Detailed Information on the
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Protected Areas Assessment

Program Code 10002052
Program Title National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Protected Areas
Department Name Department of Commerce
Agency/Bureau Name National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Program Type(s) Regulatory-based Program
Assessment Year 2004
Assessment Rating Adequate
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 100%
Strategic Planning 89%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 39%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $42
FY2008 $51
FY2009 $51

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The Budget maintains funding for both the MPA Center and NMSP, but does not continue unrequested program or construction funds.

Not enacted ONMS funding maintained by President??s Request $43.8M (ORF) and $5.5M (PAC). Appropriated budget was $46.9M (ORF) and $13.8M (PAC). For the MPA Center, the President??s Request was $2.1M, and $1.5M was appropriated. The Pres Budget maintains funding for both MPA Center and ONMS, but does not continue unrequested program or construction funds. Planned Actions for FY08 Q4: None

NOAA will establish review processes at the appropriate level and frequency to evaluate effectiveness and relevance of coastal and ocean area management programs.

Action taken, but not completed DOC OIG released report of program review of the ONMS in February 2008. In May 2008 ONMS completed audit action plan in response to report.ONMS published second annual Progress Report analyzing progress made in FY07 on program performance measures. MPA Advisory Comm, representing diverse stakeholders, is advising DOC/DOI on evaluation of national system of MPAs.Planned for FY08 Q4: ONMS will continue implementing audit action plan in response to OIG report, and reporting on it as necessary.

NOAA will work to enhance integration of area-based management programs.

Action taken, but not completed MPAC held 60day comment period on Revised Draft MPA Framework.MPA Advis. Comm. also submitted comments on doc.Mid-Atlantic ??Seamless Network?? (SN) wkshp to identify common priorities and coordination opportunities for fed. MPA programs in region.Planned for FY08 Q4: Finalization of Framework to guide fed. and state integration within national system.Planning meetings with CMRP to prepare for future PART review.Planning region SN wkshps in FY09 to enhance integration among fed. MPA programs.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

The NMSP will continue to ensure that targets and timeframes for performance measures are ambitious.

Completed NMSP works to improve strategic planning and performance measures, including measures in the PART to ensure they are ambitious and useful to management.

Develop a new measure to address the refocus of the research and analysis to support a national system of MPAs.

Completed New measure developed: ??Conduct a comprehensive regional gap analysis for each of the eight NOAA/MPA Center regions to identify priority conservation areas where new or enhanced MPAs may be needed to meet national system goals by 2020. (annual)??

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Number of sites in which water quality, based on long-term monitoring data, is being maintained or improved.

Explanation:Water quality is an indicator of the sanctuary system's ability to maintain sanctuary habitat and ecological services. This measure assesses the status of water quality using such indicators as stressors, eutrophic condition, risks to human health and human impacts. These indicators are based on standards established by local, regional, and national institutions and agencies and vary greatly across the system and within specific sanctuaries. The NMSP and independent evaluators (universities, research institutions and environmental consultants) evaluate data to determine whether the condition is improving, remaining stable (maintaining), or deteriorating.

Year Target Actual
1994 0 1
2000 baseline 4
2005 6 6
2010 9
2015 12
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Number of sites in which habitat, based on long-term monitoring data, is being maintained or improved.

Explanation:This measure assesses the status of habitat based on indicators of abundance and distribution, structure, contaminant levels and human impacts. The NMSP and independent evaluators (universities, research institutions, SAC research subcommittees, and environmental consultants) evaluate data to determine whether condition is improving, remaining stable (maintaining), or deteriorating. Obtaining monitoring data sufficient to document long-term trends and best inform management requires comprehensive monitoring over extended periods of time. Targets were established based on the year of sanctuary designation, the environmental and socio-political complexity of the site, and time required to implement and conduct a monitoring program and report on results (approximately 10 years).

Year Target Actual
1995 0 1
2000 baseline 3
2005 5 5
2010 9
2015 12
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Number of sites in which select living marine resources, based on long-term monitoring data, are being maintained or improved.

Explanation:This measure assesses the status of living marine resources based on indicators of biodiversity, key species, extracted species, invasive species, health and human impacts. The NMSP and independent evaluators (universities, research institutions SAC research subcommittees, and environmental consultants) evaluate data to determine whether the condition is improving, remaining stable (maintaining), or deteriorating. Obtaining monitoring data sufficient to document long-term trends and best inform management requires comprehensive monitoring over extended periods of time. Targets were established based on the year of sanctuary designation, the environmental and socio-political complexity of the site, and time required to implement and conduct a monitoring program and report on results (approximately 10 years).

Year Target Actual
1995 0 1
2000 baseline 4
2005 6 6
2010 9
2015 12
Long-term Output

Measure: Percent of the sanctuary system adequately characterized.

Explanation:Managing the use and protecting the resources with in the National Marine Sanctuaries requires an understanding of these resources and the processes that affect them. Such an understanding is the purpose of conducting characterization activities and developing site characterizations for each National Marine Sanctuary. As required by the National Marine Sanctuary Act and the findings of Congress, each national marine sanctuary shall develop adequate site characterizations to support the management of that site and to support the management of the national marine sanctuary system. For the NMSP, site characterizations are records of information describing natural and cultural resources, biological and physical processes, as well as the human dimensions of sanctuaries and the ecosystems that contain them. Characterizations are the basic bodies of data on which we build all conservation science data, research, and monitoring. Characterization information serves an integral role in the evolving Conservation Science Program of the NMSP, which is based on a conservation science approach to conduct, sponsor, and facilitate research that is fundamental to understanding the nature and uses of natural and cultural resources in marine sanctuaries. In developing site characterizations for each NMS, a distinction must be made. The requirement defined in this performance measure is to develop adequate characterizations and resource inventories to support the management of each sanctuary. The process of characterization for adaptive management goes well beyond this and addresses issues of increasing complexity and decreasing scale as the sanctuary increases its ability and effectiveness as a resource management organization. This performance measure is designed to track and assist in the evaluation of NMSP progress towards adequate characterizations. To that end, a distinction must be made between "adequate characterizations" and "characterizations for adaptive management". The following should be used to define that difference. Adequate Characterization - a collection of information that documents the presence and distribution of key resources (cultural and natural) and processes (biological and physical), as well as profiles of the human dimension (socioeconomics, maritime heritage, pressures on resources, etc.) that influence those resources and processes within a sanctuary. Adequate characterizations provide the basic building block of the knowledge base for each sanctuary as it matures through its lifecycle and reaches the ultimate phase of Adaptive Management. Guiding the development of these characterizations are several key documents, including the NMSP Strategic Plan, the System-Wide Monitoring (SWiM) framework, and site management plans. The operational definition for this effort of adequate characterizations is as follows: - An adequate characterization provides sufficient information to support basic management responsibilities and decision making in the following areas: emergency response, damage assessment, permitting, enforcement, monitoring of key resources and parameters, education and outreach, identification of priority science needs and the development of site management plans and environmental impact statements. - Characterization for Adaptive Management is a process by which site characterizations are expanded and improved based on site specific management issues typically identified in Phase Five of the NMSP lifecycle and addressed in Phase Six. In Phase Six, the ultimate development phase of a sanctuary, a site continuously refines its sanctuary management processes, generally on an issue-by-issue basis, and management strategies are evaluated and adapted to incorporate new information developed through research and monitoring activities. These activities provide for a better understanding of the resources, processes and human dimensions of a site and bolster the scope and depth of site characterization.

