Olympic Natural Resources Center

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is defined as “a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives.” MSP has been used to avoid conflicts between existing and future marine uses in a number of coastal regions of the United States. In 2010, the Washington Legislature enacted the Marine Waters Planning and Management Act (RCW 43.372) which calls for the use of MSP in our state’s marine waters.

Through application of geographic information system (GIS) tools, MSP provides the means to involve the most affected stakeholders in a process of reconciling ecological, social and economic objectives. In 2012, the Pacific County Marine Resources Council (MRC) identified a list of priority datasets that should be assembled to inform the MSP process. Those datasets comprised the scope of work of this project. The datasets and associated metadata sought included the following:

  • commercial, private, tribal, and public shellfish growing areas
  • “beneficial use” areas
  • identified infestations of invasive species
  • shoreline master program (SMP) environmental designations
  • seafloor bathymetry

The transfer of information from Pacific County’s hard copy SMP designations maps into a highly precise GIS data layer was particularly challenging. This work provided the County with the base data needed to begin the process of updating its SMP. The Pacific County MRC envisions an integration of MSP and SMP processes. While the MSP process offers no means to enact “enforceable” rules, the SMP update process requires adoption of binding county ordinances to implement the updated SMP policies.

Project Funding

Department of Natural Resources Interagency Agreement No. IAA 13-156

Project Deliverables

PDF Document Final Report: Coastal MSP Priorities

Datasets compiled during the project were distributed to WDNR. Those interested in obtaining these datasets should contact Keven Bennett at k2ebennett@q.com.