On August 31, 2010, members of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) North Coast Regional Stakeholder Group came to an historic agreement on a proposal for marine protected areas (MPAs) along California’s north coast (a 225 mile stretch of coastline ranging from Point Arena to the Oregon border). This significant achievement marked the first time in California’s five-year MPA planning effort that a regional stakeholder group has arrived at a single, unified proposal. The agreement marked the end of seven months of intensive negotiations for the stakeholder group, which sought to balance achievement of the MLPA’s ecosystem protection goals with the needs and concerns of the north coast communities, including a desire to minimize potential negative socioeconomic impacts. The 34-member stakeholder group was composed of diverse interests, including representatives of commercial and recreational fishing, ports and harbors, California tribes and tribal communities, conservation groups, non-consumptive ocean users, educators, and ocean dependent businesses. Kearns & West facilitated the stakeholder group process and provided strategic process design for the entire north coast project. The stakeholder groups’ proposal will now be considered by the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force before being forwarded to the California Fish and Game Commission for potential adoption. To learn more, click here.