Year Target Actual
2002 baseline 55%
2003 65% 63%
2004 70% 63%
2006 80% 91%
2008 90%
2015 100%
Long-term Output

Measure: By 2015, 100% of known historical, cultural, and archaeological resources within each national marine sanctuary boundary will be inventoried within the NOAA's ARCH database

Explanation:The National Marine Sanctuary Program is mandated to "improve the conservation, understanding, and management" of historical, cultural and archaeological resources at each site (NMSA sec. 304). Shipwrecks constitute the largest element of the many potential maritime heritage resources present in the sanctuaries. In order to conserve, understand, and manage these resources, they must be located and inventoried using remote sensing and historical information, and identified and evaluated in terms of their potential historic value. NMSP establishes a baseline status of their condition to enable evaluation of the rate and characteristics of degradation over time. This information, along with characterizing the potential threats, is used to guide and inform management actions that will insure the preservation of these resources. Maritime Heritage Coordinators at each site will input data, based on scientific research conducted, on the confirmed sites within their sanctuary boundaries into the NOAA's ARCH database. The information compiled in the database will be provided by the NOAA's ARCH system administrator to the Program Manager of NMSP Maritime Heritage Program.

Year Target Actual
1999 baseline 0
2006 10% 0
2008 13%
2010 50%
2015 100%
Annual Efficiency

Measure: Percent of NMSP permits handled timely and correctly.

Explanation:Criteria for the "timely" and "correct" issuance of NMSP permits varies depending upon the situation and permit type. This measure results in both enhanced customer (permit applicant) satisfaction and NMSP labor savings. It is also an indicator of improving sustainable use of the marine environment. A permitting database was developed in 1997 to improve efficiency and accountability in the permit process. By 2000, enough data was available to identify that no permits were being issued correctly or timely. To address this issue, the NMSP has held training session, is working to increase staff for permitting through a regional structure, enabling a web-based database, and developing a an online permit application system (which will further reduce permit processing time and labor).

Year Target Actual
2000 baseline 0
2001 10% 0
2002 20% 0
2003 30% 0
2004 40% 25%
2005 60% 60%
2006 80% 64%
2007 100% 97%
2008 100%
Annual Outcome

Measure: By 2010, all education programs implemented in national marine sanctuaries will be assessed for effectiveness against stated program goals and objectives and National Science Education Standards.

Explanation:The National Marine Sanctuary Program is mandated to enhance public awareness, understanding and appreciation of the marine environment. "Ocean literacy" is the awareness and understanding of a set of fundamental ideas about the ocean. Analysis of benchmark environmental literacy rates by independent research groups indicates that citizens have only a superficial knowledge of the ocean. Based on this analysis, the NMSP has established a set of ocean literacy evaluation questions. These questions have been tested by external reviewers to ensure that results are reliable and valid. There are a number of specific steps that the education program is taking to ultimately achieve an outcome-based measure through achievement of the interim performance measure. Discrete programmatic efforts include further research in and refinement of ocean literacy evaluation questions (ongoing); testing and implementation of ocean literacy evaluation questions in select education activities; development of an online evaluation resource library; implementation of a pilot evaluation program; development of an evaluation training program; education staff training in evaluation and measuring program effectiveness; implementation system-wide of evaluation program. A tracking sheet will be developed by the end of 2006 to track the programs use of evaluation models and target measures. Annual reports will be developed each year to include the tracking plan to ensure the education program is meeting its target measures and ultimately the final performance measure by 2010.

Year Target Actual
2004 baseline 5%
2006 25% 25%
2008 65%
2010 100%
Long-term Output

Measure: Percentage of natural and cultural resource characterizations for U.S. biogeographic regions completed by MPA Center.

Explanation:Biogeographic characterizations are needed to support the analysis of natural and cultural resources that should be protected by a national system of marine protected areas. These characterizations will allow the MPA Center to identify key resources and to specify which ones are currently not protected but should be part of a national system.

Year Target Actual
2004 0 0
2005 0 0
2006 0 0
2007 10 10
2008 20
2009 30
2010 40
2011 50
2012 60
Long-term Output

Measure: By 2010, create six regionally based management structures to link MPAs within a national system and at the local level to ecosystem based management initiatives.

Explanation:Provides staff and coordination capacity at the regional level to link individual MPAs into a national system of MPAs called for in Executive Order. Will result in increased stakeholder involvement, more coordinated scientific research, and better integration of management with related ecosystem objectives.

Year Target Actual
2005 0 0
2006 0 0
2007 0 0
2008 2
2009 4
2010 6

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The National Marine Sanctuary Program's (NMSP) purpose is defined by section 301(a)(4) of the National Marine Sanctuary Act (NMSA) ('Findings of the Congress'): A) Improve the conservation, understanding, management, and wise and sustainable use of marine resources; B) Enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the marine environment; and C) Maintain for future generations the habitat, and ecological services, of the natural assemblage of living resources that inhabit these areas.' The National Marine Protected Areas Center's (MPA Center) mission is to facilitate the effective use of science, technology, training, and information in the planning, management, and evaluation of the nation's system of marine protected areas.

