The NMS-COUNT Iterative Framework: Phase 2

Published: 21 April 2020
Last edited: 22 April 2020

Phase 2 brings together various agency managers, local stakeholders, and researchers to address a set of management objectives and associated monitoring needs. In this collaborative process, all stakeholders contribute their knowledge and perspectives on legal mandates, policies and factors that influence visitation and use within a specific sanctuary. Managers and local informants participate in a series of surveys and workshops that progress from a more broadly-based questionnaire to one with more specific questions based upon prior feedback. The expert panel discusses visitor trends and challenges specific to monitoring visitation at their site. The results of each iterative survey and workshop provide detailed insight into the current state of knowledge on visitation and level of confidence in the ways this information has been obtained. 

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Planning phase
Inception phase

Enabling factors

Phase 2 requires full engagement between the local managers and researchers. When managers engage local stakeholders and inform them of the process, the information provided to researchers is more comprehensive. This portion of the process relies on interpersonal relationship development for researchers and stakeholders alike. Development of such working relationships via workshop contact and other interactions helps establish a foundation of trust and cooperation for the NMS-COUNT process to proceed upon.

Lessons learned

In Phase 2, the research team engaged managers and stakeholders to better understand current visitation status at the sanctuary. Working with the NOAA Office of NMS, researchers were given access to contact 32 local resource managers and stakeholders with institutional knowledge about the site. This allowed the research team to develop a panel survey and engage the local stakeholders in a panel forum. All stakeholders were sent an initial questionnaire asking for their insights on visitation to the sanctuary in general. Three stakeholders responded to the questionnaire, providing general feedback on visitor activities, temporal and spatial patterns of use, pathways to and through the Sanctuary, and current visitor counting status. Based on this feedback, a second round of questionnaires were refined for use at the panel workshop. The in-person workshop featured detailed discussions of identified challenges to visitation monitoring at Gray’s Reef NMS. It also allowed detailed discussion of existing data availability for initial visitation monitoring strategies and modeling efforts.