must include all of the area that is a part of the problem. The right time interval for achieving the goal must be available. To explain these governance considerations, an example is provided below. Clams, cadmium, and cumulative impacts management. We might call this a “cumulative-impact-motivated, adaptive management scheme.” Let’s assume that there is an oil platform in a semienclosed water body. Every morning at six o’clock an employee swabs the platform deck with a mop and he throws the contents of the bucket over the side. Let’s assume there are some heavy metals (e.g., cadmium) in the waste water in the bucket and, furthermore, that this is a biologically productive area for a certain kind of valuable clam. Eventually, concerns that cadmium might accumulate in the clams and pose a danger to human and/or to ecosystem health lead to the formation of measures to control cadmium concentrations. More platforms are built and additional buckets of waste water are dumped into the sea each day. At some point, when a preset threshold of cadmium concentration in the water column has been reached, additional

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium management measures will be needed. The regulator does not have to prevent the development of more platforms. It can be decided that, in the future, the waste water must be put in containers and shipped once a week to the shore and no more dumping is allowed. With this approach, more platforms can be added. Only a modification in the management system is needed. Now let’s assume that there is an effective monitoring program underway, which monitors the bioaccumulation of metals in the clams. It is then discovered that chromium is also becoming a problem. At that point, sufficient scope must exist in the governance system to allow a new dimension to be added to the management scheme without major alterations. Hence, a governance system must be broad enough in scope to cover all the activities that will eventually cause a problem. Governance must be sufficiently flexible, so that regulators can modify the terms of permits when conditions warrant such measures. The key to success of a scheme like this includes Clear management goals; Sufficient prior scientific observations and research to know when a cumulative impact problem exists, to know the geographic scale over which the problem must be managed, and to know the temporal scale (how long the conditions on the permits must be maintained) and the scope (what kinds of changes might be needed later) of the problem; Sufficient legal or legislative authority to operate this kind of adaptive management and regulatory activity, and Sufficient technical capacity to design, operate, and interpret a monitoring system that will substitute for gaps in our “up-front” scientific understanding of the natural system. Finally, what does this indicate about the science-policy interface? It suggests that there are three aspects in need of attention in connection with the cumulative impact problem. At the state legislative level, a scientifically grounded case for obtaining the legislation that would permit the three-dimensional flexibility for governance in time, space, and scope needs to be made.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium At the regional and local levels, a science or research program directed to the understanding of important resource- or environment-related issues likely to become the targets of cumulative impact management is needed. This implies a close coupling between the scientific research community and management/regulatory agencies and a stream of long-term, stable funding. This approach can provide the right kind of research, in advance of impacts, to a cumulative impact management system. Inside the management process itself, an adaptive approach implies a science-driven dimension for identifying the need for cumulative impact management. This will require interaction with the outside scientific community to help set the critical thresholds that would change the management measures, to design and operate the monitoring program, and to recommend adaptive changes in management and regulations based on the monitoring program. Finally, some ideas that flow out of these concepts are offered. In general, two different approaches may be necessary. We could be starting from scratch with no existing management effort and could put in place a rational scheme, as described above, once enough scientific data and understanding are available. To a certain extent, some of what Alison Rieser discussed in the issue group embodies this approach. Coastal management plans are developed, and those plans are used in the operation of a kind of protocol that works as described above. However, in most cases management systems will be started in the “middle” with considerable management and regulation already underway, requiring a different approach, the transition from a static project-by-project management approach to a dynamic adaptive approach. Designing and motivating this transition will require a substantial amount of good scientific research, both natural and social, but more importantly, practitioners who can translate what is known or what are suspected to be the links between ecological disturbance and adverse effects into clear and enforceable regulatory standards will be needed. Four possible means to improve the interactions between scientists and policymakers, related to the issue of cumulative impacts, resulted from the group discussions and the group responses to the seven questions given to the issue groups (Appendix III). Improve conceptual development and the refinement of analytical tools for regional approaches. Cumulative impacts can best be assessed on a broad, regional scale with relatively general patterns likely to be revealed. A region should be biogeographic—for example, for coastal wetlands and coastal fisheries the Southern California Bight is the appropriate scale, although some questions would

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium require a broader purview (e.g., waterfowl questions require a Pacific flyway approach). The cumulative impacts of development on selected attributes of ecosystem structure and function should be assessed. Possible attributes include (1) numbers of species (select groups with sensitive species such as birds, fish, and macroinvertebrates; economically valuable species; and scientists’ best guesses of “indicator” species), (2) productivity or population abundance (e.g., abundance of waterfowl), and (3) red flags (e.g., increases in the occurrence of exotic species). There still is a great need for some basic information about indicators of ecosystem processes and health. For many ecosystems, factors that control the ecosystem attributes listed above are unknown. It will be necessary to couple good monitoring with good ecosystem-level process studies to achieve a better understanding of the relationship of monitored indicators to desirable ecosystem attributes. Regional monitoring and assessment programs are rare. At the national level, EPA is developing EMAP (Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program) which involves random samples of 12,600 hexagons, only a few of which will be on the coast of California. Perhaps a more intensive program of this type should be implemented for coastal California. A regional organization should lobby for increased sampling intensity within each California region (e.g., regional EMAP). There will be a need for standardized methods and appropriate indicators for each region. The time scale for monitoring will necessarily differ for indicators. Birds and fish would probably need to be sampled on an annual scale, while vegetation shifts would more likely be measurable on a 5- to 10-year scale or after extreme events. The importance of extreme events in California makes it desirable to have an emergency fund for enhanced monitoring when floods, El Niño, major oil and chemical spills, earthquakes, and other extreme events occur. A precautionary philosophy should be used when developing schemes to address cumulative impacts, to minimize the risk faced by the most fragile components of an ecosystem. In most cases, risks are not well defined, but if explicit questions are asked, good probabilistic descriptions of key or fragile components of the system can be obtained. Scientists can also offer reasonable guesses (never a flat statement) about thresholds which should not be exceeded. Such thresholds could include the well-being of important species (it is often thought that it is risky to reduce the population of a given species below 55 to 70% of carrying capacity or preimpact levels), processes such as nutrient flow (either too much or too little), food chain or predator-prey relationships, and competitive relationships. Management schemes need to involve precautionary or