Evidence: The text of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA) [16 U.S.C.1431] can be found at sanctuaries.noaa.gov. The MPA center was authorized by Executive Order 13158, which was signed in May 2000 and formally endorsed by the Bush administration in 2001. The purpose of the Executive Order is to: (a) strengthen the management, protection, and conservation of existing marine protected areas and establish new or expanded MPAs; (b) develop a scientifically based, comprehensive national system of MPAs representing diverse U.S. marine ecosystems, and the Nation's natural and cultural resources; and (c) avoid causing harm to MPAs through Federally conducted, approved, or funded activities. The MPA Center was created to coordinate implementation of this Executive Order across Federal agencies. The text of Executive Order 13158 (May 2000), the MPA Center Strategic Plan, and the MPA Center Charter can be found at www.mpa.gov.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest or need?

Explanation: The NMSP addresses the needs and problems identified in the NMSA, "...(the) Nation recognizes the importance of protecting special areas of its public domain'certain areas of the marine environment (have) conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, scientific, educational ...qualities which give them special national significance...existing laws cannot'provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to marine conservation and management." The MPA Center addresses the need to coordinate a national system of marine protected areas, improve the effectiveness of existing marine protected areas, and enhance coordination of Federal, state and tribal marine protected area management and policy. Unlike the NMSP, the MPA Center does not have direct responsibility for establishing or managing MPA sites.

Evidence: At each sanctuary, site-specific issues and needs are identified through a public process that involves local, regional, and national stakeholders. Site issues range from protection of vulnerable habitats, such as coral reefs and kelp forests, to preservation of maritime heritage resources, such as the Civil War ironclad, the USS Monitor. In February 2000, a workshop of leading marine scientists and managers organized the Marine Conservation Biology Institute and the Cousteau Society concluded that there was a need for a more coordinated approach to marine protected areas within the U.S., and that a national system of marine protected areas was needed. Similar conclusions were drawn by a National Academy of Sciences study (underway in 2000, published in 2001), the 1998 National Ocean Conference, and the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: The NMSP is the only Federal marine protected area program providing comprehensive, ecosystem-based management in Federal waters. The NMSP uses extensive formal and informal interagency coordination to prevent duplication, including cooperative management plan development and review, and development of Memoranda of Agreement for Federal and state agency and non-governmental partnerships. The MPA Center is the only program designed to coordinate a representative national system of MPAs and to look broadly at improving the effectiveness of MPAs across all levels of government and agencies.

Evidence: One standard in the NMSA for designating national marine sanctuaries is that existing state and/or Federal authorities are inadequate or need to be supplemented so that coordinated and comprehensive management can occur (NMSA section 303(a)). The NMSP targets a unique jurisdiction, the Federal waters throughout the EEZ. Other Federal programs either have more limited geographic scope or focus on more narrow interests. Executive Order 13158 calls for the creation of the MPA Center to bring together information, technologies and strategies relating to MPAs, and notes that "the work of the MPA Center is intended to support, not interfere with, agencies' independent exercise of their own existing authorities." The Executive Order calls on the Departments of Commerce (NOAA) and Interior to work with the Departments of Defense, State, and Transportation; US Agency for International Development; National Science Foundation; Environmental Protection Agency; and other pertinent Federal agencies to develop a national system of MPAs in consultation with states, commonwealths, tribes, Regional Fishery Management Councils and other entities.

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The NMSA is designed to maximize net benefits to the nation by creating a program to protect significant marine resources for future generations and to maximize its operational ability and flexibility. The NMSA provides the necessary tools to help the NMSP reach its primary mandate of resource protection of nationally significant areas. These tools include adaptive management planning, advisory council development, economic analyses, management-needs driven science, permitting and enforcement, emergency response, and contingency planning. The chief functions of the MPA Center are coordinating the implementation of the Executive Order with Federal, state and tribal agencies; providing for stakeholder involvement through a Federal Advisory Committee and other mechanisms; developing the science-based framework for a national system of marine protected areas; and providing direct technical assistance and training. The structure of the Center was designed to fulfill these key functions.

Evidence: Sanctuaries have been designated either by Congressional action or directive or administratively by selection from the Site Evaluation List (SEL), a pool of potentially nationally significant areas. The SEL was completed in 1983 through a rigorous two-year process of regional evaluations by teams of scientists (based on nearly 20 criteria focusing on natural resource value, human use value, potential activity impacts, and management concerns) and public review and comment. Advisory councils established by the NMSP are exempt from the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, but still maintain the public input important to their effective operation. The NMSA also allows the NMSP to accept donations of services (including volunteers) and resources, and to apply for grants, thus maximizing the NMSP's ability to achieve statutory objectives.

YES 20%

Is the program effectively targeted, so that resources will reach intended beneficiaries and/or otherwise address the program's purpose directly?

Explanation: NMSP funds are allocated and tracked through the NMSP Annual Operating Plan (AOP) process to meet mandated requirements and identified program priorities. NMSP milestones are tracked in the National Ocean Service AOP within the context of the NOAA Strategic Plan. This ensures that the national goals for effective management of the NMSP not only meet the need of NMSP beneficiaries but also the long-term outcomes set by the NOAA strategic planning process. The principle beneficiary of activities conducted by the MPA Center is the general public, who will benefit from the development of a national system and from the increased effectiveness of existing marine protected areas. In order to achieve this, the MPA Center targets marine protected area managers and MPA programs at all governmental levels.

Evidence: The NMSP AOP is developed through a comprehensive, system-wide, requirements-driven process based on the sites' management plans, which are in turn based on the NMSP's requirements and goals as found in the NMSA. The AOP provides consistent operational details of activities, products, services, and expenditures across the NMSP. This approach ensures that NMSP resources are effectively targeted toward management priorities and goals and that partners and constituents focus on activities that further management goals. The work of the National MPA Center headquarters unit and the Science Institute primarily benefit MPA programs at all governmental levels and the general public. The services provided by the Center's Training and Technical Assistance Institute (TTA) are specifically targeted to managers of U.S. Federal, state, and local marine protected areas.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 100%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: The NMSP's long-term measures directly reflect its three primary mandates (see question 1.1). Due to the breadth of these mandates, multiple measures (both long-term and annual) are required to best track progress towards their achievement. The MPA Center is a new organization that developed long-term performance measures for the first time in August 2003 in the Protected Areas PBA. The measures address outputs that are directly linked to the desired outcomes of the program. Other measures are in development, and efficiency measures are being explored for applicable functions of the MPA Center.

