PMEP is thrilled to welcome Katie Nichols as the newest member of our Steering Committee. Katie is the Marine Restoration Director for Orange County Coastkeeper, a nonprofit based in Costa Mesa. At Coastkeeper she designs and implements restoration projects on nearshore habitats in collaboration with volunteers, scientists and agencies in Southern California. Her research interests include resource management and the development of practical and innovative solutions to the challenges facing marine ecosystems. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz and her M.S. in Marine Ecology from San Diego State University. Prior to joining Coastkeeper, Katie worked as a Knauss Sea Grant fellow for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in Washington D.C., as a project manager with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UC Santa Barbara, and in fisheries policy and resource management with NOAA in Hawaii and Long Beach. As a member of our Steering Committee, Katie will help guide PMEP’s work as we strive to improve the science and managment behind fish habitat restoration along the West Coast.
PMEP hosted a Data Tools Cafe at the 9th National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management, held in Long Beach in December 2018. The session introduced PMEP to restoration practitioners, researchers, and resource managers as it highlighted the many functions and uses of PMEP data tools. The session featured hands-on exercises to get participants familiar with the data tools. Participants walked through the Estuary Explorer tools, finding which estuaries on the west coast are at low-risk for habitat degradation, where tidal forested wetlands are located, and where wetland restoration would most benefit federally managed species. These questions showed the value of the data tools to habitat conservation and restoration planning, minimizing impact on Essential Fish Habitat, and assessing the benefits of projects to species and habitats. The session exemplified PMEP’s collaborative structure by including speakers from The Nature Conservancy, NOAA Fisheries, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, Estuary Technical Group, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership has plotted its course for the next five years. Its recently approved 2018-2022 Strategic Plan identifies three overarching priorities for work over the next five years:
- Protect, restore and enhance fish habitat in California, Oregon, and Washington Estuaries with an emphasis on juvenile rearing areas.
- Protect, restore, and enhance fish habitat in the nearshore Pacific Ocean.
- Increase Connectivity between habitats within PMEP’s geographic scope.
We will accomplish this work through the collaborative partnerships we have built over the last decade. The full Strategic Plan 2018-2022 can be found here.