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Could the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge Serve to Protect Marine Areas? Building on Existing Institutions and Legal Authorities to Create Marine Protected Areas

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The San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge (San Juan NWR) is comprised of 83 small islands, rocks, and reefs scattered throughout the San Juan Archipelago in the inland waters of Washington State. Current guidelines, set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), advise vessels to stay 200 yards offshore from refuge sites to provide a marine buffer for birds and marine mammals who utilize the refuge (Murray, 1998). Compliance with the existing USFWS guidelines provides inherent protection to the intertidal and subtidal resources within these marine buffer zones and could arguably constitute a de facto network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the region. This article explores how marine areas currently set aside from pbulic use and/or adjacent to upland protected areas, such as the San Juan NWR, could provide a politically feasible and cost-effective means for establishing MPAs. The idea is to build upon existing upland management by creating partnerships with other agencies and institutions in order to provide more organic management to marine areas and increase protection to the marine sources.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-10-01

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