Incorporating Social Science into Management of Marine Recreational Uses in National Parks

National Park Service
Submission Settings: 
Use submission deadline
Submission Deadline: 
Oct 26 2007

Deadline: October 26, 2007

Project Title: Incorporating Social Science into Management of Marine Recreational Uses in National Parks

Responses to this Request for Statements of Interest and Qualifications will be used to identify potential investigators for a project to be funded by the National Park Service to study marine recreational use patterns (among boaters, anglers and scuba divers), visitor demographics and visitor perceptions toward ocean and coastal resources at four National Park units. $140,000 in financial assistance is expected to be provided in phases. This Request for Statements of Interest and Qualifications has been distributed to several Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) networks. Brief responses are due by October 26, 2007.
Background: The National Park Service is developing a visitor-focused program to reduce recreational impacts on marine resources in certain ocean units of the National Park System. The program aims to remove and mitigate threats to ocean resources by enabling visitors to avoid boat grounding, anchor damage, wildlife disturbance, pollution and other impacts from boating, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking. Ocean and coastal parks need to address impacts to coral reefs and seagrass beds, and to fish, birds, marine mammals and other sensitive habitats and wildlife. For example, Dry Tortugas NP and Channel Islands NP are currently implementing various anchoring or fishing prohibitions. Social and economic factors usually determine the ultimate success or failure of ocean parks and marine protected areas according to a substantial body of scientific literature and experience in marine management. These National Park measures and others are unlikely to succeed without understanding local visitor use patterns and attitudes, and a strategy to incorporate this information into resource management, education and enforcement.
The study proposed here will be used to develop a park-by-park analysis of marine recreational uses in certain pilot parks, establish baseline demographic information on visitors and their perceptions of park resources, and assess their reactions and behaviors in response to educational messages concerning fishing, boating and diving practices and park regulations. The reports will be used to evaluate messages for communications and outreach strategies and develop media or interpretive tools targeted toward individual user groups.

Brief Description of Anticipated Work:

Four pilot parks will be studied from South Florida, Alaska, and temperate coastal areas on the U.S. mainland. Dry Tortugas and Biscayne National Parks have been selected for South Florida. Two additional parks will be selected. Sites under consideration include Fire Island National Seashore, NY, Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, MA, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, WI, Channel Islands National Park, CA, Glacier Bay National Park, AK, and Kenai Fjords National Park, AK.

Essential Activities:

1) Work with NPS and state partners to develop study parameters to characterize visitor use patterns, experiences and perceptions regarding park resources at target parks.

2) Collect and analyze existing information concerning fishing, diving, and boat uses and to measure visitor use patterns, attitudes, perceptions and beliefs at Dry Tortugas, Biscayne, and two other pilot coastal parks to be determined. Assess socioeconomic impacts of new regulations at Dry Tortugas NP, working with NOAA and other sources.

3) Work with NPS to develop and perform on-site surveys to obtain additional observations directly from visitors at these parks and measure attitudes toward voluntary best practices, no-take zones, anchoring prohibitions and other regulations. Approval of on-site questionnaires will be sought from the Office of Management and Budget in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

4) Provide reports for each park that:
• Provide a general socio-demographic profile of boaters, divers and anglers
• Measure recreational users’ environmental knowledge of parks and resources
• Map boating routes and activity locations via boater surveys or remote sensing information
• Measure contact and reactions to information, education or interpretation programs and survey responses to those programs (NPS and other)
• Include natural resource layers in a GIS (i.e. seagrass beds, coral reefs, etc.)

Materials Requested for Statement of Interest/Qualifications:

Please provide the following via e-mail attachment to two addresses:

(Maximum length: three pages, single-spaced 12 pt. font).

1. Name, Organization and Contact Information

2. Brief Statement of Qualifications (including):
a. Biographical Sketches for principal investigator and other key personnel if any (i.e. faculty, staff, students, partners) to be involved with the project, including areas of expertise. (NOTE: A brief biographical sketch for the investigator(s) is requested, but in addition a full curriculum vita can be attached (this vita would be in addition to the maximum 3-page limit of the Statement of Interest and Qualifications).
b. Relevant past projects and clients with brief descriptions of these projects. If applicable, focus on projects that required interdisciplinary backgrounds as this NPS assessment project,
c. Brief description of capabilities to successfully complete the project you may wish to add (e.g. GIS capability, computers, equipment, access to information sources, previous research experiences at the park or region, etc.).

Note: A proposal for accomplishing the project and budget are NOT requested at this time.

Review of Statements Received: Based on a review of the Statements of Interest and Qualifications received, an investigator or investigators will be invited to prepare a full study proposal. Statements will be evaluated based on the investigator’s specific experience and capabilities in studying the human dimension of recreational uses of natural resources (aquatic and marine resources preferred), extracting and interpreting data from diverse databases, and demonstrated skills in social science assessments. Previous experience studying at the parks or regions will be considered.

Please send responses via email to:

Megan McBride
National Park Service - Social Science Program
Ph: 303-969-2814

Cliff McCreedy
National Park Service – Water Resources Division
Ph: 202-513-7164

Deadline: Statements of Interest and Qualifications must be received by close-of-business on October 26, 2007.