Capacity-Building and Knowledge-Sharing

We understand that lack of capacity can severely hinder progress. For example, when a management organization lacks the staff resources and knowledge to access long-term funding, critical management activities may not be implemented. Furthermore, the field of resource management and conservation is dynamic and ever-changing, thus there is a need for organizations to stay abreast of cutting-edge ideas and models as different players enter the landscape and new approaches gain traction. How can an organization effectively execute an ecosystem services scheme? How can a public-private partnership unlock financial resources to support an organization's initiatives? We help the conservation and sustainable resource management community achieve its goals by answering these and similar questions. We work with organizations and individuals to recommend new approaches and models, identify best practices, and provide training that best fits practitioner needs and objectives. We synthesize the leading research and latest information to share with the broader community. Projects under this program are designed to build stronger staff and organizational knowledge capacity, and to increase opportunities for successful conservation outcomes and enhanced management of ocean and coastal ecosystems throughout the world. This program includes:

  • Training and workshop design and execution
  • Organization planning
  • Technical assistance and advisory services

Projects include:

  • project-05

    Capacity-building for California Marine Protected Area Collaboratives

    California Ocean Protection Council

    Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, a Division of ERG, is assisting OPC with building capacity of the 14 California Marine Protected Area (MPA) Community Collaboratives that form the MPA Collaborative Network. This includes working with OPC and other key stakeholders to plan and coordinate a statewide forum, developing a network charter, and administering a small grants program for OPC allocated to each of the 14 MPA Community Collaboratives. The coordination of the small grants program consists of working with a grant review committee to develop a request for proposals, performing outreach focused on skill-building to each of the 14 MPA Community Collaboratives, reviewing and awarding grants, documenting lessons learned from grants, and performing monitoring and evaluation throughout the grant-making process. Grants awarded will focus on improving management, raising awareness, and increase funding to support and implement local community MPA programs. 
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    Building Capacity in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

    Hawaii Community Foundation

    With the financial support of Hawaii Community Foundation’s Natural Resources Conservation Endowment Fund, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Island Regional Planning Body, Duke University, and Battelle Memorial Institute and supported a coastal and marine spatial planning training in Hawaii. The project consisted of identifying Hawaiian community and native Hawaiian leaders to participate in the training; coordinating and support travel of local participation in the event; advising the steering committee on a monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework that could be applied to assess the results of the training; and facilitating fundraising and disbursement of funding. 
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    State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) 2015 Update

    California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Resources Legacy Fund

    With the financial support from the Resources Legacy Fund and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, LLC, performed an assessment and evaluation of the implementation of the SWAP 2005. To support the evaluation, the project worked with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a robust and diverse steering committee, which provided input and support for the evaluation methodology and review of the draft evaluations. The project consisted of an in-depth document review, interviews with key experts throughout the state to evaluate the SWAP 2005 implementation, information analysis using an evaluation framework, and a synthesis of findings into an evaluation report. In addition, a graphically designed, sharable executive summary of the evaluation report was developed to share past achievements, recommendations, and actions for influencing and improving the SWAP 2015. To access the executive summary, California State Wildlife Action Plan Implementation Evaluation 2005-2014: Executive Summary—Click here. The executive summary will also be included in the final SWAP 2015 Click here
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    Ecosystem Services Seminar Series Production and Coordination and Multimedia Outreach Package Development

    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    With the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF), Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, developed a seven-session seminar series focused on ecosystem services (ES). The goals of this seminar series were to:
    • establish a learning platform for practitioners interested in understanding how the ES concept works and how it is used
    • develop a new series with novel analyses and information to advance the ES field
    • identify potential tools for planning conservation interventions and implementing workable solutions to conservation problems
    • explore the economic, social, and ecological components of ES in order to create more durable conservation outcomes

    The series, hosted by the GBMF’s Environmental Conservation Program between March and November of 2011, was designed to educate funders and the broader conservation community on many different aspects of ES. As part of this project, Coastal Quest developed a synopsis of the series to inform resource managers, decision-makers, foundation staff, and non-profit organizations; it includes speaker presentations, session notes, and speaker papers. To access the seminar series, Measuring Nature’s Balance Sheet of 2011 Ecosystem Services Seminar Series —click here

