California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)
Blue Earth Consultants engaged and coordinated nine sector-specific companion plan development teams, comprised of representatives across all sectors, including academic, business, CDFW, State and Federal government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. The nine companion plan sectors include Agriculture, Consumptive and Recreational Uses, Energy Development, Forests and Rangelands, Land Use Planning, Marine Resources, Transportation Planning, Tribal Lands, and Water Management. The companion plan process promoted multi-partner cooperation to support development of collaborative efforts that leverage human and financial resources, identify shared goals among SWAP 2015 and other conservation efforts in the State, strengthen the capabilities of partners involved in management and conservation of California’s natural and wildlife resources, and ultimately implement prioritized conservation actions effectively. Blue Earth Consultants prepared and facilitated meetings to gather information from each development team regarding conservation priorities, how to support implementation of the SWAP 2015 including partnership opportunities, areas of alignment between partners, and opportunities to leverage existing efforts to achieve the goals of the SWAP 2015. In addition, Blue Earth Consultants developed and vetted the nine companion plans with development teams and also led and supported CDFW in a public review process. Blue Earth Consultants captured CDFW and public comment on drafts and then integrated comments, as appropriate, into each companion plan. Finally, Blue Earth Consultants supported release of the companion plans as a follow up to the updated SWAP 2015.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Resources Legacy Fund
Blue Earth Consultants assisted California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in developing an updated version of the Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which describes how the Marine Life Protection Program partners will manage California’s statewide network of MPAs established through the Marine Life Protection Act. The plan describes the purpose and approach for MPA network management, the design and siting process, MPA network management and adaptive management, partners and operations, and steps for setting an effective path forward for CDFW and its partners. Blue Earth Consultants revised and developed new text for the Master Plan, taking into account input from CDFW, the Ocean Protection Council, Fish and Game Commission, and Ocean Science Trust, as well as tribal and public input. Through the process, Blue Earth Consultants provided guidance and recommendations to CDFW on how to create a plan that lays a clear and understandable path for ongoing management of the statewide MPA network.
National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office
Blue Earth Consultants assisted the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA CRCP) and its partners with planning and coordinating the annual Marine Outreach and Education Virgin Islands Style (MOES-VI): Improving Fishing Community Awareness and Compliance Project (IFCACP) fisher registration workshops. We developed a replicable monitoring protocol and survey that will be used by relevant staff from NOAA, U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife, and Environmental Enforcement to evaluate the effectiveness and short- and long-term impact of the annual workshops. The tools and monitoring protocol will also help NOAA and its partners make adjustments and refinements to the MOES-VI: IFCACP program and workshops in the following years. The final report and appendices shares the results of the evaluations provided by fishers, and recommendations for changes or improvements to the fisher registration process and explains the development and implementation of the evaluation methodology and tool.
Resources Legacy Fund and California Ocean Protection Council
As a follow-up to interagency marine protected area (MPA) network implementation planning in California, Blue Earth Consultants facilitated the development of “The California Collaborative Approach: Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan” (Partnership Plan) with the MPA Statewide Leadership Team, which is comprised of representatives from the California Ocean Protection Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and Game Commission, California Natural Resource Agency, California Department of Parks and Recreation, and California Ocean Science Trust. The Partnership Plan establishes a framework for the collaborative management of California’s newly designated MPAs and guides interactions across jurisdictions, sectors, and scales. This framework allows the State to leverage the extensive resources already being brought to bear for the conservation and protection of these special areas, in turn creating sustainable and resilient marine ecosystems. The process involved developing agendas, meeting materials, and high-quality presentations for outreach to the public and tribes statewide; coordinating and collecting public and tribal comments on the Partnership Plan; facilitating integration of comments into the Partnership Plan with the MPA Statewide Leadership Team; and coordinating the development of a graphically designed public-facing executive summary of the Partnership Plan for the public.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Ascent Environmental
Blue Earth Consultants performed a number of tasks to support the 2015 update of the 2005 California State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). First, Blue Earth Consultants performed an assessment and evaluation of the implementation of the 2005 SWAP. To support the evaluation, Blue Earth Consultants worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to create a robust and diverse steering committee, which provided input and support for the evaluation methodology and review of the draft evaluations. We then performed in-depth document review, led interviews with key experts throughout the state to evaluate the SWAP 2005 implementation, analyzed information using an evaluation framework, and synthesized findings into an evaluation report. Below is a link to the graphically designed, shareable document of past achievements, recommendations, and actions for influencing and improving the 2015 SWAP.
