Ocean Currents » Rhode Island http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 24 May 2016 13:30:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Ocean Planning Brings a Taste of New England to Washington, D.C. http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/05/18/ocean-planning-brings-a-taste-of-new-england-to-washington-d-c/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/05/18/ocean-planning-brings-a-taste-of-new-england-to-washington-d-c/#comments Wed, 18 May 2016 11:00:43 +0000 Katie Morgan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12093

What do lobster fishermen, recreational boaters, research scientists, family aquaculture businesses and renewable energy developers have in common? They’ve all pulled up a chair at a common table to address important decisions being made about our ocean, through a process called ocean planning.

Last week, nearly 30 ocean users from five coastal, New England states came to Washington, D.C., to talk about the Northeast regional ocean plan with Members of Congress and the National Ocean Council at the White House.

These stakeholders came to D.C. with a simple message: with the Northeast on the cusp of releasing the nation’s first ocean plan on May 25, ocean planning is moving forward and provides real benefits to our ocean, the states and ocean industries. It offers 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.

Over the course of two days, these ocean users met with 27 members of Congress and the National Ocean Council to talk about the benefits smart ocean planning has brought to the region and will continue to bring. This visit was a celebration of the hard work the region has put in to the planning process, and also a chance to discuss with federal leaders the significance of this ocean plan. They requested support for the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan and the efforts of ocean users like themselves who have been invested in this collaborative process with the goal of making better, more informed ocean use decisions.

The Experience

What were some of the takeaways for the people who came down from the region, and what does planning mean to different ocean sectors? Check out what three of the individuals that attended the D.C. fly-in last week had to say:

“My job is to empower students in engaging with their community’s greatest asset: the ocean. What excited me about meeting with the Connecticut delegation was seeing shipping, commerce, fishing, and government all working together on ocean planning. Now I can honestly tell my students: our government and ocean users work together! There are possibilities out there for you!”

— Mary Horrigan, New England Science and Sailing (Connecticut)

“We had a diversity of stakeholders attend these meetings with Congress. Did we have differences of opinion? Of course, we weren’t 100% in agreement, but that’s the whole point. The key thing with ocean planning is that we have multiple stakeholders involved and a transparent process. Commercial fishing is everything to the economy of New Bedford. But it’s important to keep in mind that offshore wind and boating are also important opportunities.

— Ed Anthes-Washburn, Port of New Bedford (Massachusetts)

“We really all came together—recreational boaters, shipping, seafood farmers, offshore wind—we are all different, but by working together we provided a unified front. It’s a really exciting thing. The support from the Representatives and Senators from Rhode Island has been huge! We appreciate their rallying for this worthy cause.”

— Greg Silkes, American Mussel Harvesters, Inc. (Rhode Island)

What’s Next?

On May 25, the Northeast Regional Planning Body will release the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan and will welcome comments for 60 days. A webinar will be held from noon-2p.m. EST, during which the Northeast Regional Planning Body will provide an overview of the draft and describe the public comment period.

The Mid-Atlantic is not far behind either—we expect to see the draft Regional Ocean Action Plan, spanning the waters from New York to Virginia in July! Learn more about the Northeast ocean planning process at their website, and learn more about ocean planning at our website.

Ocean Users Gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan, which will be released in draft form on May 25th Ocean Users from New Hampshire met with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH) Senator Ed Markey (MA) stopped by to talk about ocean planning at a reception for the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan, and met with ocean users from across New England Greg and Mason Silkes stand with the Rhode Island oysters their family business supplied for a reception on the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse speaks about ocean planning at a reception celebrating the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan Representative Jim Langevin met with Rhode Islanders to talk about ocean planning in New England Ocean Users from Maine met with Representative Chellie Pingree (ME) Ocean Users from Maine met with Representative Bruce Poliquin (ME) Representative David Cicilline poses with ocean users at a reception on Capitol Hill celebrating the upcoming release of the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan Rhode Island Oysters supplied by American Mussel Harvesters for an event celebrating the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan Capitol Building, Washington, DC ]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/05/18/ocean-planning-brings-a-taste-of-new-england-to-washington-d-c/feed/ 0
Celebrating the Nation’s First Offshore Wind Farm: Deepwater Wind http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/07/28/celebrating-the-nations-first-offshore-wind-farm-deepwater-wind/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/07/28/celebrating-the-nations-first-offshore-wind-farm-deepwater-wind/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:30:32 +0000 Sandra Whitehouse http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10576

Despite the pouring rain, the mood was bright onboard the Rhode Island Fast Ferry en route to view the first steel in the water for a wind farm built by Deepwater Wind.

