The NMS-COUNT Iterative Framework: Phase 4

Published: 21 April 2020
Last edited: 22 April 2020

In Phase 4, a field study tests the methodology and performance of measures. The results of the study and all phases will be used to validate and standardize methods, and to advance development of visitation indicators and models.  Depending on the customized suite of methods developed in Phase 3, Phase 4 could contain a multitude of techniques that involve both on-site data collection via surveys and observations as well as data mining from existing sources or other agency activities.


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
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Documentation and dissemination of results
Review phase

Enabling factors

Phase 4 requires synthesis of data from multiple agencies and stakeholders. This integration is critical to the success of the NMS-COUNT process. A full understanding of data analysis methods and data synthesis is required.  This Phase is also enabled by collaborative planning at the site level to determine proper spatial and temporal characteristics of sampling.

Lessons learned

Phase 4 represents the ongoing data collection effort to fill in any gaps noted in the first three phases. One of the most critical gaps uncovered via NMS-COUNT in the existing visitor count data is the frequency of sampling or when and how often sampling occurs. Because of this gap, the research team will place interviewers on two dive boats to record observations of visitor counts in the sanctuary and to conduct interviews with the touring participants. There will also be several roving intercept surveyors which collect data from visitors as they leave the shoreline or return from offshore for visitor activities. Existing data streams will continue to inform the visitation estimates, with models that account for spatial and temporal changes detected by on-site sampling. Following the data collection effort, the results will be shared with academic and agency peers. Resource managers will continue to monitor and adjust use as needed to meet the requirements of the agency or other management plans.