In addition, Blue Earth Consultants continued to support the SWAP update process by providing information and expertise for marine and intertidal target strategies, assisting in the development of the SWAP 2015 document sections, and supporting the public review process through facilitation. For the development of target-specific strategies, objectives, and conservation activities, Blue Earth Consultants completed an analysis of potential threats and vetted findings and draft recommendations with key experts from the CDFW. To develop sections of the SWAP 2015, Blue Earth Consultants performed background research and compiled information from key expert groups. Blue Earth Consultants developed materials to support facilitation of the public review process for the SWAP.
The Nature Conservancy and The World Bank
Blue Earth Consultants assembled a world-class team of seasoned marine protected area professionals to develop a regional marine protected area monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan for five Eastern Caribbean countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent) with support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and The World Bank. The team performed an initial review and assessment of existing M&E projects, protocols, and indicators including performing literature reviews and interviews to gather background information from each country. The team facilitated two rounds of consultations with each country to garner feedback on background research, preliminary findings, draft recommendations, and the draft regional M&E plan. The team then worked with TNC to organize, develop, and facilitate an Eco-regional Workshop, where Blue Earth Consultants sought to foster buy-in and agreement on a set of key indicators to include in the final regional M&E plan. The team revised the plan based on the Eco-regional Workshop feedback and shared the final regional M&E plan with regional experts and stakeholders.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Blue Earth Consultants assessed the status and needs of key elements for effective MPA system implementation in Oregon. We also executed a landscape analysis of actors working on MPA system implementation and assessed their capacity and needs for effective MPA management and governance. Finally, we identified ripe opportunities to strengthen implementation of the MPA system in Oregon and comprehensive ocean and coastal management.
Coastal Quest and The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
As the implementing partner of Coastal Quest, a Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation grantee, Blue Earth Consultants produced a glossy version of the executive summary of the 2010 study, Ocean Conservation Strategic Funding Initiatives: A Study of Successes and Lessons Learned conducted for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The executive summary examined 20 large-scale ocean conservation strategic funding initiatives from the government and foundation sectors to distill successes and failures, investment gaps and opportunities, and lessons to help avoid common pitfalls in achieving sustainable ocean conservation and management. It seeks to provoke more thoughtful, long-term initiatives and grant-making in ocean and coastal conservation.
Coastal Quest and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
As the implementing partner of Coastal Quest, a Moore Foundation grantee, Blue Earth Consultants produced a meta-analysis on the banking sector’s approach to identifying, considering, and mitigating their financing activities’ impacts on natural resources and ecosystems and the extent to which they proactively finance projects with positive impacts on natural resources and ecosystems. The report identified leading banks and their best practices, as well as existing and emerging trends across three bank types: commercial/state-owned, investment, and multilateral/bilateral. In addition, the report identified barriers and challenges, lessons learned, opportunities, and incentives and levers for encouraging greater uptake and consideration of natural resources and ecosystems in banks’ financing activities. Blue Earth Consultants conducted web-based research, literature review, and semi-structured interviews to inform its meta-analysis report, develop a bank inventory of 61 banks, and share snapshots of 15 innovative examples of banks’ identification, consideration, and mitigation of natural resources and ecosystem impacts.
Coastal Quest and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
As the implementing partner of Coastal Quest, a Moore Foundation grantee, Blue Earth Consultants produced a seven-session ecosystem services seminar series “Ecosystem Services: From Theory to Policy to Action,” targeting the foundation community. The seminars sought to advance ecosystem services literacy among donors to promote coordinated conservation grant-making in this area. In addition to arranging for world-class experts as speakers, we complemented the seminars with support materials (syllabus, supplemental reading), a real-time evaluation process for continuous improvement over the course of the series, and a report analyzing terrestrial, coastal, and ocean ecosystem services investment opportunities. Blue Earth Consultants coordinated the development of a professionally designed multimedia outreach package to present the documents produced for the seminar series.
Resources Legacy Fund Foundation
Blue Earth Consultants produced a report in March 2012 which highlights findings and lessons learned from our review of ten case studies of effective marine protected area network implementation from across the globe. From these cases, we identified five key elements for successful implementation and innovations for addressing capacity gaps and strengthening these key elements. We then examined these elements within the context of California’s statewide marine protected area network and made recommendations on how California could strengthen these key elements within its own network. Blue Earth Consultants also created a summary brochure to convey the findings and lessons learned in a more concise manner. The brochure serves as a supplement to the full report.