Evidence: The FY2006 Protected Areas Program Baseline Assessment (completed in August 2003) is the product of a NOAA-mandated, internal process that ties specific results and requirements of each program to actual program mandates. Although many measures have been tracked internally for some time, the PBA serves as the formal basis for many of the long-term and annual measures for both NMSP and MPA Center. 'A Monitoring Framework for the National Marine Sanctuary System' describes the scientific methodology behind the rating system described in measures 1-4 . The creation of performance measures for the MPA Center is also guided by goals and objectives found in the MPA Center Strategic Plan (www.mpa.gov).

YES 11%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: Most of the NMSP's outcome-based measures track actual changes in the environment resulting from management actions. Because sanctuaries are large and complex ecosystems affected by many variables (both anthropogenic and natural), these changes are often only recognizable over large time scales and require analysis of a wide variety of factors that affect the marine environment. Consequently, achieving outcomes, such as improving or maintaining water quality, are by their nature ambitious. The MPA Center has ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures. For example, the Center has a goal to establish six regionally based management structures to link MPAs within a national system and, locally, to ecosystem-based management initiatives by 2010. This will demand a high level of coordination not only among the nation's 1,500 MPAs, but with other natural resource programs and initiatives with complementary conservation objectives.

Evidence: In certain cases, 'maintaining' environmental conditions can be an ambitious target. Because sanctuaries are not physically isolated from larger natural systems, sanctuary water quality, for example, can be noticeably affected by nutrients deposited for agricultural purposes hundreds of miles inland. Similarly, injuries sustained by humpback whales feeding in Alaska in the summer can affect the numbers counted in the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale NMS where they winter. Sanctuaries are generally designed at a scope and scale where sufficient direct impacts within the boundaries of the site can be regulated and managed to make up for such variables occurring outside site boundaries. However, given the number of factors occurring outside site boundaries, in some cases, maintaining the current state of sanctuary ecosystems can be challenging. Further, habitats and ecosystems can reach a sufficiently healthy point where maintaining the present status, not improving it, is the appropriate action.

YES 11%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: The NMSP's annual performance measures demonstrate progress towards its three primary mandates (as identified in question 1.1). An annual increase in the percent of the sanctuary system characterized, for example, measures progress towards improving the NMSP's understanding of marine environment. Similarly, the annual efficiency measure on the correct and timely handling of permits is a direct measure of the program's ability to successfully analyze activities that are sustainable and compatible with the primary goal of resource protection. The MPA Center measures include the percent of the national inventory of marine managed areas completed and the number of national science strategies and regional research plans completed, which both support the goal of developing a national system of MPAs. Another measure, the number of trainings for MPA managers and staff supports the goal of increasing the effectiveness of existing MPAs.

Evidence: Implementation of the NMSP Report Card will significantly strengthen the resolution and quality of performance assessment by providing consistent criteria for annual management evaluation. The NMSP Annual Operating Plan identifies the management categories under which the various program performance measures are developed. The current status of sanctuary characterizations are identified in 'A Monitoring Framework for the National Marine Sanctuary System' and 'A Life Cycle Approach for Estimating Funding Needs in the National Marine Sanctuary System.' The MPA Center also uses an Annual Operating Plan to track activities supporting program measures.

YES 11%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: All NMSP annual measures have identified baselines and ambitious targets. One example is 'Percent of sanctuary system adequately characterized.' Because many sanctuaries are large and contain a wide diversity of natural and cultural resources, comprehensive characterizations are resource intensive and take many years to complete. For the MPA Center, baselines and ambitious targets are available for the annual measures. For example, the Center measures progress toward completion of a national inventory of marine managed areas by 2005. This involves gathering, checking, and analyzing data from 35 coastal states, Federal agencies, and tribes.

Evidence: As another example of ambitious targets and timelines for the NMSP, it is currently believed that only one sanctuary would achieve an "optimal" rating for management effectiveness on the NMSP Report Card. Progressing to an 'optimal' rating will require considerable effort from the other 13 sites to improve their performance in areas such as scientific monitoring, education, and resource planning. For six sites to reach this rating in five years, it will require smart planning and focus by site managers and program staff. Achieving and maintaining 100% correct and timely handling of permits will require a combination of new technology, well-designed training programs, education of permittees, and efficient use of existing resources. Information on the MPA inventory is posted at www.mpa.gov.

YES 11%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: Partners are integral in furthering the NMSP and MPA Center missions, and in contributing toward achievement of annual and long-term goals. The NMSP has established a large number of partnerships (32 Federal and tribal, 127 state and local, and 209 non-governmental), many with formal Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) that have clear goals and objectives. Such partnerships enable the NMSP to greatly expand its capabilities through leveraging of resources. Contractors are committed to supporting the NMSP and MPA Center goals through the requirements of the contractual agreements that specify deliverables and timeframes for their efforts.

Evidence: A good example of partners working toward the NMSP's long-term goals is the Monterey Bay NMS Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP). Through a Memorandum of Agreement, the Sanctuary has formed a partnership of 25 Federal, state and local agencies, public and private groups 'dedicated to protecting and enhancing water quality in the Sanctuary and its watersheds.' (http://montereybay.noaa.gov/resourcepro/water-pro.html). The MPA Center contracts with the Coastal States Organization to work with coastal states to gather and quality control data on marine managed areas for the national inventory, essential information for developing the national system of MPAs. The Center is now in the process of signing an Inter-Agency Agreement with the Department of the Interior to facilitate joint planning and sharing of budget and staff resources, and Interior staff participate in Strategic Planning, establishment of performance measures, and tracking progress toward goals. The Center has established Criteria for Financial and Technical Support for MPA-related projects for other external partners that explicitly tie to its long term goals.

YES 11%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: External evaluations, NMSA reauthorizations, and management plan reviews work to help assess, adjust, and guide the NMSP. The NMSP relies on the first two types of evaluations to assess and suuport programatic improvements in the broad operation of the NMSP. It depends heavily on the management plan review process to develop the detailed local implementation of the NMSA as suited to each individual sanctuary. However, no formal independent evaluations of the MPA Center have been conducted.

