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Ventura, Ca and ecosystem based management

May 20 2008 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

A few years back we learned that while our mission statement says "... protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches..." we'll fail if ALL we do is only focus on the beach and further out to sea.

Unlike Vegas, what happens on land doesn't stay on land... it goes out to the oceans.

The land and the sea are connected. I know, that seems painfully obvious... it's not. I know it's not as I'm guessing if more people knew their actions on land would effect the oceans... they would change their actions.

Land and sea, it's all connected.

Thus the approach called ecosystem-based management or "EBM". The layman's definition of EBM could be "understanding the land-to-sea connection".

An example of this is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The dead zone wasn't created by something that origniated in the Gulf. It exists due to all the fertilizers and chemicals that are used to grow food in America's heartland.

So, EBM is taking a step back and not just putting another band-aid on a coastal issue... but rather taking in the larger regional issues and ecosystem characteristics... and then building practics and policies that help the ecosystem recover.

One of my favorite examples of this is in Ventura, California. I tried to capture this on my second podcast, I spoke with Paul Jenkin who is one of the key EBM architects of this regions recovery.

Here are a few data points on EBM and Ventura.
  • Where: Ventura River watershed
  • What: Community-based restoration and watershed-based management
  • State: Stress from historic watershed alteration (a 200' dam built) and increasing urban pressures (common development sprawl). Issues: conflicts over water supply, precipitous declines in fish, flood damages, loss of habitat, beach erosion, and degraded water quality.
  • Strategy: Envision, promote, and ultimately implement restoration projects to demonstrate the viability of ecosystem-based management approach.
  • Tactics:
    • Communicating a shared vision through education and outreach; coordination and advocacy; and engaging the community and decision makers in EBM processes for the Ventura River watershed.
    • Conceptual planning through research, integration, conceptual design, visualization, technical review, and stakeholder perspective.
    • Monitoring through scientific, observational and policy scrutiny; policy review; agency communication/compliance; publicity; and legal action as needed.

Check it out.
image from here.
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