Blue Earth Consultants assisted OneReef with the development of a high-level strategic vision and production of marketing collateral presenting OneReef, its achievements to date, and its organizational vision for the future. Blue Earth Consultants performed interviews and facilitated a 1-day visioning session to clarify and define the organization’s vision, mission, theory of change, and governance structure for the next five years. We then produced a professional and compelling brochure, which will help facilitate conversations with OneReef’s current and prospective donors.
Resources Legacy Fund
Blue Earth Consultants evaluated and shared lessons-learned from exemplary model institutional designs for integration and use of geospatial data in state decision-making. Information provided by Blue Earth Consultants will help inform the California Ocean Protection Council as it considers how it could support the development of a coastal and marine geospatial data information management system and related tools to support state decision-making. In addition, Blue Earth Consultants developed a set of evaluation criteria, best practices, and important features to consider for developing and implementing an effective coastal and marine information management system.
West Coast Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Network
Blue Earth Consultants assisted the West Coast EBM Network in an organizational effectiveness assessment and developed a three-year strategic plan. Blue Earth Consultants performed document review and conducted interviews to perform a high-level strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. We analyzed data, presented recommendations, and developed a strategic plan including a revised organizational structure and identification of potential funding and revenue model moving forward.
Coastal Quest, Walton Family Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
As the implementing partner of Coastal Quest, a grantee of the Walton Family Foundation and David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Blue Earth Consultants developed a comprehensive assessment of science integration for the entire Gulf of California region. This assessment examined needs and opportunities for scientific research and the strengthening of science integration for decision-making, identified capacity gaps and priorities for science and for building a two-way connection between science and decision-making, mapped the current institutional arrangements, and identified future needs and opportunities for ocean and coastal management in the Gulf of California. The article, “Coastal and Ocean Science-Based Decision-Making in the Gulf of California: Lessons and Opportunities for Improvement,” was recently published in the journal Coastal Management; the article describes key findings from this project.
California State Coastal Conservancy and California Ocean Protection Council (OPC)
Blue Earth Consultants developed a background document that analyzes the institutional, policy, scientific, and technical context for taking action on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning in California.
The Sonoran Institute
Blue Earth Consultants conducted an assessment of the Sonoran Institute’s Upper Gulf of California Legacy Program to identify progress towards stated outcomes, factors of success, challenges and constraints, and lessons learned. Our evaluation also assessed Sonoran Institute’s engagement with other civil society organizations and government agencies, as well as their overall strategic impact. Blue Earth started this project with a 3-day site visit to the project sites in the Colorado River Delta. We returned to the region to conduct interviews with partners, government staff, and stakeholders, many of which were held in Spanish. After collecting data for the evaluation, we developed a summary report with recommendations for how to strengthen the program.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
Blue Earth Consultants created strategic and fundraising plans for WCS’s 10-year project focusing on restoring populations of threatened and target marine species and advancing legal protection of critical habitats within the coastal and ocean waters of the New York tri-state area through the advancement of science integration, education and outreach, and policy and legislation. Blue Earth Consultants also developed outreach materials to be shared with potential funders.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Blue Earth Consultants conducted a study to synthesize portfolio-scale lessons learned from 20 government and private foundation strategic grant-making programs for ocean conservation throughout the world. This study informed the Foundation’s internal ocean visioning process and serves as a resource to the wider ocean funder community. Blue Earth Consultants also produced a synthesis document for the Packard Foundation on the past decade of ocean conservation giving impacts and lessons learned.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Blue Earth Consultants produced a synthesis document for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Conservation and Science Program on the past decade of ocean conservation giving impacts and lessons learned.
Nearshore Research Task Force, Oregon State University Sea Grant
Blue Earth Consultants assessed the Oregon current institutional arrangements for nearshore research and management and made recommendations based on four model case studies for new structures and mechanisms for the legislatively state mandated Nearshore Research Task Force to consider. The Task Force used our report to recommend a long-term funding and coordination strategy for implementing nearshore science-based policies that were submitted to the Governor and the Emergency Board of the State of Oregon.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Blue Earth Consultants conducted interviews and a literature review to identify priorities and opportunities for funding marine fisheries conservation on a global scale. Blue Earth Consultants created a database of nongovernmental organizations and funders in 19 large marine ecosystems to assess capacity and needs. Our report presented case studies from multiple regions to highlight effective projects, innovative approaches, and opportunities for private donors to improve marine fisheries and biodiversity conservation.