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    Creating Sustainable Financing and Capacity for St. Lucia Coral Reef Protected Areas

    National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Henry Foundation

    With financial support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Henry Foundation as well as in-kind support from Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, Ti Kaye Resort and Spa, and the Soufriere Community Access Centre, Coastal Quest developed a sustainable financing business plan for the Soufriere Marine Management Association (Association) in St. Lucia. The Association is a self-sustained not-for-profit NGO authorized by the government of St. Lucia to manage both the Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) and the Canaries and Anse La Raye Marine Management Area (CAMMA). The Association is in need of a long-term sustainable funding and financing strategy to finance its operating activities and capitalize on missed opportunities to protect the important ecosystems located within the SMMA and CAMMA. This project worked with Association staff to develop a five year sustainable financing plan to support the Association’s management of the SMMA and the CAMMA, and worked to increase Association staff capacity in regard to sustainable financing. Whenever possible, this project reached out to other MPAs in St. Lucia and the wider Caribbean in order to increase sustainable financing capacity throughout the region.

  • Investing

    Investing In Our Oceans: Insights for Building Lasting Marine Conservation Funding Initiatives

    The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation

    With the support of the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, LLC, are excited to share the graphically designed executive summary of the 2010 study, Ocean Conservation Strategic Funding Initiatives: A Study of Successes and Lessons Learned conducted for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The executive summary examined 20 large-scale ocean conservation strategic funding initiatives from the government and foundation sectors to distill successes and failures, investment gaps and opportunities, and lessons to help avoid common pitfalls in achieving sustainable ocean conservation and management. It seeks to provoke more thoughtful, long-term initiatives and grant-making in ocean and coastal conservation. To access the executive summary, Investing In Our Oceans: Insights for Building Lasting Marine Conservation Funding Initiatives, click here. To access the full report, Ocean Conservation Strategic Funding Initiatives: A Study of Successes and Lessons Learned, click here

Successful Implementation

Coastal Quest has significant knowledge and understanding of the conservation and resource management landscape, including the threats, priorities, actors, tools, and solutions involved in coastal and ocean management on the United States' West Coast and in the wider Pacific Ocean, Mexico, the Mesoamerican Reef/Wider Caribbean region, and beyond. We have developed methodologies and processes to support engagement in emerging geographies and sectors by identifying key players, ripe opportunities, and leading experts that will serve your organization's goals and help it achieve its desired outcomes. Projects under this program seek to provide our partners with the support they need to successfully implement their sustainability goals, whether through strategic partnership development, regranting, and meeting development and facilitation, or by reducing their administrative burden. We provide the understanding and know-how to execute the activities that make organizations run effectively. This program area includes:

  • Coordination
  • Seminar and meeting development
  • Facilitation
  • Regranting
  • Strategic planning

Projects include:

  • project-05

    Piloting a New Implementation Approach for the California Biodiversity Initiative

    California Department of Fish and Wildlife

    With the financial support from California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, a Division of ERG, is working with CDFW to pilot the strategic implementation framework outlined in the ‘California State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) Initiative – Operation and Implementation Strategy,’ developed by Blue Earth Consultants and Coastal Quest back in 2016. This project moves forward SWAP 2015 priorities, to effectively and sustainably conserve and manage California’s ecosystems through integrating CDFW and partner conservation efforts and acts upon Governor Brown’s California Biodiversity Initiative executive order. Blue Earth Consultants will assist CDFW in partnership with other key partners, select and develop pilot projects in the energy, marine, and water sectors; assessing the feasibility of a West Coast partnership; developing a collaborative grant-making approach and framework; securing matching funding; and improving effectiveness of granting processes. By piloting this new, innovative operational approach for CDFW, it could lead to increased public-private partnerships, staff and financial resources, awareness, and transparency in grant-making processes, paving the way for SWAP 2015 to be a solid conservation framework for California. 
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    Operations Strategy for the California State Wildlife Action Plan 2015 Update (SWAP 2015)

    California Department of Fish and Wildlife

    With the support of California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, provided capacity to CDFW to assist with facilitating a process to develop an operations strategy for SWAP 2015 and support continued interagency collaboration to aid implementation of SWAP 2015’s goal of enhancing the viability of ecosystems. The strategic plan consists of launching and executing a SWAP initiative, which includes implementation objectives, governance and staffing arrangements, and grant/project selection criteria development, a plan for pilot testing a new partnership approach, and donor partner assessment. 
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    Gulf of California Regional Science Integration Assessment

