Our work

NAMPAN is seeking partners to help support additional capacity building efforts in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Our main focus areas are presented below.

Planning for MPAs in a Changing Climate

Since 2010, NAMPAN has been working through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to develop tools for MPA managers to better address climate change impacts affecting their sites and networks. These tools have been shared widely with MPA managers in North America and elsewhere to provide practical guidance on MPA design and management in a changing climate.

Mapping Marine Ecoregions

North American marine ecoregions are areas of general similarity in terms of physiographic, oceanographic and biological characteristics, which fall within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Canada, Mexico and the United States. There are 24 marine ecoregions in North America.

In 2002, the CEC convened a trinational group of marine scientists to agree on a new, unified, ecological classification for oceanic and coastal regions. This resulted in 24 marine ecoregions for North America classified by geographical, oceanographical, physiological and biological information, including distinct assemblages of species. Maps for Level 2 and Level 3 ecoregions were also 

developed. These ecoregions provide a focus for work on biological connectivity, increased resilience, and protection of ecosystem integrity.

In the CEC’s Marine Ecoregions of North America book, each ecoregion is briefly described, with a summary of key physical, oceanographic, and biological characteristics, as well as the principal human activities and impacts occurring there. For each ecoregion, a brief fact sheet gives the rationale for its classification, its surface area, sea surface temperature, major currents, physiography, depths, substrate type, major community types, productivity, species at risk and human activities.

MPA Condition Reports

Based on the work of MPA programs in the three countries, NAMPAN and CEC developed a standardized format for a marine ecological scorecard and condition report for MPA managers to communicate the condition of their MPA. The ecological scorecard provides a visual summary of the current status and trends of water quality, habitat, and living resources within an MPA, and the condition report provides a written summary of status and trends in a marine protected area. These reports were developed by answering 12 to 14 simple questions on the ecological and social conditions at the MPA.