Ocean Currents » cmsp http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Sat, 29 Aug 2015 12:30:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 White House Report Details Ocean Policy Progress http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/31/white-house-report-details-ocean-policy-progress/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/31/white-house-report-details-ocean-policy-progress/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:15:01 +0000 Anne Merwin http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10045

Last Friday the White House released a report on the accomplishments of the National Ocean Policy (NOP).  The NOP set forth a vision to ensure our oceans and coasts are healthy and resilient, and implements the recommendations of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy to improve federal coordination and effectiveness in managing our ocean resources.

“The accomplishments of the National Ocean Policy reflect the tremendous momentum we’ve seen from the Administration to address the most pressing issues facing our ocean and coastal communities,” said Ocean Conservancy’s Director of Ocean Planning Anne Merwin.  “Businesses as diverse as shipping and maritime, commercial fishing, recreation, and conservation groups have all expressed their strong support for smart management of our ocean, because of the real, practical, and local benefits they are seeing thanks to this important work.”

While the NOP has facilitated progress on a wide variety of activities, one of the most innovative and exciting is smart ocean planning. Thanks to the NOP, planning is now moving forward in several regions.  This common sense approach with a long bipartisan history provides a critical tool to reduce conflicts among current and future ocean uses.  The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions will have plans completed by 2016, and planning in these regions has stimulated interest in other regions including the Pacific Islands, Caribbean, and West Coast.

Each region’s plan will be uniquely designed to address local and regional issues and ocean uses. What makes these efforts even more exciting is that local communities, ocean users, and the states now have the ability to work in a more coordinated and thoughtful way with federal agencies on how their marine environment will be used.  Although each region will vary depending on the relevant issues, themes of the plans include supporting ocean health, maintaining and supporting ocean industries, and promoting engagement with all ocean users. This collaborative approach ensures we are supporting our economic and environmental future by providing a forum where ocean users can provide input on their needs.

Ocean Conservancy strongly supports smart ocean planning and the National Ocean Policy.

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Diverse Stakeholders Deliver Unified Message to Congress and Administration: Smart Ocean Planning Makes Sense http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/27/diverse-stakeholders-deliver-unified-message-to-congress-and-administration-smart-ocean-planning-makes-sense/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/27/diverse-stakeholders-deliver-unified-message-to-congress-and-administration-smart-ocean-planning-makes-sense/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:15:04 +0000 Christine Hopper http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10028

Stakeholders meet with Representative Kuster of New Hampshire (center)

Last month, 42 stakeholders from across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic came to DC to speak with Congress and the Administration about the benefits they are seeing from the regional ocean planning efforts currently underway in these regions.  Representatives from commercial fishing, offshore renewable energy, ports and maritime, shipping, undersea cables, recreational fishing and boating,  as well as research, education and conservation organizations, and more came together to deliver a common message – smart ocean planning makes sense.

These stakeholders met with 57 Senate and House offices, Senate Commerce Committee staff, the National Ocean Council at the White House, U.S. Coast Guard, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). In each meeting, the stakeholders  voiced their support of a process that gives them a seat at the table with state and federal government agencies to address management of their regional ocean resources and ocean uses.

The message was simple: ocean planning is moving forward and has real benefits to states and industries.  It provides a seat at the decision-making table for ocean users across the region and seeks to proactively identify ocean uses and resolve conflicts before they become problematic.   Anti-National Ocean Policy riders in Congress would undermine the ocean planning work that the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions have already invested in; these riders are motivated by political agendas from outside these regions that have nothing to do with the practical, pragmatic work being done.

These 42 industry, academic, and conservation representatives outlined their individual interests in the regional ocean planning work, stressed the need for further collaboration among the group, and asked Congress and the Administration for their support  in ensuring regional ocean planning work moves forward unimpeded.

Ocean Conservancy supports coordinated ocean management decisions between state and local governments and ocean users to establish a healthier ocean and a thriving coastline.

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New Data on Coastal Recreation Along the Atlantic to Help Guide Planning http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/06/new-data-on-coastal-recreation-along-the-atlantic-to-help-guide-planning/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/06/new-data-on-coastal-recreation-along-the-atlantic-to-help-guide-planning/#comments Sat, 06 Sep 2014 15:15:11 +0000 Christine Hopper http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9168

The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with Point 97, The Nature Conservancy and Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, has published the results of a recreational use study conducted along the Mid-Atlantic coast.

Almost 1,500 completed surveys were collected, which provided insight on where and how people spend their time along the Mid-Atlantic coast. This information, which is represented by the above image, shows just how extensively the region’s coastlines are used by surfers, hikers, swimmers, and other beachgoers, and these activities are not only a common pastime for many Mid-Atlantic residents, but also generate significant economic benefits for coastal communities and the region.

The study helps fill a longstanding data gap on recreational activities along the Mid-Atlantic coast.  This information will contribute to the ongoing regional ocean planning effort in the Mid-Atlantic, where the first iteration of a Mid-Atlantic ocean plan is on track to be completed by 2016.  The survey was done in coordination with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean and will be integrated into the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal and available for use by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) to create a plan for regional ocean management.

