Part I. Background
Part II. Management Plan
Part III. Appendices

Part II: Carpinteria Salt Marsh: The Management Plan

Coastal wetlands are important because they support a wide variety of ecosystem functions and socio-economic values. These functions and values can be grouped into hydrology, water quality, nutrient cycling, food chain, and habitat functions and into consumptive and non-consumptive values (see Part I-B, 8.0 Ecosystem Functions and Socio-economic Values). Estuaries support many types of coastal wetlands and adjacent deepwater habitats that provide habitat for a multitude of marine and estuarine life that, in part, serve as the base of regional food chains. Wetlands provide foraging, spawning, and/or nursery areas for many species of fish including, for example, halibut that are dependent on estuarine channels as nursery habitat for young-of-the-year fish. Halibut have value for commercial and sport fishing, and along with many other fish species, provide forage for fish-eating birds.

Birds commonly found in association with wetlands include herons, egrets, shorebirds, gulls, sparrows, rails, and ducks. Estuarine wetlands provide habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds as well as resident species, including endangered birds such as Light-footed Clapper Rails in southern California. Given that coastal wetlands are located in one of the most desirable parts of the state for development, an estimated 90 percent of these important habitats have been lost to various types of development. The continued encroachment of urban development is threatening and degrading those coastal wetlands that remain.

Because of the complex issues concerning coastal wetlands in urbanized southern California, Carpinteria Salt Marsh provides a unique opportunity to develop a management plan that can serve as a broader planning document for estuaries with similar resources and issues. Over forty agencies and organizations serve advisory, regulatory, or ownership roles relating to Carpinteria Salt Marsh, and many of these groups have existing programs that must be integrated into this Management Plan. Given the number of activities that exist or are proposed, this Management Plan has been organized into a set of programs that have clear goals, policies, actions, and priorities. Implementation of this plan and its programs will require the cooperation of all participants.

One of the major goals of this Management Plan is to develop a mechanism whereby the entire Carpinteria Salt Marsh is managed as a single unit, which it is ecologically. Program 9.0, Management Coordination Program, outlines how the entire estuary may become part of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve and subsequently would be managed as part of the UC Natural Reserve System (see Figure 21). The Reserve is proposed to be managed by the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve faculty and reserve managers, with input from and coordination with the Management Advisory Committee and the UC CSMR Advisory Committee. The Management Advisory Committee, as outlined in Program 9.0, would be comprised of agency representatives, property owners, and public interest groups with an interest or role in the Marsh. Day-to-day management of the Reserve would be handled by the Reserve Manager. Depending on a specific project's location, some of the members of the Management Advisory Committee would be co-applicants for restoration and enhancement projects proposed in the Reserve, thus ensuring their close involvement in future restoration projects in the Marsh. This management system should provide essential coordination among the many agencies, organizations, and owners with an interest in the Carpinteria Salt Marsh and the Reserve.

The mission of this document is:

1.0. To provide a management framework for Carpinteria Salt Marsh and adjacent upland habitats that will ensure:

a. Preservation and maintenance of the natural and cultural resources;
b. Ecosystem functions and socio-economic values are realized to the maximum extent feasible;
c. Identification of issues and impacts affecting the functions; and
d. Restoration of degraded functions;

2.0. To provide a mechanism whereby property is protected or conservation easements are acquired that ensure that the entire estuarine ecosystem is included within the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve, partially owned and entirely managed by the University of California's Natural Reserve System; and

3.0. To provide for and focus access to promote:

a. Research programs;
b. Education programs;
c. Public service and stewardship; and
d. Protection of the ecosystem's resources, functions, and values.

The following goals, policies, actions, and priorities implement this mission in a series of programs organized into three categories: Administrative Programs; Research, Education, and Public Service Programs; and Interagency Programs. For the purposes of this Plan, goals, policies, and actions are defined as follows:

Goal - A goal is an ideal future end, condition, or state related to the public health, safety, or welfare toward which planning and management efforts are directed. A goal is a general expression of values and, therefore, is abstract in nature such as "Provide a healthy and productive salt marsh."

Policy - A policy is a specific statement that guides decision making that is based on the plan's goals. Policies should be clear and unambiguous. Policies usually start with a verb, e.g., "Develop a broad-based fiscal program for the management and enhancement of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve."

Action - An action is a one-time or ongoing program or procedure that carries out the goals and policies of the plan. Actions usually start with verbs and are quite specific, e.g., "Coordinate with the Vector Control District staff in the management of mosquitoes and other species under their jurisdiction that occur in the marsh."

Each program also includes as many as five subheadings that address the following:

Status - This discussion describes the existing status of the particular program in terms of what has already been implemented, existing and expected future funding sources, approvals that have been granted or are expected, etc.

Implementation Priorities - This discussion describes the priorities for implementation of a particular program. The sequence of events to implement the program will be described in narrative form under this heading.

Constituents (Existing and Potential) - Constituents include public agencies, public interest groups, educational and non-profit institutions, etc. that are interested in or have an effect on the particular program.

Limitations, Needs, and Justification - This discussion explains any limitations on the program, e.g., if there are special restrictions or requirements that need to be satisfied or considered. Past problems, practices, and needs are explained and justification for the specifics of the program is given.

Discussion - Where appropriate, a summary of the need for the program, a description of the likely result of the program implementation, and a review of related ecosystem and watershed issues are provided.

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