In its work to establish an ecologically protective network of Marine Protect Areas (“MPAs”) in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative (“MLPAI”), Wishtoyo developed, introduced, and proposed Chumash & Tribal Co-Management of MPAs, which will enhance the effectiveness and implementation of MPAs, while resulting in substantial cultural preservation benefits for Chumash People and other Tribal groups. As the result of Wishtoyo’s substantial efforts, for the first time, Chumash and Tribal Co-Management of MPAs have been recommended up and down California’s South Coast in the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force’s Integrated Preferred Alternative (IPA) and in South Coast Stakeholder Proposals 1 and 3.

Developing the Chumash and Tribal Co-Management Proposals in close coordinated with tribal and environmental stakeholders, the California Department of Fish and Game, California State Parks, MLPAI Staff, and MLPAI stakeholders, Wishtoyo has fostered broad stakeholder and government support for the adoption of Chumash and Tribal Co-Managed MPAs heading into the MLPA Initiative regulatory process. What started in March 2009 in stakeholder meetings and outreach, public testimony, and written public comment,  continued through December 2009 with hours upon hours of continued public testimony, written comments, negotiations, stakeholder outreach, and visits to Wishtoyo’s Chumash Discovery Village overlooking Point Dume by representatives from the DFG, MLPAI Staff, Tribal and environmental stakeholders. Wishtoyo’s MPA Tribal Co-Management campaign is now on the verge of: enhancing MPA implementation and effectiveness, resulting in significant Chumash and Tribal Cultural revitalization and preservation, and of making history as the first MPAs in the contiguous United States to be co-managed by Native Americans in partnership with a government agency established via MOUs.

Click Here for the Components of Chumash and Tribal Co-Management as proposed by Wishtoyo from its Chumash Discovery Village that is also intended to serve as a blueprint for the establishment of additional Tribal Co-Managed MPAs. The components of Tribal Co-Management set forth by Wishtoyo include 1.) Enhanced MPA Education and Outreach; 2.) Provision of Additional Marine Stewardship (extra eyes on the water to assist with enforcement, MPA pollution prevention and watch programs, beach trash pickup events, ecosystem studies, restoration projects); and 3.) Preservation and Revitalization of Tribal Culture. 

Click Here for Wishtoyo’s Final Chumash and Tribal Co-Management Proposal  submitted via MLPAI Public Comment to the California Fish and Game Commission.   

Click Here for the First Chumash Co-Management Proposal to the MLPAI South Coast Regional Stakeholder Group   


Background - Tribal Co-Management 

Through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Wishtoyo and its VCK Program are advocating to best ensure a network of MPA’s are established that protects the ecologically integrity and fisheries of the Southern California Bight (SCB).

Designating MPAs with tribal co-management components, within the Southern California MPA network, is a way to best ensure that Southern California’s marine and coastal ecosystems are protected and to maintain and restore Southern California’s marine fisheries, while preserving and learning from the Chumash culture that understands how to live sustainably with our coastal resources. The foundation for Wishtoyo and its Ventura Coastkeeper program's advocacy for MPAs with tribal co-management components is Wishtoyo Foundation’s White Paper: Tribal Marine Protected Areas: Protecting Maritime Ways and Cultural Practices.

Chumash Co-Management is supported in full by the Federally recognized Santa Ynez Chumash. VCK’s proposal best meets the goals of the MLPA to protect, conserve and restore California’s marine life, habitats, natural heritage and ecosystem functions, while supporting and cultivating recreational, educational, study, efficient management, and enforcement opportunities.  As proposed by VCK, Chumash Co-Management of MPAs would allow traditional and ceremonial utilization of the oceans natural resources. The Wishtoyo Foundation’s Chumash Discovery Village would provide enhanced Education and Outreach, the provision of additional Marine Stewardship, and Native American Preservation and revitalization benefits that would enhance the implementation and effectiveness of the Point Dume (Lisiqshi) and Lachusa (Sumo) MPAs.

The Point Dume (Lisiqshi) and Lachusa (Sumo) MPAs with a Tribal Co-Management Component led by the Wishtoyo Foundation, and other Chumash government and non government organizations will help best achieve the MLPA goals for seven reasons: (1) It provides for sound management and enforcement of the SMCA; (2) It provides a powerful educational platform to promote sustainable ocean ecosystem and fisheries management and to redefine our relationship with the ocean; (3) It protects and preserves Chumash maritime culture and traditional connection with the ocean and its resources in accordance with the mandates of the MLPA regarding cultural preservation; (4) It best protects submerged cultural and sacred resources and archeological sites; (5) It satisfies nine “Design Considerations” approved by the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force that will be difficult to achieve without its inclusion; (6) It facilitates all of the “Implementation and Management Activities” to be included in regional MPA plans as set forth and approved by the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force; and (7) it protects sensitive, diverse, and ecologically important ocean and coastal habitats.


Wishtoyo's Tribal MPA White Paper