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Free Content A Role for Comprehensive Planning, Geographical Information System (GIS) Technologies and Program Evaluation in Aquatic Habitat Development

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Planning for artificial aquatic habitat development has typically occurred within the biological community. This paper traces the evolution of planning frameworks, and proposes the use of traditional urban and regional planning concepts in artificial aquatic habitat management. It is argued that aquatic habitat planning in the U.S., as interpreted by states and regional fisheries commissions, exists merely at the project level and has not suitably evolved to a holistic level as represented by either a comprehensive or systematic approach to planning. In response, a comprehensive systems framework is proposed which considers the role of onshore infrastructural support and offshore user and non-user considerations. The use of Geographical Information System (GIS) technology and its overall utility in planning and evaluation processes is discussed. The use of GIS can transcend present exclusion mapping procedures and make them temporally and contextually dynamic. This paper contends that a traditional focus on exclusion or negative constraints represents only an initial set of considerations, but must be followed with an inclusive analysis which identifies intended sanctuary or human uses within marine habitat priority zones. Finally, as an integral element of planning, evaluation activities within habitat management are traditionally based on biological dynamics and are executed on a site by site basis. The need exists to demonstrate intended habitat and fishery management benefits on a state or regional basis. A role for program evaluation techniques within the planning framework is emphasized to ensure that habitat program objectives are either being met, or adapted, to satisfy initial program goals.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 1994

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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