Biogeographic Assessment of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
Summary to DateThe Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) off the coast of Southern California was designated in 1980. In 2005, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and CINMS were considering six alternatives for adjusting the sanctuary's boundaries. Identifying how the six options overlaid with the distribution of marine resources was a critical consideration. To address this need, we conducted a biogeographic assessment.
No single boundary alternative stood out among the others as a preferred choice, but a couple were favorable for a majority of the biological groups and physical processes and for the composite of all Optimal Area Index analyses.
The overlap of fish and invertebrate habitat suitability appears to be correlated with nearshore environments, predominantly kelp, seagrass beds, and rocky sea floor.
Marine bird and mammal co-occurrence appears to be associated with known centers of upwelling and primary production.
Ecologically important areas of high diversity occur in continental shelf and nearshore waters from Point Conception through the northern Channel Islands, where spatial patterns of bird, fish, invertebrate, and mammal habitat overlap.
DiscussionThe Biogeographic Assessment Framework is a powerful tool for marine resource managers faced with spatially explicit management decisions
The map outputs generated from this assessment have had extended life beyond the comparison of boundary alternatives: Information from this assessment was utilized in California’s Marine Life Protection Act process to inform the placement of marine protected areas (MPAs). The California Coastal Commission has utilized the assessment as a reference guide to examine potential for conflicts with varying activities they have permitted.
- Substrate characterization
- Chl A