Evidence: Four independent, external evaluations have been conducted on the NMSP since passage of the NMSA in 1972: the General Accounting Office in 1981, the External Review Team in 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) in 1997, and the National Academy of Public Administration in 2000. The NRC report cited that improving governance of coastal areas included a method for determining common national goals and interests and an opportunity for decision-making at the local level. These mechanisms are now embodied in the NMSP's management plan review process. The NMSP is reviewed on a regular 5-year cycle through the process of NMSA reauthorization, an opportunity for both Congress and the Administration to correct deficiencies and enhance program operations. Despite the lack of formal evaluations, the MPA Center receives reviews and comments on its work from a variety of stakeholder groups. The work plan of the Training and Technical Assistance Institute is driven by two needs assessments of coastal managers conducted by the Center in 2002 and 2003. The Science Institute is building national and regional MPA research strategies for natural and social science based on extensive regional stakeholder input. In addition, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee provides specific recommendations and guidance to the MPA Center.

NO 0%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Since 1999, the NMSP has been tracking its progress against two long-term goals, used as indicators of NMSP management capabilities, that were reported annually in the NOAA Budget. These measures will be phased out during the FY 2006 NOAA budget process and replaced with the long-term measures in the PART Measures Tab. NMSP budget requirements at the individual sanctuaries are developed through the AOP process. Each AOP category is directly linked to the goals in the NMSA and represents a specific program capability. The NMSP Report Card, which is built around each of these same capabilities, identifies a diverse array of annual and long-term performance goals. When fully implemented in FY2006, the Report Card will allow NMSP to collect performance data on measures that are reported NOS and NOAA-wide.

Evidence: The elements of the NMSP and MPA budget process that present resource needs, as described above, can be found in the NMSP Annual Operating Plan, Protected Areas Program Baseline Assessment, FY2006, PPBES Quad Charts, FY2006, and the NMSP Life Cycle Approach for Estimating Funding Needs, 2004. The MPA Center Program Charter and Strategic Plan are available at www.mpa.gov/mpa_center/about_mpa_center.html.

YES 11%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: Since FY2000, the NMSP has developed an annual operating plan (AOP), which clearly links funding categories with program policies and goals and allows the program to monitor and respond to planning deficiencies. The NMSP has also developed a funding framework, which articulates the long-term direction and needs of the program. Management plan reviews, needs assessments and strategic planning documents focus on specific functional areas of the program on a 5-10 year planning horizon. These tools allow the NMSP to apply an adaptive, scientifically informed, ecosystem-based approach to management that considers short and long term goals for the program. The MPA Center developed a Program Charter in 2002 and a Strategic Plan in 2003. This is being updated in 2004, and will include additional long-term performance measures and annual performance measures. The program is also implementing a management structure based on the Center's three goals.

Evidence: High-level strategic goals for the NMSP are embodied in the NOS and NOAA Strategic Plans for 2003-2008. Although the NMSP had a strategic plan through FY2000, to meet current needs of the program it is developing a new strategic plan built around the NMSA and the functional management categories of the NMSP's AOP. Other examples of the NMSP taking steps to correct planning deficiencies include: updating the AOP process to provide better linkages of funding and spending to specific activities; and leadership team meetings resulting in comprehensive system-wide decisions on national needs and management issues and opportunities to improve the NMSP's performance. Multiple individual targeted planning and requirements documents, such as the 'Life Cycle Approach for Estimating Funding Needs,' the 'Small Boats Requirements Study FY2003-FY2013,' the 2003 Sanctuary Advisory Council Annual Report, the NMSP 10-year master facilities plan, and the Management Plan Handbook provide specific examples of the mechanisms used by the NMSP to correct strategic planning deficiencies. Many of these reports are available online at www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov/library/library.html.

YES 11%

Are all regulations issued by the program/agency necessary to meet the stated goals of the program, and do all regulations clearly indicate how the rules contribute to achievement of the goals?

Explanation: All NMSP regulations are issued only after careful consideration of the need and scope for such regulations to implement a sanctuary's goals, ensure comprehensive conservation and management, and facilitate sanctuaries uses compatible with resource protection. Any proposed new regulation, or revision to existing regulations, are tailored to each sanctuary's unique needs and are fundamentally derived from the purposes and policies identified in the NMSA. The five-year management plan review is the principle vehicle for comprehensively assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of NMSP regulations. The NMSP can adapt to new challenges between reviews, case-by-case, through permits to allow otherwise prohibited activities if conducted in a certain manner, or through new regulations, if warranted. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: There are numerous checks and balances in the NMSP regulatory development process to determine 1) if regulations are necessary and then 2) to develop them in an open and fair manner. First, regulations are developed and analyzed within a wide range of other management options such as internal policy change, education and outreach programs, and improved collaboration with other agencies. Second, if regulations are necessary to address a specific issue, the NMSP engages in an open rulemaking process that involves each sanctuary's Advisory Council, agency partners, and the general public. Finally, if rulemaking proceeds, NMSP must meet requirements (i.e., NEPA, Administrative Procedure Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and Information Quality Act, among others) to ensure regulations are necessary and developed transparently and reasonably. The NMSA is also mandated to facilitate all human uses to the extent they are compatible with the primary purpose of resource protection. Sanctuary regulations are detailed in 15 CFR Part 922, (available at www.sanctuaries.noaa.gov). The NMSP Management Plan Handbook, shows how regulations are reviewed as part of the management plan review process.

YES 11%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 89%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The NMSP has a number of processes that look at performance and adjust management decisions, including: actual performance measures; regular review of management plans; development of the Annual Operating Plan; and the NMSP Report Card mechanism that will be implemented in 2006. Performance information from NMSP program partners is also used to manage the program and improve program performance. The MPA Center has established annual performance measures, which are tracked to help improve performance. Long-term measures are being developed, and will be used to help manage the program when complete. Performance information from program partners is collected to help manage the program (e.g., evaluations of training workshops and milestones accomplished by contractors).

Evidence: The NMSP management plan review (MPR) process is a comprehensive formal evaluation of each site's annual and long-term planning, regulations, goals, and performance. The NMSA requires management plans to be reviewed every five years, during which time individual site management strategies are reviewed by program staff, the site's sanctuary advisory council, government and non-government partners and the public. These groups evaluate management plan progress in meeting stated goals and objectives for the site leading to revisions or new strategies as warranted. Contracts and grants require submission of reports to track deliverables and other specified progress on coorperative projects through contractors, state, Federal, and local government, and non-government partners. The NMSP has ended relationships with contractors who have not provided required deliverables. MOUs and MOAs between NMSP and partners are periodically reviewed to ensure specified goals and activities are being met.