For more information, including the full report and state by state fact sheets, please click here.

 

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Celebrating Capitol Hill Ocean Week with a Commitment to Finalized Plans and a New National Ocean Council Director http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/10/celebrating-capitol-hill-ocean-week-with-a-commitment-to-finalized-plans-and-a-new-national-ocean-council-director/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/10/celebrating-capitol-hill-ocean-week-with-a-commitment-to-finalized-plans-and-a-new-national-ocean-council-director/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 19:30:12 +0000 Anne Merwin http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8472

Here in Washington, DC we are celebrating Capitol Hill Ocean Week  just on the heels of World Oceans Day.  As part of the celebration, White House Counselor John Podesta made two key announcements in his opening keynote address. First, an exciting official confirmation that smart ocean plans will be finished by 2016 in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic – spanning the ocean from Maine to Virginia. This important work by the Regional Planning Bodies is a landmark that will help coastal communities and businesses thrive.

Second, Podesta welcomed Beth Kerttula as the new Director of the National Ocean Council. Kerttula comes with a wealth of ocean expertise.  Before joining the National Ocean Council (NOC), she was a visiting fellow at Stanford University Center for Ocean Solutions.  Previously, she served as Democratic Leader of the Alaska State House of Representatives and has over 15 years of experience as an elected official.  Her experience covers a range of ocean issues from coastal zone management to ocean acidification.

The NOC provides a blueprint and support network for implementation of the National Ocean Policy that is a common sense approach to foster coordination among states, the federal government and ocean users.

At Ocean Conservancy, we are excited that smart ocean planning is advancing on the east coast. We also look forward to working with Director Kerttula as she takes the helm of the National Ocean Council.

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To Make Ocean Planning Effective, We Need Regional Coordination http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/12/to-make-ocean-planning-effective-we-need-regional-coordination/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/12/to-make-ocean-planning-effective-we-need-regional-coordination/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 13:30:32 +0000 Jayni Rasmussen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7731

Photo: Jupiter Unlimited

Earlier, I wrote about coastal and marine spatial planning and the tools necessary to effectively implement it. Today though, I wanted to discuss the regions and industries that are already putting these ideas to good use.

At the state level, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island have already created comprehensive ocean plans, and several other states—such as New York and several states along the Gulf of Mexico—are starting to do the same thing. This is a great start, but the ocean does not obey state lines. As a result, regional partnerships are essential in facilitating coordination between federal, state, tribal and local entities.

Thankfully, almost all coastal governors have voluntarily joined together to establish Regional Ocean Partnerships that connect state and federal agencies, tribes, local governments, and stakeholders to tackle ocean and coastal issues of common concern, such as siting offshore energy, habitat restoration, coastal storm mitigation and marine debris. While the priorities, structures and methods for these partnerships and this work differ to suit the needs of each region, they are collectively working toward an improved ocean environment and a stronger ocean and coastal economy. For example, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have very active partnerships that manage robust data portals needed to make informed decisions. In addition, both of these regions have new, federally sponsored regional planning boards that are working on smart ocean planning in coordination with the state-based partnerships. Other regions are also moving forward with collaborative ocean-use planning. For example, the West Coast recently launched its own ocean data portal; making these resources available to stakeholders is essential to the planning process.

It’s important to note that smart ocean planning is a voluntary process. No region is required to undergo ocean planning, and no decision-maker must follow the recommendations of regional planning bodies. The plans are simply tools to guide decision-making.

We have a unique and limited opportunity to make the long-term, coordinated decisions that will protect our ocean’s health for generations to come. When I check in later this week for the last part of this series, I’ll cover what will be needed to make this happen. For now though, if you’d like more information on what regions have started the planning process, check out this short interview with Dr. Sandra Whitehouse, senior advisor to Ocean Conservancy:

If you can’t watch the video on this page, click here.

Read more blogs from this series:

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For Ocean Planning to Work, Decision-Makers Must Engage Stakeholders http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/10/for-ocean-planning-to-work-decision-makers-must-engage-stakeholders/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/10/for-ocean-planning-to-work-decision-makers-must-engage-stakeholders/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:11:22 +0000 Jayni Rasmussen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7714

Advocates for smart ocean planning from around the country at our D.C. office before meeting with members of Congress

Last week, I wrote about how coastal and marine spatial planning (“smart ocean planning”) is an essential tool for making smart choices about the future of our ocean. In order to make those smart choices though, smart ocean planning requires gathering and sharing sound data to promote informed, science-based decision-making. Accurate data on all of the ways the ocean is used must be collected and compared. Decision-makers need as much data as possible to identify where conflicts exist and where they might emerge.

To accomplish this goal, state-based Regional Ocean Partnerships are coordinating the collection of these data and making them available to the public. In the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and West Coast regions, Regional Ocean Partnerships have already begun this process by creating “data portals”. These interactive, Web-based portals allow any user — from the general public to agency decision-makers —to compare maps of artificial reefs, recreational boating spots, whale migration paths, offshore renewable energy lease areas, commercial shipping routes and more.

