Member Spotlight: Randy Lewis

Posted by & filed under WCMAC.

Randy Lewis
WCMAC Ports Seat

Randy is a new member of the WCMAC as the ports representative. Randy is the Director of Environmental and Engineering Services for the Port of Grays Harbor. Randy retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after 21 years of service and became the City Administrator for the City of Westport from 1998 until coming to his current position last March. He has a strong commitment to improving the city and local industries as well as great professional experiences with a variety of shoreline and land use planning processes. He is excited to apply his experiences in things like permitting, project development, and project management as the new WCMAC ports seat.

Randy Lewis

  • What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
    Effective planning involves setting a vision, goals, and outcomes that help facilitate the development of policies and regulations. These policies and regulations do more than just enforce standards, but really become a vehicle to see the plan become real over time. A very important piece of good planning is accurately identifying where you are before you set a course to get to where you want to be. That is a critical element in Marine Spatial Planning and the current work of the WCMAC, because we don’t have an existing plan or complete use analysis from which to build. Understanding who is using state waters and how those uses coordinate or are in conflict is important before discussing and planning for new uses. Creating the “picture” of where we are will be very useful, not just for planning, but for much wider applications that we probably are not aware of yet.
  • How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
    In reality, I am on the board because I replaced the previous port representative when I came to my current position and was the logical choice to be appointed. I have been involved in the MSP process since the beginning, initially in local stakeholder meetings as a representative of the City of Westport. It has been interesting to be involved in the process from both sides of the table so to speak.
  • What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
    I think it is important to recognize that the MSP is a small but important piece in much larger processes, and that any good plan must be a living document that is updated as new information or uses come to light. Since we are creating an entirely new plan, my hope is that we create a solid foundation of information and initial recommendations that will be used as a basis for future planning, and the development of policies long into the future. An important measure of success for me will be how much of this plan has to be redone during the first update. If at that time whoever does that update is able to update our work with new information and data to take the next step, then we will have succeeded.
  • Any fun fact that you would like to include?
    Personally, I love the outdoors and our coast. I also love helping people to grow and develop. When my job duties allowed, I really enjoyed volunteering as a coach and was a referee for several sports. I loved helping a young person work and practice and then master a skill they hadn’t done before and often that they didn’t believe they could. Regarding the MSP process, I was involved in all sides of the planning process during my time at the City of Westport. I have been a project developer and proponent on behalf of the city, a regulatory reviewer for the city, and a commenter on projects outside the city’s jurisdiction. That experience has helped me, at least on some level, to understand the perspective of the different parties to the entire MSP process.

Member Spotlight: Brian Sheldon

Posted by & filed under MRC, WCMAC.

Brian Sheldon
WCMAC Aquaculture Seat
Brian Sheldon
Brian is the owner of Northern Oyster Company in Willapa Bay. His family homesteaded near the shores of Willapa in the 1880’s, and his grandfather started the company in 1934. Brian’s family has been growing clams and oysters on tide flats for three to five generations depending on which side of the family tree you want to climb. He, wife Marilyn, and children Jebadiah, Estella, and Ione now operate the family farm after his parents Ruth and Dick operated it for about 40 years. He represents the aquaculture industry on the WCMAC and is an active member of the Willapa/Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association, Pacific Coast Shellfish Grower Association, Pacific County Marine Resources Committee, the Pacific Conservation District, and was elected to the Board of the North Beach Water District.

  • What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
    MSP has the potential to be one of the most significant issues for marine users and conservation in Washington for the next several generations, and is essentially a zoning exercise in the marine area. If policy can be developed to guide the process, MSP has the potential to provide protections for our economy, culture, history, and the environment as we are pressured to allow federal energy and other projects to be placed in our nearshore ocean and coastal estuaries. However, if policy is developed without serious consideration of informed stakeholder input then MSP could be a disaster for coastal Washington communities.
  • How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
    In 2009 I became involved in MSP because I felt it was better to be at the table than on the menu. In all seriousness, shellfish growers are likely the 2nd largest private marine land owner in Washington, and have a vested interest in assuring our farms are not damaged through irresponsible marine development. Our farmed lands are proven through science to be an overall benefit to the marine environment, which is a service we provide to the public in general. Our coastal communities also have commercial fishing and other uses that are part of the foundation of our economy, history, and culture that are irreplaceable. My goal is to pursue MSP policy so as to assure existing sustainable uses are protected and preserved as a priority over other any new use. If there are new uses that can be implemented with the interests of coastal communities as the priority and that do not threaten existing uses, then we need good policy to guide development of these new uses. We simply cannot afford to make mistakes with so much at risk, so solid policy must be developed that assures we minimize risk to the uses that have essentially shaped our way of life along coastal Washington.
  • What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
    The priority is to protect and preserve existing sustainable uses, which has been the input from our communities time and again through a well vetted public process ongoing for about 6 years. If we can keep the focus on accomplishing this, then we can consider what new uses are appropriate as aligned with not degrading or threatening these existing uses, including ecological, recreational, commercial, cultural, and other types of uses. In this way we can protect what has supported our coastal communities for over a century, and at the same time develop strong policy to guide new potential uses.
  • Any fun fact that you would like to include?
    I recall the first time I heard of an energy investment group from New York trying to lease a massive area in Willapa Bay in about 1999. I looked into it and they had submitted a map of Willapa Bay with circles around large areas of shellfish grower private shellfish beds. This application was being considered by I believe the FERC without consideration to the private property and farms the lease proposal included. This was a real wake up call to me, and I contact Brian Baird who took action to assure there was no reckless action taken. I also recall a time when our local PUD had developed plans to burry cables through our beds in a bay power crossing without any discussion with shellfish growers. These types of actions combined with what appears to be a focus on the SW coast for federal energy projects are issues that made me realize that MSP was a real issue that we needed to get ahead of.

