Special Oregon Sea Grant funding: Social Science and Human Dimensions Research

Operationalizing Ecosystem Services Benefit Assessment Techniques for Marine Reserve Sites (2014-2016)

Michael Harte
College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
104 CEOAS Admin Building
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: 541-602-7334

Co-PIs: Randall Rosenberger and Christopher Romsos, OSU; Tommy Swearingen, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
Funding: Special call, Social Science and Human Dimensions

Marine reserves (MRs) meet objectives related to biodiversity and marine organism abundance while avoiding significant adverse social and economic impacts on ocean users and coastal communities.

Oregon’s MR design and site evaluation processes give equal consideration to ecosystem benefits and socioeconomic impacts, as recognized by state law. This project will use research and outreach protocols that address three objectives: 

  • (1) Characterize ecosystem services associated with Oregon’s three newest MRs - Cape Falcon, Cape Perpetua and Cascade Head
  • (2) Engage managers and stakeholders to incorporate local knowledge and community values in ecosystem service evaluation and the anticipated economic and social impacts of MR creation
  • (3) Use a spatial evaluation framework to integrate characterization of ecosystem services with value and impact estimation to assist ongoing monitoring and evaluation

This project uses the Bayesian Assessment for Spatial Siting (BASS) tool to combine and extend current Regional Economic Impact models with an ecosystems services framework. BASS is a multi-criteria spatial analysis system that evaluates marine and coastal space use. The combination of these three discrete components will create a stakeholder-inclusive dynamic spatial ecosystem services monitoring and decision support system for state agencies.

The establishment of Oregon’s marine reserve system has provided a tangible, study-ready opportunity to operationalize ecosystem services evaluation techniques that begin to apply the concept of ecosystem-based management to real-world marine management issues. This successful project will provide a concrete and applicable assessment framework for use in the assessment, implementation, and monitoring of marine reserves, as well as for coastal and marine spatial planning efforts.

Strategic Plan Focus Area: Healthy Coastal Ecosystems and Habitats

Learn more: