MEPS 395:223-244 (2009)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07945

No barrier at the boundaries: implementing regional frameworks for noise management in protected natural areas

Leila T. Hatch1,*, Kurt M. Fristrup2

1Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate, Massachusetts 02066, USA
2Natural Sounds Program Center, National Park Service, 1201 Oakridge Drive, Suite 100, Fort Collins, Colorado 80525-5596, USA

ABSTRACT: We compare the status of regional or ecosystem frameworks for managing airborne and underwater noise sources in the US, with particular emphasis on transportation noise in national marine sanctuaries and national parks. The Organic Act demands that the US National Park Service (NPS) preserve natural and cultural resources unimpaired for future generations, and NPS policies provide explicit guidance for managing acoustical environments to meet this standard. The US Office of National Marine Sanctuaries identifies noise as a threat to sanctuary resources, but does not address how the program should manage noise levels to minimize impacts to wildlife and protect the aesthetic resources within sanctuaries. Methods and results from 2 case studies that address noise management in spatially explicit contexts are highlighted: the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Grand Canyon National Park. In both case studies, noise generated by transportation networks that extend far beyond protected area boundaries must be managed to conserve local resources. Effective noise control policies must be developed through partnerships among transportation and resource management agencies, surmounting differences in their missions, professional cultures, and historical precedents. Four collective approaches for managing noise in protected natural areas emerge from this analysis: (1) investing in monitoring programs and data management; (2) expanding the resolution and scope of impact assessment tools; (3) enhancing coordination and the governance structure; and (4) engaging and educating US citizens regarding the benefits of quieting.


KEY WORDS: Noise · Ecosystem-based management · National marine sanctuaries · National parks · Environmental impacts · Conservation


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Cite this article as: Hatch LT, Fristrup KM (2009) No barrier at the boundaries: implementing regional frameworks for noise management in protected natural areas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 395:223-244

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