    Walton Family Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

    With support from the Walton Family Foundation and David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants developed a comprehensive assessment of science integration for the entire Gulf of California region. This assessment examined needs and opportunities for scientific research and the strengthening of science integration for decision-making, identified capacity gaps and priorities for science and for building a two-way connection between science and decision-making; mapped the current institutional arrangements; and identified future needs and opportunities for ocean and coastal management in the Gulf of California. The article, “Coastal and Ocean Science-Based Decision-Making in the Gulf of California: Lessons and Opportunities for Improvement,” was recently published in the journal Coastal Management; the article describes key findings from this project. To view the article, click here.
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    Marine Conservation Program Strategic Planning

    Sociedad de Historia Natural de Niparajá

    Working in partnership with the Sociedad de Historia Natural de Niparajá, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, assisted in conducting a high-level strategic planning exercise for Niparajá’s Marine Conservation Program. This project included guiding Niparajá in developing planning tools including a theory of change and logic model and conducting a two-day strategic planning session with staff, board members, and key partners in Mexico.

Applied Research and Tool Development

Coastal Quest conducts original forward-looking research into novel and emerging environmental and social science topics in an effort to advance the sector and develop innovative products for integration into decision-making. We focus our exploration of the leading ideas in sustainable resource management to target the sector's needs and to find new applications and opportunities. We emphasize conducting actionable research, so all activities in this program are user-driven. We then develop creative products to communicate and advance the use of our research findings and the lessons learned in local communities, governments, industry, and nongovernmental organizations, and with resource managers. Products of this program are designed to improve practices, build local capacity, inform consumers, and improve the effectiveness of coastal and ocean protection, management, and use. This program often produces tangible products such as training modules, seminars, reports, and consumer information tools. This program area includes:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Tool and product development

Projects include:

  • s

    Meta-Analysis of the Banking Sector Approach to Ecosystem Services

    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    As a follow-up to the ecosystem services (ES) seminar series produced and coordinated for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) in 2011, Coastal Quest and its implementing partner, Blue Earth Consultants, conducted a meta-analysis of the banking sector’s approach to ES. Specifically, it is looking at three bank types (commercial/state-owned, investment, and multilateral/bilateral) to determine how, if at all, they are identifying, considering, and mitigating their financing activities’ impacts on natural resources and ecosystems and the extent to which they proactively finance projects with positive impacts on natural resources and ecosystems. The project report identifies leading banks and their best practices, as well as existing and emerging trends across the sectors. It also identifies barriers and challenges, lessons learned, opportunities, and incentives and levers to encourage greater consideration of natural resources and ecosystems in banks’ financing activities. To access the full report, The Banking Sector & Ecosystem Services: a Meta-Analysis, click here. To access the executive summary, Executive Summary- The Banking Sector & Ecosystem Services: a Meta-Analysis, click here.
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    Blue Guide for Responsible Tourism

    Coastal Quest

    Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, and with that comes an equally large environmental impact. What if there was a way to choose your hotel based on its level of environmental responsibility? Would you rather stay in a hotel that dumps raw sewage into the surrounding lagoon or one that promotes ecofriendly practices and restores the natural environment you are visiting? Coastal Quest’s conception for the Blue Guide for Responsible Tourism (Blue Guide) series, comprises a guidebook series, database, and website that would provide consumers access to such information to enable them to make better-informed decisions. Coastal Quest believes that consumers and producers of responsible coastal tourism are important contributors to coastal economies and integral components of coastal resource and habitat protection. The Blue Guide series will evaluate the environmental impacts and “ecofriendliness” of resorts and hotels, restaurants, and providers of such tourism services as scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, and sailing. As part of the feasibility studies for this project, Coastal Quest built a social return of investment model and financial forecast, assessed the market and competition, and wrote a business plan for sustainable tourism projects in multiple regions for nonprofit organizations. The purpose of Blue Guide is to become the go-to guide for informed eco-tourism consumers. This novel project is in its infancy and is currently looking for supporters to bring it to the next stage. Please contact us today if you would like to discuss partnerships opportunities.