Conservation efforts aimed at protecting oceans, coasts, and watersheds on the West Coast have gained tremendous momentum. An important factor has been the availability of light aircraft for aerial photography missions and air tours for decision makers, stakeholders, journalists, and donors.
Ocean Air is an ORI program that supports flight operations to advance ocean, coastal, and watershed protection efforts on the West Coast. Mike Sutton directs Ocean Air and is the operator of the aircraft.
Ocean Air brings the unique perspective of flight to land, water, and ocean conservation issues on the West Coast. Ocean Air assists the State of California in its efforts to implement the Marine Life Protection Act, helps coalitions of stakeholders in Oregon and Washington launch marine protected area initiatives, and brings these efforts to the attention of journalists and decision makers.
Ocean Air flies annually for about 150 hours and nearly 20,000 nautical miles in support of ocean, coastal, and watershed conservation. On December 19, 2012, the North Coast section of California’s marine protected area (MPA) network went into effect, including 19 MPAs, one State Marine Recreational Management Area and seven special closures, covering approximately 137 square miles or 13 percent of state waters in the region. As a result, California now has the nation’s largest network of science-based MPAs that will serve as a model for other states, the Federal government, and other countries. Ocean Air also helped get monitoring and enforcement efforts underway for the new statewide network.
Mike Sutton is Ocean Air’s pilot. For more information contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org