YES 9%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: NMSP SES and senior managers are held accountable for performance through individual performance plans, which include, by reference, the relevant AOP. Contractors are held accountable for performance through deliverables specified in their contracts. Activities with NMSP partners are generally governed through formal MOUs or MOAs, which specify goals, authorities, and the responsibilities of each party. These are subject to periodic review to ensure required goals and activities are being met, and are amended or terminated if they are not. NMSP permits issued to partners and grantees also specify reporting requirements and can be revoked if terms and conditions are not in compliance. Sanctuary Advisory Council members are volunteers and must abide by the council charter. Members may be removed if they conduct activities contrary to the Charter. In the MPA Center, Federal managers are held accountable through individual performance plans, linked to the activities in the Annual Operating Plan and ultimately to the MPA Center Strategic Plan. As with the NMSP, contractors are held responsible for cost, schedule, and performance. Specific performance measures and milestones are noted in contracts and tracked on a monthly basis.

Evidence: Contractors are held accountable if requirements of a contract are not met. For example, RSIS, a principal personnel contractor, provides a monthly status report with its invoices. If there is a discrepancy between expectation and performance, invoices are adjusted or not paid until the matter is resolved. There have also been instances where contracts have been terminated because performance results were not met. Periodic analysis of NMSP MOAs and MOUs are used to ensure the goals of these instruments are being met. For example, the NMSP MOU with the State of Florida for cooperative enforcement of the Florida Keys NMS (FKNMS) includes a detailed statement of work outlining required results and requires the state to provide reports to NMSP on its progress towards meeting specified objectives.

YES 9%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: Both the NMSP and MPA center seek to obligate spending within the required fiscal year and have been successful at minimizing carryover across fiscal years. The NMSP Annual Operating Plan (AOP) process is a comprehensive mechanism that ensures program funds are obligated in a timely and effective manner. The AOP also tracks funds budgeted for certain activities and determines that object classes are actually spent as planned.

Evidence: Each NMSP AOP includes budgets and costs for each activity characterized by object class (accounting sections, such as Federal salaries, supplies, etc.). NMSP operating unit managers provide quarterly information on obligated funds to the NMSP Operations Team, which compares planned expenditures versus obligations. If discrepancies are found, the Operations Team works with the unit managers to review and correct the situation. In addition, NMSP senior management meets quarterly with the National Ocean Service Chief Financial Officer to review planned versus actual obligations. NMSP units are held accountable for meeting their budgets and are rewarded for a history of successful budgeting.

YES 9%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The NMSP measures efficiencies and maximizes cost effectiveness through, among other methods, its annual operating plan (AOP) process, review and issuance of permits, and contracting procedures. NMSP complies with NOAA procedures for the awarding of grants and contracts to ensure appropriate cost comparisons and competition, and does not use contracts when a more efficient and effective solution is available. The NMSP also works collaboratively with over 400 partners to extend its capabilities and utilizes their skills and abilities when available. NOAA reviews the MPA Center's Annual Operating Plan to ensure that projects are appropriate, that costs are reasonable, and that tasks are completed within the performance period. Competitive sourcing and cost comparisons are used to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness.

Evidence: The NMSP uses standardized procedures and templates for the development and implementation of AOPs. Procedures have recently been established for acquiring and distributing AOP data through a Web-based portal. A similar online system is under development for the NMSP permitting process. These procedures are expected to significantly reduce the review time associated with paper generated permits and AOPs, allow information to be transferred quickly to multiple levels (program, line office, agency) and promote efficiency through the standardization of information needs. Contract arrangements are geared toward cost effective acquisition of services to meet program goals. NMSP complies with NOAA Acquisition Management Division and Regional Administrative Support Center contracting guidance and procedures for appropriate cost comparisons and competition needed to meet requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulations. MOAs with partners require periodic reviews that, among other things, allow the NMSP to determine the cost effectiveness of these agreements.

YES 9%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The NMSA and National Environmental Policy Act mandate formal consultation and collaboration with related programs for many program activities. In addition, NMSP uses over 50 formal MOUs and MOAs to plan, execute, and regularly reevaluate key management activities in the sanctuaries in collaboration with other entities. The NMSP works with more than 400 separate partners from agencies, non-profits, and universities to achieve its goals. The MPA Center, housed at NOAA, coordinates across NOAA programs, as well as with pertinent Federal, state, territorial, and tribal MPA and MPA-support programs. At the Federal level it works closely with the Department of the Interior (DOI), as well as Minerals Management Service. The location of the MPA Center within NOAA allows it to draw on NOAA's resources and expertise in ocean and fisheries management, critical components of MPA coordination. In addition, the MPA Center has re-formed the Federal Interagency MPA Working Group to provide for ongoing coordination and collaboration with all Federal agencies in meeting joint requirements of E.O. 13158.

Evidence: Evidence of NMSP collaboration includes (1) collaboration with NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils during the site designation and management plan review processes; (2) a program-wide MOU with the National Park Service, which outlines the general joint relationship between the organizations and provides for site level sub-agreements; (3) Channel Islands NMS worked closely with the State of California to successfully designate marine reserves (no-take areas) in state waters of the Sanctuary and consider additional reserves in Federal waters; and (4) a partnership with the State of Florida provides an extensive on-the-water interpretive enforcement program that the NMSP would otherwise be unable to provide, the most comprehensive and effective enforcement program in the NMSP. The MPA Center's collaborative efforts have resulted in an improved understanding of spatial management in the United States (through the ongoing national inventory of marine managed areas), enhanced scientific understanding of MPA design and management issues (through collaborative research and planning efforts, such as the MPA Social Science Strategy), and through enhanced training and technical assistance capabilities (through partnerships with the US Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center.)

YES 9%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: NMSP and MPA Center operating units plan and spend via annual operating plans. Spending is tracked within the NOAA financial system (CAMS) and is evaluated quarterly by the NMSP and MPA Center Financial Management Officers. Program managers perform quarterly reconciliation (comparing NMSP internal tracking against CAMS). When errors are discovered, the program contacts the appropriate NOAA Finance Office or Administrative Support Center to facilitate a correction. NMSP plans to make this a monthly exercise to even better improve financial management.

