Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of software tools for facilitating EBM processes, and to provide advice on using those tools effectively. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of leading tool users, developers, and training providers.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) play a critical role in successful EBM. Traditionally, software tools for MPAs have helped with site selection (functionality that is still critically important and constantly improving). As MPAs mature, new tools are being developed for emerging needs such as stakeholder engagement and financial planning. Some of these new tools include:

MarineMap is a free tool that helps stakeholders to visualize geospatial data layers, draw prospective MPA boundaries, share prospective MPA boundaries with other users, and generate graphs and statistics to evaluate MPAs on science-based guidelines.

MPA EZ is a free web- and Excel-based tool that provides an overview of an MPA's current financial situation. It helps ensure that resource allocation is in-line with management objectives, financial and physical resources are used efficiently, and financing portfolios are sustainable.

MarineMap and MPA EZ, along with a wide variety of other tools for MPA design and management, will be demonstrated live on 19 May 2009 at the MPA and EBM Tools Knowledge Café at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Fairfax, Virginia. The Café will provide an informal opportunity to learn about and preview the tools and discuss specific projects with tool providers. Learn more about the Café at www.ebmtools.org/tools_training/network_training.html.

(Sarah Carr is coordinator for the EBM Tools Network. Learn more about EBM tools and the EBM Tools Network at www.ebmtools.org. Sign up for Network updates and contact Sarah at www.ebmtools.org/contact.)