Blue Earth Consultants conducted a strategic assessment of opportunities and the feasibility of merging and funding their Fisheries Fellows and Pride Campaign programs in the Gulf of California. We conducted interviews with key leaders in the nongovernmental organization community, funders, stakeholders, and government and produced a concept paper to assist Rare and its Board in deciding the future steps for this project. As a part of this work, Blue Earth Consultants conducted an extensive review of “best of practice” case studies to identify a key ingredients to inform effective implementation of the Fisheries Fellows and Pride Campaigns. Based on findings we recommended a marine themed program that included the Mesoamerican Reef. As a result of these recommendations, Rare hired Blue Earth Consultants to conduct a second analysis for a program that encompassed the two regions. During this project, Blue Earth Consultants organized and facilitated three focus groups, including two held in Spanish, with regional government and nongovernmental representatives in the Mesoamerica region to inform recommendations and produced a strategic plan for the joined Gulf of California and Mesoamerican Reef program.
Global Environment Fund (GEF)
Blue Earth Consultants performed research and created a database of potential partner organizations in the sectors of biodiversity and conservation, sustainable economic development and microenterprise, and health and HIV across nine countries in Africa. Blue Earth Consultants identified, by country and sector, the best organizations for GEF to target for strategic partnerships to implement complement efforts of a $150-200M sustainable forestry fund. In a second phase of the project, Blue Earth Consultants developed an outreach strategy and created marketing materials for partnership development, performed due diligence, and developed implementation recommendations. We also drafted a document outlining best practices and recommendations for structuring effective partnerships.
Eastern Research Group and NOAA Coastal Services Center/San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
Blue Earth Consultants was a subcontractor to Eastern Research Group (ERG) to help plan and facilitate a workshop series for Bay Area stakeholders at risk from sea level rise. The Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) Project identified a pilot region to assess climate change vulnerabilities and is developing adaptation options. It also selected additional local community study sites to explore ways to increase shoreline resilience in the San Francisco Bay Area.
California State Coastal Conservancy and California Ocean Protection Council
Blue Earth Consultants partnered with the California State University Sacramento, Center for Collaborative Policy (CCP) to facilitate the development of consensus-based recommendations with the state California Dungeness Crab Task Force as a directive of the California Ocean Protection Council. The Task Force consisted of fishers, processors, buyers, government, and nongovernmental representatives and was mandated to make consensus-based recommendations for the state legislature on sustainable management of the fishery. In addition to leading the facilitation and mediation of proposed recommendations by the Task Force, Blue Earth Consultants led efforts to integrate natural and social science into the decision-making process, creating a direct link between science and policy.
Gulf of California Marine Program, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego
Blue Earth Consultants conducted a two-phased project for the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation’s Gulf of California Marine Program. Phase 1 included an assessment of science integration needs, capacity and institutional arrangements in Gulf of California. This information informed the broader science and resource management community and helped inform the second phase, which was a strategic business plan for Gulf of California Marine Program.
Center for Ocean Solutions (COS)
Blue Earth Consultants assisted COS with research to inform the “Big Think” document, a discussion paper on existing and new ocean conservation strategies. Blue Earth Consultants took an initial draft document, performed additional supporting research, incorporated new research findings and supplemental information provided by authors, and performed a heavy text and copy edit to finalize the document.
Blue Earth Consultants worked with the Marine Ecosystems Services Program at Forest Trends to organize a one-day roundtable with ocean-related industry leaders. The goals of this roundtable were to 1) discuss business needs related to ecosystem services in coastal and marine areas, 2) explore enabling conditions for private sector engagement in coastal and marine payments for ecosystem services and environmental markets, and 3) identify options and pilot approaches for future private sector engagement. Blue Earth Consultants identified and coordinated panel members and topics as well as appropriate private sector participants from ocean-related businesses. Our team facilitated the panel discussion and breakout groups and prepared a summary paper of the roundtable discussion.
