: This paper presents an analysis of the potential conflict between the Coastal ZoneManagement Act (and its practical implementation through Coastal Marine Spatial Planning) andthe holistic approach to ecosystem-based management espoused by the Endangered Species Act.In particular, this paper focuses on the interplay between these laws and then utilizes a fewspecific examples/locations where this conflict may arise. This paper also addresses the use of critical habitat designations under the Endangered Species Act and how the use of Marine SpatialPlanning may benefit or harm critical habitat designations, thereby requiring Endangered SpeciesAct consultation.
Front page photograph taken by Karen Schmidt in Fajardo Puerto Rico, on abeach area proposed for Endangered Species Act Critical Habitat designation.
Nearly half of the entire global population resides within one hundred kilometers of ashoreline.
With global populations projects to rise to nine billion people by 2050, increasedpopulation will likely affect coastal ecosystems at a disproportionate rate. Human populationsdepend on the important ecosystem benefits derived from coastal regions, thereby presenting amajor management challenge of maintaining this delicate resource in the future in the face of increased population and development pressures. Moreover, management of coastal ecosystemsis further stressed by increased offshore energy development and increased shipping traffic.The convergence of a multitude of human pressures on the world’s coastal ecosystemsrequires important attention to the use of management tools and how local and nationalgovernment intend to use these management tools for either the preservation or exploitation thecoastal regions. In fact, the current movement towards use of spatial planning as a “joinedapproach that marries the seemingly competing interests for ocean and coastal resources andspace, such as environment, tourism, fisheries, and energy generation”
may present theopportunity for regulatory competition between uses with certain uses given vast governmentalpriority. The present regulatory trend attempting to account for multiple anthropogenic uses of land and resources within the coastal regions is based on the use of marine spatial planning toachieve Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM). Marine spatial planning as a tool for achievingEBM has garnered much enthusiasm over the past five years, without much accounting for itsactual long-term successes and limitations. While the goals of EBM are lofty, practicallyspeaking they may be more difficult to implement. This paper analyzes the more practicalimplications of EBM as a goal and marine spatial planning as the tool for achieving this goal.Lawmakers tout the use of EBM to deal with vast coastal management problems such asoverfishing, pollution, and unplanned urban development.
The idea is that by managing theinterior lands, coastal development, and ocean development and use in a more holistic manner,better decisions will be made for preservation of the entire ecosystem considered as a while.Specifically, lawmakers provide the following reasons when describing the need for EBM:conflicts between various uses, conflicts between the cultures of different user groups, conflictsbetween jurisdictions charged with management, fragmentation of jurisdictions, and
Christopher Small & Robert J. Nicholls,
A Global Analysis of Human Settlement in Coastal Zones
, 19 J. CoastalResearch 584 (2003).
Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management – An Introductory Guide