Evidence: NMSP and MPA Center continuously work with NOAA Finance to reduce infrequent errors. For instance, to help ensure accurate accounting, copies of the purchase order that the invoice is paid against are now included with the required receiving report. Contracts and purchase orders are subject to audit as set forth in the contract clauses. Contracts are awarded using market based competition, so that the program is getting the best price and value in meeting its requirements. Also, NOAA conducts an annual financial and performance audit to ensure strong financial management practices are being followed agency-wide. Financial tracking reports, contract documents, NOAA annual audited financial statements, and criteria for MPA Center Financial and Technical Support provide evidence for the comprehensive financial planned, tracking, and verification system used by these programs.

YES 9%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: Through the MPR scoping process, the Sanctuary Advisory Council working group process, and internal evaluation process, necessary adjustments are regularly made in the management of each site. On a system-wide level, NMSP annual operating plan development includes program-wide collaboration on and re-evaluation of achievements, deficiencies, and priorities through regular meetings of the Leadership Team (site managers, branch chiefs, and senior management). At NOAA and line office levels, program results are tracked quarterly and monthly. Both the NMSP and the MPA Center are part of the Protected Areas Program. The Protected Areas Program completed a Program Baseline Assessment (PBA) last year as part of NOAA's Program Planning, Budgeting and Execution System (PPBES). The PBA was focused on identifying program deficiencies, and ways to address them (both through increased funding and nonbudgetary approaches, such as sharing resources). The PBA will serve as guidance for addressing program management deficiencies over the coming year and will be updated annually.

Evidence: Section 304(e) of the NMSA requires five-year review of all sanctuary management plans (sanctuaries.noaa.gov). An example of management plan that has recently completed an MPR is Gray's Reef NMS (available online at www.graysreef.noaa.gov).

YES 9%

Did the program seek and take into account the views of all affected parties (e.g., consumers; large and small businesses; State, local and tribal governments; beneficiaries; and the general public) when developing significant regulations?

Explanation: In the NMSP, the scoping process conducted during designation and management plan development and reviews requires extensive opportunity for public comment, response to public comments, and regulatory analyses. NEPA requires similar activities through its environmental impact assessment requirements, and section 303(b)(2) of NMSA requires NMSP to enter into formal consultation with other affected agencies when changing the existing terms of sanctuary designation. NMSP also conducts socioeconomic impact assessments above and beyond NEPA requirements. Through monthly meetings of each SAC, the annual meeting of the Advisory Council chairs, and Advisory Council working groups, the NMSP regularly seeks input from representatives of these sanctuary stakeholders when developing strategies to address management issues, including new regulations. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: Scoping comments and responses from the Channel Islands NMS management plan review are instructive as to how public input through these comments is used to identify deficiencies in current NMSP management (http://channelislands.noaa.gov/manplan/comments.html). NMSA section 303(b)(2) identifies the consultation during designation requirement (http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov). NMSP Management Plan Handbook (3rd edition, February 2002) describes the method through which public input is integrated into the management plan and related regulations development process (http://sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/library/National/MP_handbook.pdf). A compilation of SAC recommendations developed as a result of program solicitation can be found in NMSP Sanctuary Advisory Council Annual Reports, 2003.

YES 9%

Did the program prepare adequate regulatory impact analyses if required by Executive Order 12866, regulatory flexibility analyses if required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and SBREFA, and cost-benefit analyses if required under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; and did those analyses comply with OMB guidelines?

Explanation: The NMSP prepares all required analyses as part of the development of any new proposed regulations. The NMSP exceeds the minimum requirements for these analyses. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the Florida Keys NMS (fknms.noaa.gov/tortugas.welcome.html). The impact analysis for Channel Islands NMS management plan review process serves as another example of compliance with these mandates (www.marineeconomics.noaa.gov/reserves/analysis/analysis.pdf).

YES 9%

Does the program systematically review its current regulations to ensure consistency among all regulations in accomplishing program goals?

Explanation: The NMSP systematically reviews current regulations both at the individual site level, principally through management plan reviews, and programwide through periodic comprehensive reviews of all sanctuary regulations. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: Section 304(a) of the NMSA requires a management plan review at each site every five years, which specifically includes review of site regulations. Through this public process, NMSP receives input on the effectiveness of existing regulations and need for changes or new regulations. For example, as a result of the comprehensive joint management plan review of the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries, a number of regulatory changes are being considered to better address emerging management challenges such as invasive species. Program-wide regulatory reviews in 1993, 1995, and 2004 have streamlined NMSP regulations. For example, the 1995 review removed outdated regulations for the Site Evaluation List that was then not active or needed. It removed notification deadlines that had passed and combined many permitting and consultation requirements into a single national section.

YES 9%

Are the regulations designed to achieve program goals, to the extent practicable, by maximizing the net benefits of its regulatory activity?

Explanation: Since the NMSP goals of resource protection and facilitating uses compatible with resource protection can sometimes conflict, regulations are promulgated only after a thoughtful, transparent, public process has been undertaken and rulemaking is determined to be the most beneficial action. Socioeconomic analyses are an integral part of this process and the NMSP has produced a number of studies identifying the net benefits of its regulatory actions. Further, NMSP has developed procedures that minimize the public burden and encourage compliance with regulations. Most regulations and procedures of the NMSP actually impose few requirements for recordkeeping and reporting. The ones that do have information requirements have appropriate approvals under the Paperwork Reduction Act and have flexibility to increase ease of compliance and decrease cost and effort to the public. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: The NMSP Management Plan Handbook provides detailed guidance for the conduct of regulatory analysis, including alternatives analysis (sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/library/National/MP_handbook.pdf). For example, a socioeconomic study of the impact of potential marine reserves was conducted in 1999. This research involved working with stakeholders, social scientists, and agency representatives to develop an MPA system that maximized ecological benefits while minimizing economic impact (www.marineeconomics.noaa.gov/reserves/analysis/analysis.pdf). In March 2003, stakeholders and experts met to design a monitoring program for the MPAs in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Monitoring recommendations from this workshop, including options and costs, are presented in a report titled 'Socioeconomic Research and Monitoring Recommendations for Marine Protected Areas in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary' (marineeconomics.noaa.gov/SocmonFK/CI_recom.pdf).

