It is important to first note that this project was initiated by WCA through a desire to create a marine spatial plan for the region. It is not immediately clear what the impetus for the creation of the marine spatial plan was, however, various case studies related to the project have shown that this planning work can have the effect of increasing resiliency to storm surges, improve or maintain water quality, maintain livelihoods and reduce conflict amongst multiple users. The case studies gathered information through a variety of stakeholders to create understandings of the baseline conditions in a given area. Variables were then altered based on the desired ocean use changes of those involved (for more on this process see ‘Identifying Actions’ section below). The case studies note that extreme storm events and the effects of storm surges are a concern in the WCVI area. Much consideration was put into retaining or strengthening natural storm buffering throughout communal mapping exercises and public consultation. Understanding the risks and impacts in the case of coastal ecosystems can become challenging as many ecosystem services are dependent to some degree on the other. A lack of communication between relevant actors could further confuse a situation. Software created to make explicit these relationships and to quantify ecosystem services paired with appropriate outreach could work to clarify these risks and impacts.
In 2012/2013 The Natural Capital Project (NatCap) along with the West Coast Aquatic Management Board (WCA) worked with various communities and stakeholders on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI) to determine how best to meet particular desires for development while ensuring that the area remains healthy and resilient to extreme weather and its consequences. While the area is particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion and flooding brought about by storm surges, the initial impetus for the studies was a desire of the WCA to create a regional marine spatial plan. NatCap is headed by Stanford University and is comprised of a multitude of academic institutions and ENGOs while the WCA is itself a collection of multi-scalar government entities and local stakeholders. Work was done particularly throughout Barkley and Cloyoquot Sounds as well as at a finer scale within the Lemmens Inlet (within Cloyoquot Sound). Much of the work done was aided by a NatCap created software called InVEST which enabled the valuation (monetary and other) of various ecosystem services. Following marine use identification, public consultation and hypothetical scenario creation at local and regional scales, the aforementioned scenarios were shortlisted and the potential conflicts arising and effects on all stakeholders and ecosystem services of these scenarios were considered. Scenarios were then presented to the governmental decision-making body (WCA) for review and potential integration into marine spatial plans.