Member Spotlight: Garrett Dalan

Posted by & filed under MRC, WCMAC.

Garrett Dalan
WCMAC Chairperson and Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee Seat
Garrett Dalan

Garrett recently joined The Nature Conservancy as the Washington Coast Conservation Coordinator and was appointed to the Grays Harbor County Marine Resource Committee (GHC MRC). For the decade prior he worked for the Grays Harbor County Division of Environmental Health, which included being the staff coordinator for the GHC MRC since its creation in 2009. Garrett strives to build strong working relationships throughout the coastal communities. He also serves as the WCMAC representative on the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC).
Garrett grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and lives in Montesano with his awesome wife and four, hopefully awesome, kids.

  • What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
    This may very well be the key question of this planning process. My short answer would be that it is a process that gives communities the tools to apply the best available science and data to appropriately manage the human and environmental needs and uses of the marine areas. However, it needs an answer longer than that to be successful and I think long answers would notably vary amongst those engaged in Washington’s MSP process. A quick internet search of the question reinforces that assumption. Wikipedia may be the first result, but Google came up with nearly 2,000,000 possible answers including The White House and the European Commission. This may be the ultimate challenge of this planning process – that those involved appreciate the variety of perspectives on the process, goals and plan while still being able to find enough agreement to be successful.
  • How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
    One of my first tasks as staff for the GHC MRC was to help facilitate a forum on marine spatial planning in Aberdeen. The process has trudged along since and the MRCs have stayed involved with the goal of ensuring that the plan can have a positive impact on the communities of the coast. This involvement has included workshops, summits, The Big Chew, WCMAC 1 and WCMAC 2.
    Now that I am working as the Coastal Coordinator for TNC, I have the opportunity to further assist in the planning process with the deliberate objective of having a plan, and supporting tools, that will allow all decisions on the Washington coast be as informed and comprehensive possible.
  • What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
    The WCMAC has the opportunity, or possibly obligation, to have the Plan be influenced or driven by the needs and concerns of those who are dependent on our ocean and live in our coastal communities. My hope would be that WCMAC can provide recommendations, review and insight that takes full advantage of this opportunity. This would require honesty, trust, compromise and perseverance.
    And I would like to add that it is important to remember that our coast has tremendous and wide-reaching ecological and economic importance, and this is a plan of the State Government and the corresponding responsibilities will affect the plan.

Seafloor Atlas: Complete Maps of Substrate Now Available

Posted by & filed under News, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Reports.

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS), the Active Tectonics & Seafloor Mapping Lab (AT&SML) at the Oregon State University, and several contributing partners worked together to compile raw seafloor mapping data and stitch them together into a seafloor atlas.

The group remapped data when necessary, standardized the classifications and methodologies, and applied existing ground-truth information as appropriate. Data in the seafloor atlas include seabed habitat, backscatter, bathymetry, structural data, and remote sensing with multibeam sonar information. The atlas shows high resolutions of the primary surficial substrate types from the shoreline to 700 fathoms.

The image below is an example of the online atlas and references the rest of the atlas in the top right.
Seafloor Atlas Sanctuary Site

For more information:


Q: What is a use analysis? How will the use analysis identify conflicts?

Posted by & filed under Questions and Answers, WCMAC.


The use analysis process:

  • Summarizes data on existing uses (such as fishing, aquaculture, recreation, and shipping);
  • Assesses where those existing uses would interact with potential new uses (such as renewable energy);
  • Informs the development of recommendations.

Use Analysis Image Image is a visual representation of combining data layers into a map series for the use analysis.

Summarize Existing Uses Assess
The spatial analysis aspect of the use analysis takes place using GIS (geographic information systems). To summarize existing uses, data for each single use is combined to produce a footprint of that sector as well as an intensity map of that sector (when available). For example, shipping data on tug and tow vessel traffic will be combined with the other shipping data such as cargo vessel traffic to product maps that display:

  • The number of shipping types operating in a given area;
  • The intensity of use by the shipping sector.

Assess Interactions
Maps for each sector will then be combined with maps of other sectors to see how many existing uses are present in a given area and how intensely different areas are used. In addition, these existing use maps will be compared to maps of renewable energy potential. The final products will help guide planning decisions in the future and development of recommendations for inclusion in the plan.
Develop Recommendations
During the use analysis process, the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council (WCMAC) drafts recommendations on how new uses should be addressed in the future. These are recommendations from an important bottom-up process on how the state and federal governments should guide planning and permitting of new uses.

