Cumulative Impacts

Quantifying the cumulative impact of multiple activities such as fishing, pollution and dredging on the ocean is a metric of great importance for maintaining ecosystem health, but it is also a metric that has been difficult for resource managers to implement in a meaningful way. Using the cumulative impact model that was developed by Dr. Ben Halpern and others, COS will conduct a pilot project in the Monterey Bay area to groundtruth the model with data on current ecosystem condition. This pilot will help move the issue of cumulative impacts forward by developing a scientifically valid way of assessing impacts as well as identifying and prioritizing stressors that could be reduced. In addition, COS will bring government agency decision makers and scientists together to ensure that the best available science is being used and that the products from this project are relevant and practical for agencies throughout the state as they consider reforms to cumulative impact analyses.