Center for Ocean Solutions (COS)
Blue Earth Consultants provided ongoing assistance to the Center for Ocean Solutions’ Pacific Ocean Initiative. Blue Earth assisted COS with developing the Pacific Ocean Scientific Consensus Statement which aligns 380 scientists around priority key threats to the health of the Pacific Ocean, impacts of these threats, and identifies a path forward for action. To develop this statement, Blue Earth reviewed and synthesized 3,400 scientific articles and grey literature resources into the Pacific Ocean Synthesis report, which shares threats, impacts, and solutions across 50 countries within the Pacific Basin. We later compiled these resources into a fully searchable online database, called the Pacific Ocean Library, which now features over 7,000 scientific articles and grey literature on such topics as climate change and coral reefs, ocean acidification, disaster preparedness, and marine debris. Blue Earth produced a monthly feature blog article on pressing ocean issues. Blue Earth also assisted with fundraising and strategic planning for the Pacific Ocean Initiative.
California Marine Protected Area Monitoring Enterprise
Blue Earth Consultants was a subcontractor to Exa Data and Mapping for the California Marine Protected Area Monitoring Enterprise’s Information Management System that informed the management process, provided timely information for assessing the marine protected areas (MPAs), and ensuring that monitoring data, findings, and other relevant information would be useful and broadly accessible to all users. The team conducted a user needs analysis and made recommendations on the design and functionality of a portal. Blue Earth Consultants assisted with the development of the initial informant list and provide California marine sector specific knowledge for the project. Information from the report was used by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise to implement an integrated system that anticipated the needs of decision-makers, scientists, stakeholders, educators, and others interested in the marine environment. The system, now called Ocean Spaces, aims to facilitate data integration and synthesis, and increase the flow of monitoring data into decision-making.
California Ocean Science Trust (OST)
Blue Earth Consultants provided support to OST to assist with a variety of operational and programmatic needs. This included providing strategic advice; drafting documents, workplans, reports and outreach materials; researching and identifying funding opportunities and strategies; overseeing peer review processes; and responding to other ad hoc tasks to help support the organization’s work.
California Ocean Science Trust (OST)
Blue Earth Consultants assisted with the planning and facilitation of a two-day meeting for the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Risk Assessment for California. This meeting gathered three teams of scientist consulting teams who, following the meeting, prepared the AIS reports; the purpose of which was to seek agreement on definitions, research methods, and risk assessment approaches, and as well reporting standards.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
Blue Earth Consultants conducted an independent assessment of the APEC Marine Resources Conservation Working Group (MRCWG). This assessment reviewed the goals, objectives, and priorities of the MRCWG and identified challenges, opportunities. Blue Earth Consultants made recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the group at achieving its stated purposes. In addition, this review assessed the feasibility of merging the APEC Fisheries Working Group and MRCWG. Finally, this assessment identified the activities and best practices of 21 member states related to the work of the MRCWG.
California Ocean Science Trust (OST)
Blue Earth Consultants led a project entitled “Linking the Academic Community and Water Quality Regulators.” The project’s core objectives were to identify challenges that hinder collaboration between the water quality regulatory and academic communities, and to recommend mechanisms to foster communication and encourage greater participation from academic organizations in California’s efforts to regulate water quality based on sound scientific information. We also identified priority water quality issues as well as academic scientists working in California in these relevant areas. We presented science needs identified by academic scientists and water quality regulators where more communication and better working relationships could benefit both sectors. This project included four components: interviews, focus groups, a short-online survey to solicit further feedback and confirmation of the findings, and a report based on findings. Direct personal engagement through interviews and focus groups from both the regulatory and academic community in the first three stages of the project was designed to help ensure the project’s recommendations are realistic and supported by both communities.
Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF)
In coordination with the Woods Institute for the Environment, at Stanford University, Blue Earth Consultants performed research, analysis, and writing of a white paper on coastal ocean institutions creating change and developing and implementing solutions. This paper has a specific focus on how expert knowledge, research, and monitoring data can inform management and policy. This white paper presents recommendations on how institutions can reposition themselves to create change internally and externally and ultimately have an impact on creating long-term policy and management solutions.
Resource Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF)
Blue Earth Consultants led the development of an Adaptive Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation Framework for the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, in collaboration with the California Resources Agency and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. This framework outlines a process and implementation activities of the Act, research, and adaptive management for networks of MPAs along the entire coast of California.
Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (RLFF)
Blue Earth Consultants researched and interpreted data and wrote background information on the biological, socioeconomic, and governance characteristics of the California’s Central Coast Study Region.