For more information:
View the WCMAC meeting presentation from September 2015
Read the materials on the Use Analysis from past WCMAC meetings

How are we doing? New tool reports progress on the MSP

Posted by & filed under News, WCMAC.

How are we doing?
In a planning process that has so many moving parts, many participants are wondering, overall, how are we doing? This tool provides an updated progress report on the overall process.

The goals and objectives used in this tool were identified through stakeholder workshops, tribal government consultations, and a public SEPA scoping process. The action items used in this tool were approved by the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council. Each row of this tool aligns the action items with the associated marine spatial planning projects.

The progress column provides a visual indication of whether the goals, objectives, actions, and projects are Complete (green), In Progress (yellow), or Under Development (grey). A website link for each completed project is available by clicking on the name of the project or under the MSP Projects page of the website.

View the MSP Progress Report here

For more information on the original documents, visit the:
MSP Actions List from July 9, 2014
SEPA Scoping Document from January, 2014
Draft Marine Spatial Plan Contents from April, 2015

NOAA/BOEM Human Uses Regional Report Available

Posted by & filed under Reports, WCMAC.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in partnership with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Washington Departments of Ecology and Natural Resources conducted a series of participatory human-use mapping workshops as part of the Pacific Regional Ocean Uses Atlas project. These workshops were held during April 2013 in Aberdeen and Port Angeles and convened local ocean use experts and stakeholders who, through facilitated mapping exercises, documented their spatial and contextual knowledge about ocean uses.

BOEM and NOAA collected similar data in Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The data is now accessible for viewing and download through the Marine Cadastre. Type “Proua” in the search bar to view or download the Washington dataset.

For more information, you can:
Read the final regional report.
Read the final Washington report
View the summary map of all uses combined.

DFW maps seabird habitats and marine mammal haulout locations

Posted by & filed under Department of Fish and Wildlife, Reports.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) created maps detailing the locations of important seabird and mammal areas along the Washington coast and conducted marine mammal aerial surveys. WDFW identified key life history locations including seabird nesting and marine mammal haulouts. Additionally, WDFW estimated population sizes and trends for rare and recovering populations of seabirds and marine mammals. This project provided an opportunity to update existing data, which can help consider the potential interactions between wildlife uses and human uses in the marine environment.

An example of the first draft of species distribution maps are shown in the figure below – including seabird colonies, seal and sea lion haulouts, sea otter distribution, and encounter rates of seabirds and mammals (August, 2015).

Seabird and Marine Mammal Maps

For more information, read the final reports on seabirds and marine mammals, and pinnipeds and sea otters.

Indicators of Human Well-Being and Economic Health

Posted by & filed under Economic Analysis, Reports, Washington Sea Grant.

Washington Sea Grant developed robust human dimensions indicators that characterize the coastal communities. These indicators are intended to be part of the integrated ecosystem assessment that the Northwest Fisheries Science Center uses for ecological indicators.

  • Economic indicators
    The figure below displays the five overarching categories of economic indicators: Demographics, Housing, Employment, Labor earnings, and Competitiveness. This study identified the top indicators to use in assessing a community’s economic health over time; these include: GRP, month to month income, income per capita, poverty rate, and job diversity. These indicators tell researchers and the community what’s going on and what’s important in a community.

    SeaGrant Economic Indicators


  • Social Well-Being Indicators
    The social indicator researchers selected each of the categories in the figure below to measure the overall well-being of a community. For each of these categories, Washington Sea Grant developed a handful of indicators, compared the information available for each indicator in each coastal county across various years, and developed a percent change over time. The data and changes can be updated in the future to show general trends in social well-being of a community. If you are interested in more details on a particular county or topic, you can access the report.

    Seabird Models

These projects help to ensure that the best available science is used to develop the marine spatial plan.
For more information, read the Economic Indicator final report or the Social Indicator final report.

Wooden Boat Festival with Sea Grant

Posted by & filed under Events, Washington Sea Grant.

Join Washington Sea Grant’s Kevin Decker for an exciting weekend at the 39th Annual Wooden Boat Festival, September 11-13 at the Northwest Maritime Center.

The Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival is one of the most enlightening and exciting wooden boat events in the world. The annual festival features over 300 wooden vessels, hundreds of indoor and outdoor demonstrations. This is a who’s who of wooden boat experts and thousands of wooden boat enthusiasts, there’s something to do, someone to meet or a boat to board at every turn.

Get on the water
The festival provides several ways for you to boat or sail during throughout the weekend. Hop on a charter boat like the Adventuress, kayak, ride on the Martha J, or row aboard a replica of Captain George Vancouver’s ship from 1792.

Family fun
Be sure to bring your kids to the festival. There are several activities that are perennial favorites, like designing, building, and sailing your own small wooden boat, riding the carousel, building crafts, hunting for pirate treasure, and snorkeling with sea life.

Look for Kevin at the Washington Sea Grant booth and play a game about marine spatial planning!

For more information, visit:
MSP Event Calendar
Festival Website
Event Program