Since smart ocean planning requires coordination among stakeholders every step of the way, input from all of those sectors is necessary for accurate and complete data collection. For example, the Northeast region recently engaged the recreational boating community by asking it to contribute spatial and economic data. The survey helped identify the waters that boaters frequent and revealed that in 2012, the recreational boating sector generated $3.5 billion and supported nearly 27,000 jobs.

These data now allow the needs and importance of the recreational boating community to be considered when decision-makers are determining how to best manage coastal waters in the Northeast. Furthermore, the more these data are shared the more we can ensure collaboration between government agencies and stakeholders that is needed for informed decision-making will occur.

This week, Ocean Conservancy staff members are joining stakeholders from around the country in meeting with members of Congress regarding the importance of the Regional Ocean Partnerships and smart ocean planning, and we would encourage you to do the same by contacting your representatives and senators to make your voice heard on the issue.

For more information on what is needed to effectively implement marine spatial planning, check out this short interview with Dr. Sandra Whitehouse, senior advisor to Ocean Conservancy:

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Ocean Planning Makes Sense http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/07/ocean-planning-makes-sense/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/07/ocean-planning-makes-sense/#comments Thu, 07 Nov 2013 21:49:49 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6937 Two men fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Photo: Tom McCann / Ocean Conservancy

The piece below was excerpted from an article by Rip Cunningham on the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) Blog. Cunningham is the former chairman of the New England Fishery Management Council. He is also Conservation Editor for Saltwater Sportsman magazine, of which he was publisher and editor-in-chief for 31 years. 

While the piece expresses concern about some aspects of ocean-use planning, it makes a formidable case for the need to engage in it. Ocean Conservancy believes that smart ocean planning is important for balancing all of the interests in our ocean, so we welcome this kind of discussion.

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I know that some in the recreational fishing industry think that “ocean planning” is part of the great conspiracy to totally eliminate extractive activities like recreational or commercial fishing. They feel that this process is simply “ocean zoning” intent on removing fishing.

Maybe it is and I am just too naive to see it, but there are too many signs pointing in other directions. First, I don’t believe in the great conspiracy theory, and secondly, I think that doing some real planning makes a whole lot of sense, and I understand that in that process there will be winners and losers.

The best description, in my opinion, of how ocean planning should work is found on Sea Plan’s, an independent ocean planning policy group, website: “Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) aims to distribute and accommodate both traditional and emerging ocean activities to produce sustainable economic and social benefits while minimizing spatial conflicts and environmental impacts. CMSP is an iterative process that uses the best available science along with stakeholder input to support integrated, adaptable and forward-looking ocean management decision-making.”

The part of the process that I find objectionable is the building of more bureaucracy to complete this task. There are already agencies at the federal, regional and state level that deal with these issues. Do we need several layers of bureaucracy just to get these organizations to play in the sandbox together?

In any case, here in New England, we have the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), which appears to be a regional version of the National Ocean Council (NOC). However, it was organized by the Northeast governors about five years prior to NOC, which was established under an executive order from President Obama and likely the genesis of the anti-ocean planning movement.

Many feel that this was merely an end run around the failed legislation called Oceans 21. Again, maybe it was, but that does not negate the need for some real thinking about how we use our ocean. Things such as renewable energy development, at-sea LNG terminals, pipeline construction, ocean mining, etc. are going to happen. In comparison to those industries, fishing doesn’t stand a chance. We would be road kill on the developmental highway without some controlling structure.

While I don’t happen to believe that it is enough, fishing does have some representation at the Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) level. This is through a representative from the New England Fishery Management Council sitting at the RPB table. Yes, fishing is just one voice among many, but without any representation, there would be no chance.

Recently, a coalition of marine interests including SeaPlan, representatives of the boating industry, New England states and the state of New York, U.S. Coast Guard and NROC conducted a survey titled Northeast Recreational Boating Survey. This effort was designed to get stakeholder input on how boaters use the Northeast waters. It was a very comprehensive survey that got input from 12,000 participants.

The survey shows the importance of boaters who generated $3.5 billion in economic activity. A much older survey conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) indicated that 75 percent of all powerboats were used for fishing at some point. I don’t know if that holds true today, but it indicates fishing is still a substantial part of this economic engine. The take home message is that NROC is concerned about the recreational fishing industry and how it fits into the planning process.

I am also aware of efforts that are being taken to reach out to individual anglers to get their input into the process. These are being developed as this is written. NROC also has made an effort to include the party/charter fishing industry as well. If they had no interest in the fishing industry, I doubt they would make this level of effort to include stakeholder input.

While there are and will continue to be concerns about the whole coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) area, the idea that this is simply an underhanded plan to end all fishing just doesn’t carry any water (pun intended). As users we need to be involved with this type of planning and we need to try to make sure that our access to marine resources is not compromised.

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