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium risk-avoidance processes, reasonable threshold definitions, and a list of priorities for a given habitat and region. Finally, a forum for objective scientific advice is needed. At present, when a scientist speaks out, he or she is immediately considered to be an advocate and treated like the representative of any nongovernmental organization who really is an advocate. The forum needs to select scientists on the basis of their talents rather than on the basis of their outspokenness. Fair distribution or allocation of future cumulative impacts is another aspect of the issue. This is sometimes termed “equity” and enables decisionmakers to allot remaining portions of available resources (broadly defined) to future requests. To determine the time interval preceding some undesirable threshold, a rate of impact accumulation must be determined. The rate function can be estimated by an assessment of the past and an extrapolation into the future. To check these assumptions and provide feedback to decisionmakers about the actual rate, monitoring or some form of scientific investigation will be necessary. The time scales for collecting meaningful scientific data will have to be coordinated with the time scales for policy-driven planning horizons. Planning horizons for policy-driven projects may be 25 or 50 years, for example, to justify project costs. However, this may not be the appropriate time frame for the collection of definitive scientific data. The planning horizon may need to be adjusted, if the scientific requirements so dictate. Scientific studies then provide data during the life of the policy-driven projects that will permit reevaluation of assumptions about the impact accumulation rate. The group also discussed targeted workshops that could be part of a new NRC initiative leading to a report parallel to Managing Troubled Waters. Professional scientific societies could be asked to help develop appropriate analytical tools and methods. Increase the awareness of decisionmakers about cumulative impact issues. The consideration of cumulative impacts is both a scientific problem and a decisionmaking problem. Increased awareness could be accomplished in a number of ways, including Creating a forum with legislative leaders with a focus on cumulative impacts; Encouraging coastal agencies to employ scientists; and

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium Appointing scientists to prestigious technical advisory boards of, for example, agencies like the California Coastal Commission. Appointment to these groups would be a significant professional achievement. Different approaches may be needed for reaching decisionmakers at the state versus local levels. Implement incremental changes in decision systems. Joint review panels have worked successfully in Santa Barbara County and some other places, where state and local regulatory bodies conduct reviews of proposed activities and projects jointly, providing an opportunity to incorporate more and better science into the process. The extent to which cumulative impacts might result from particular projects should be assessed in the context of regional considerations before addressing project-specific NEPA and CEQA requirements.147 Some of the money that applicants are required to pay in advance in connection with Environmental Impact Statements under CEQA could also be used for this more general purpose. Policy statements could mandate a change in behavior without waiting for scientific certainty. Ad hoc ways to harmonize the outlooks and actions of multiple agencies operating in ocean and coastal environments may be found. Environmental disclosure statutes (NEPA, CEQA, et al.) are the principal sources of information available to inform environmental decisionmaking. The information developed is less than optimal for managing cumulative impacts because (1) documents are episodic and triggered by major projects, which may or may not relate in time or space to the occurrence of important cumulative impacts; (2) information is considered in the context of major project decisions and decisionmakers are reluctant to try to solve cumulative impact problems within a single project; and (3) funding constraints limit the scope of analysis in non-project-related environmental documents. A potential remedy is to alter the statutory requirements for assessment of cumulative impacts at the project level, as well as the requirements for completeness of analysis, avoidance, and mitigation of cumulative impacts at the policy-setting level, so as to shift this effort from the former to the latter level. Some funding could be provided by harvesting some of the savings gained by reducing the project-level analytical requirements and applying them to analysis at the policy-setting level. For example, building fees could be collected to pay for the preparation and update of comprehensive plans as well as for project-specific analysis. Once the planning-level analysis and mitigation strategies are enacted, 147   NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act; CEQA is the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Improving Interactions Between Coastal Science and Policy: Proceedings of the California Symposium the level of detail and effort required to assess cumulative impacts at the project level would decline significantly. Mechanisms for conditioning individual projects to address cumulative impacts identified in the planning analysis would need to be developed. A framework for determining project-specific impacts and evaluating changed circumstances would also be needed. The one-time cost for a good plan analysis may not be met easily by project fees. Finally, projects in commercially zoned areas vary dramatically in nature and impact and are not easily addressed at the planning level. Effect institution redesign to deal with cumulative impacts. The group discussed the possible use of the coastal zone management consistency concept in state and local general plans that had been formulated to take account of cumulative impacts. Means of integration and harmonization of actions of multiple agencies should be mandated. Also discussed was the role that regional governance schemes could play in dealing with cumulative impacts as, for example, in the San Francisco Bay and Lake Tahoe regions. Monitoring systems related to adaptive management should be established.