NOAA launched an amazing mapping tool for Marine Protected Areas on March 30. Once I got started with it, I found that it really does make it easy to identify and find basic information about the 1,637 U.S. Marine Protected Areas,
National Marine Protected Areas Center http://mpa.gov/
-- "NOAA Launches Interactive Marine Protected Areas Mapping Tool":
The site provides a scrollable list of MPAs by name, so you can click and see the map that way. You can also click on the location and the designated MPAs appear. The accompanying data sheet includes location, boundaries, size, year established, types of fishing restrictions, and more. It’s easy to zoom in and out. The main Web site has a full list of all protected areas, and extensive related information.
The mapping tool is part of a broader update of the MPA Center’s Web site, a wonderful resource for information about U.S. MPAs. The Ocean Uses Atlas provides comprehensive information for the entire California coast. Data in the Atlas comes from resource managers, stakeholders and scientists, who met in a series of workshops to map patterns of human uses of the ocean in California. In this listing, Wildlife Viewing, such as watching the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, is classified as Non-Consumptive under Beach Use.
Information such as this is crucial to protecting the oceans. Thanks, NOAA, for responding to the public interest with these projects.
I also loved that the contact person for the California Ocean Use Atlas is Senior Scientist Dr. Charles M. Wahle. How suitable!