A Resource by the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (These statements do not necessarily reflect the positions of NOAA or the U.S. Government)

Archaeological data collection: Coastal geography and water conditions can make discovery of cultural resources challenging; a diverse array of field methods have been developed and refined over the years to increase detection.

Climate Smart Conservation principles were created by the National Wildlife Federation help practitioners and policy-makers how to develop and implement conservation that understands climate and climate change. The four overarching principles include:

  • Act with intentionality through linking actions to impacts
  • Manage for change, not just persistence
  • Reconsider goals, not just strategies
  • Integrate adaptation into existing work

A cultural landscape is a place where the intersection of culture and nature leaves a distinct ecological or cultural imprint.

Cultural Landscape Approach: an analytical framework for understanding the ways in which specific cultural and environmental processes overlap and influence one another. In many ways, a cultural landscape approach is analogous to ecosystem-based management – it is a holistic way of looking at places, people and how they form and change one another. This approach can help identify ecological and cultural connections among different sites, resources and protected areas over time.

Cultural Resources are related to cultural identity, such as religious, food and burial practices. These resources may also be nautical (related to ships, vessels and watercraft) and/or maritime (related to human seafaring). (See “What Are Cultural Resources?")

Data collection and analysis of sociocultural and socioeconomic phenomena may involve both quantitative and qualitative methods, including direct or participatory observation, open-ended interviews, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. Quantitative data is typically collected through household socioeconomic surveys. In addition, qualitative data may be gathered in recorded interviews through note-taking or using either video or voice recorders. Cognitive Anthropological studies typically focus on cultural domains. The methods used to collect systematic data for these analyses include free lists, sentence frames, triad tests, pile sorts, and paired comparisons. More advanced methods may involve componential analysis, folk taxonomies, and ethnographic decision model.

Ethnographic and other social scientific research typically involves the observation of and interaction with persons or a group being studied in the group's own environment, often for long periods of time. It is the systematic study of people and living cultures, and is designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of the study. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group. An ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations, using concepts that avoid causal explanations.

Ethnohistorical is the study of cultures and indigenous peoples' customs by examining historical records as well as written documents, oral narrative, material culture, and ethnographic data.

Heritage sites are places containing historic and prehistoric cultural resources, are of inherent value to the people and cultures connected to them, and have scientific value as repositories of historical ecological data.

Impacts, both natural and human-made: Examples of naturally occurring events that can alter a submerged site include storm activities, scouring, erosion, burial, and habitat creation. Human-made impacts can be severe and encompass diver-related artifact recovery, vessel collision, fishing, pollution, salvage, navigation obstruction removal, and construction activities such as channel dredging.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the human mind and IP rights protect the rights of creators over their creations.

Marine Protected Area means any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by Federal, State, territorial, tribal, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein (Executive Order 13158).

Maritime heritage is the wide variety of tangible and intangible elements (archaeological, cultural, historical) which represent our human connections to our Great Lakes and ocean areas.

Maritime heritage resources are those elements of our connection to our Great Lakes and ocean areas that should be preserved for future generations.

“No Regret" Strategies are those that will benefit the site and potentially other sectors, regardless of climate impacts. These are also strategies that will not divert resources away from other priorities because they have a low to medium cost of implementation.

Remote-sensing surveys are the standard means for detecting new sites, and these typically utilize a magnetometer (detects ferrous metal) and side-scan sonar, the latter of which produces a sonar image akin to a photographic record. A sub-bottom profiler can also be used, which records submerged geophysical attributes such as geological strata river channels and can also detect buried structures. Other enhanced imagery collection instrumentation includes sector-scan, multi-beam, and BlueView sonar acquisition systems.

Sensitive information refers to information that has the potential to jeopardize cultural resources such as site location, ownership data, and site characteristics.

Site attributes affecting preservation and protection potential: High visibility marine environments present greater ease in detection, investigation, and monitoring but can also present greater challenges in protection and preservation. Inversely, sites in low visibility or backwater environments can be difficult to detect and monitor but are afforded perhaps greater protection as the environment indirectly conceals them. Saltwater shipwreck sites, through consumption by the shipworm (teredo navalis), can be largely degraded or semi-buried whereas freshwater sites typically have better preservation and can be more recognizable as an archaeological site.

Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are often measured, analyzed, and monitored. Examples include: local marine resource use patterns, local values and beliefs about marine resources, level of understanding of human impacts to resources, perceptions of seafood availability, perceptions of local resource harvest, perceptions of non-market and non-use value, material style of life, quality of human health, household income distribution by source, household occupational structure, community infrastructure and business, number and nature of markets, stakeholder knowledge of natural history, distribution of formal knowledge to community, percentage of stakeholder group in leadership positions, and changes in conditions of ancestral and historical sites/features/monuments.

Stakeholder engagement refers to the variety of ways in which protected area managers reach out to those interested in or affected by protected area management to inform and involve them in management issues.

Tribal consultation is a formal means of communication between federal agencies and the government of a federally-recognized tribe that reflects the United States' recognition of the sovereignty of federally-recognized tribes. This process is used to exchange information, deliberate, and address federal policies that have tribal implications. As such, this process is distinct from stakeholder engagement, and entails unique legal issues.

Traditional ecological knowledge, also called by other names including Indigenous Knowledge or Native Science (TEK), refers to the evolving knowledge acquired by indigenous and local peoples over hundreds or thousands of years through direct contact with the environment. This knowledge is specific to a location and includes the relationships between plants, animals, natural phenomena, landscapes and timing of events that are used for lifeways, including but not limited to hunting, fishing, trapping, agriculture, and forestry. TEK is an accumulating body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (human and nonhuman) with one another and with the environment. It encompasses the world view of indigenous people which includes ecology, spirituality, human and animal relationships, and more.

Vulnerability assessment is a way to evaluate the implications of climate change for the habitats of marine protected areas, allowing managers to engage with science and encourage the creation of adaptation strategies to reduce the vulnerabilities identified. It can be modified to assess the vulnerability of any aspect of mpa management.