YES 9%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 100%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: Of the long-term measures included in the PART, the NMSP has been meeting targets through 2000. The NMSP is also on track to meet its 2005 targets for these measures. The MPA Center established long-term performance goals only in 2003 and has not yet begun measuring progress. However, it has made specific plans for how those goals will be accomplished.

Evidence: It should be noted that since 1999, the NMSP has been tracking its progress against two previous long-term goals that were reported in the NOAA budget annually and were used to formulate out-year budget requests. While not outcome-oriented, as required by today's more rigorous performance measurement standards, these output-based measures provided an indicator of improvement in development and management capabilities of the NMS System. These measures will have been accomplished at 100% by FY 2006 and will appear for the last time in the FY 2006 NOAA budget documents. The performance measures that appear in the PART Measures Tab will replace these measures as the 'official' measures for the NMSP. They will be included as the Program's measures during the FY 2007 NOAA budget process.


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The NMSP and MPA Center have demonstrated progress for some of the annual performance measures. Others are new measures and the program has yet to measure progress. In some cases the programs have fallen short of their targets.

Evidence: The measures section provides quantified results for the annual measures of both programs. Additional evidence is found in the NOS Quarterly Reports (updated in the NOS on-line database), the NMSP Permitting database, the NMSP Education Program, and the NOS Annual Operating Plan.


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The NMSP has improved its efficiency and effectiveness in the issuance of permits across the system, but fell short of the set target. Although no results were demonstrated in the first four years of tracking this measure, the Program has demonstrated a 25% increase in the number of permits that are issued both timely and correctly across the system over the past year.

Evidence: The measures section provides quantified results for the annual measures of both programs. Additional evidence is found in the NMSP Sanctuary Permitting and Information Tracking System (SPITS). Various mechanisms to improve cost effectiveness (e.g. competitive bids) have been implemented within the MPA Center. Because this is a new initiative, impacts will be identified as data is collected over the next few years. The MPA Center is also exploring what efficiency performance measures could be developed for applicable parts of the program.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: This program does not meet the criteria for a "Yes" primarily because of a lack of existing analyses which specifically compare the effectiveness of the NMSP with other coastal or ocean managed areas run by other NOAA programs, the Department of Interior, or other Federal or state programs. One recent study, which critiqued the effectiveness of protecting the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands solely by Executive Order, recommends sanctuary designation under the NMSA over alternative statutory protections due to the NMSA's unique focus on marine ecosystem protection, enforcement penalty system, the overarching goal of conservation, and mandate for research. There is also evidence that other nations look to the NMSP as a source of 'best practices' in the management of marine areas. For example, South Africa and South Korea invited NMSP experts to assist them in preparing management plans for MPAs and Vietnam requested NMSP to assist with development of an inegrated coastal management plan. The MPA Center's role in coordinating a system of representative MPAs compares favorably to similar efforts in Canada and Australia, focusing not only on the designation of MPA sites by the Federal government, but also seeking to establish a national system that includes Federal, state, and tribal sites, as well as fisheries management areas. The 14 NMSP sites are expected to be part of the national system, but these are a small fraction of the 1,500 sites currently in the Inventory of Marine Managed Areas that will serve as the pool of candidate sites for the system.

Evidence: Information on NMSP assistance with South Africa in developing a management plan for the MPA at Aliwal Shoals is available at www.sanctuaries.nos.noaa.gov/special/south_africa/intro.html. Documentation of NMSP assistance to Vietnam can be found at 'Building Capacity for Integrated Coastal Management in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam.' MPA Center comparisons are supported by Presentation by Canadian Government to Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee Presentation by Canadian Government to Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.


Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: Several independent reviews of the NMSP have been conducted since its inception. These reviews have been primarily qualitative, but have indicated that the program has made some progress in achieving the intended purposes of the NMSA. The MPA Center has not yet had a formal evaluation of its progress. However, it has received substantial feedback from outside stakeholders on its progress to-date. Feedback has been received from the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee, the State Advisory Group (formed to provide guidance on the inventory process), and through other stakeholder groups at meetings and conferences (e.g. Regional Fishery Management Councils).

Evidence: NMSP evaluations are found in 1) 'Protecting Our National Marine Sanctuaries,' National Academy of Public Administration, 2000; 2) 'Striking A Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas,' National Research Council, 1997; 3) "National Marine Sanctuaries: Challenge and Opportunity," External Review Team, 1993; and 4) 'Marine Sanctuaries Program Offers Environmental Protection and Benefits Other Laws Do Not,' a Report by the Comptroller General, 1981.


Were programmatic goals (and benefits) achieved at the least incremental societal cost and did the program maximize net benefits?

Explanation: The NMSP has limited formal information on whether program regulations maximize net benefits. However, sanctuary management plan reviews conducted subsequent to rulemakings include significant feedback from stakeholders and members of the regulated community on the effects of sanctuary regulations. Through this process NMSP is able to gather information on whether or not the regulations were successful in achieving programmatic goals while minimizing unnecessary socioeconomic costs. The MPA Center is not a regulatory program.

Evidence: In many cases, the cost of conducting a post-implementation analysis for the NMSP or similar program would likely cost more than the impact of the regulations themselves. However, in cases where socioeconomic impacts may be more substantial, the NMSP has or will put a monitoring or other study in place. These studies determine the socioeconomic costs of a regulation and the accuracy of the regulatory flexibility analysis for that regulation. For example, the creation of certain zones in the FKNMS in 1997 (and the Tortugas Ecological Reserve in 2001) that restricted or prohibited harvest of marine resources have been subject to extensive monitoring, including both biological (to determine the effectiveness the zones are having on the species they are intended to protect) and socioeconomic (to determine the costs to commercial fishermen who might be affected by creation of no-take zones by measuring average total harvest value). As another example, the CINMS uses the Sanctuary Aerial Monitoring Spatial Analysis Program (SAMSAP) to monitor commercial and recreational boater use inside and outside reserves areas to assess displacement and congestion impacts. The sanctuary is developing and plans to implement a more thorough monitoring effort in the near future, including funding an economic coordinator to compile and analyze economic data and conducting a in-depth analysis of private recreational boaters.

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 39%

Last updated: 09062008.2004SPR