Within the hour it took to get from the Port of Quonset where Deepwater Wind does the land-based construction work to the site, the rain had stopped and the 150 people on board went out on deck to see the enormous crane and the top of the piling that was recently placed on the seafloor. Everyone there, as well as many others, had contributed to this moment in some way and they were proud to see Rhode Island erecting the first offshore wind farm in the nation.

While the visual stars of the show were the actual pilings and the members of the construction crew who lined the deck of the barge carrying the crane, the unseen but widely acknowledged headliner was Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), without which the project would in all likelihood still be in the permitting phase. Jeff Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind stated succinctly, “the SAMP was critical to our success.” Governor Raimondo spoke about how the project’s success was based on collaborative planning that saved years of permitting time. The foundation of the wind farm is not only cement and steel; it’s also the science-based, stakeholder-driven ocean plan.

Some of the people on the ferry were stakeholders who had engaged in the planning process such as Bill McElroy, a lobsterman and chair of the Fisheries Advisory Board, and Tricia Jedele, from the Conservation Law Foundation. There were also representatives from many of the state and federal agencies that had worked together to create the SAMP including Sally Jewell (Secretary of the US Department of the Interior), Curt Spalding (Administrator for EPA Region 1), Janet Coit (Director, RI Department of Environmental Management), and Grover Fugate (Executive Director, RI Coastal Resources Management Council and leader of the SAMP process).

Representative Jim Langevin (RI-2) congratulated everyone who had a role in the SAMP and its vital role in getting turbines in the water while protecting the natural resources.

The lesson of the day was summed up by Grover Fugate who touted the SAMP as a planning process that involved stakeholders, used the best science, and enabled offshore wind, one of the nation’s newest industries, to coexist with commercial fishing, one of the oldest.

It was a great day to celebrate an ocean planning success by the Rhode Island SAMP and Deepwater Wind.

Deepwater Wind Construction crews line the deck of the barge carrying the crane that is installing the first offshore wind farm in the US. (L-R) Secretary of the US Department of the Interior Sally Jewell, Rhode Island Representative Jim Langevin, and Dr. Sandra Whitehouse onboard the Rhode Island Fast Ferry en route to view the Deepwater Wind Block Island project. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo cut the ribbon in celebration of the steel in the water offshore of Block Island. A view of the newly installed steel foundation that once fully constructed will house Deepwater Wind’s first offshore wind turbine. Dr. Sandra Whitehouse (L-R) Dr. Sandra Whitehouse with Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo onboard the Rhode Island Fast Ferry en route to view the Deepwater Wind Block Island project.


]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/07/28/celebrating-the-nations-first-offshore-wind-farm-deepwater-wind/feed/ 2
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:

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/12/to-make-ocean-planning-effective-we-need-regional-coordination/feed/ 1
Video: Ocean Planning: Enhancing and Protecting Our Fisheries http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/05/video-ocean-planning-enhancing-and-protecting-out-fisheries/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/05/video-ocean-planning-enhancing-and-protecting-out-fisheries/#comments Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:30:56 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6170

This is a guest blog post from Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Resources Center and Director of Extension Programs for Rhode Island Sea Grant.  It is part of an ongoing video series on the value of smart ocean planning.

This film offers thinking from practitioners about how ocean planning — with its emphasis on integrating planning approaches across multiple resources and user groups — could help solve complicated economic, social and environmental issues challenging the fishing industry.

Watch the other films in this series:

 

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/05/video-ocean-planning-enhancing-and-protecting-out-fisheries/feed/ 5
Advancing the Ocean Economy: Renewable Energy http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/21/advancing-the-ocean-economy-renewable-energy/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/21/advancing-the-ocean-economy-renewable-energy/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2013 18:35:00 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6161

This is a guest blog post from Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Resources Center and Director of Extension Programs for Rhode Island Sea Grant.  It is part of an ongoing video series on the value of smart ocean planning.

The film is the second in our series and introduces offshore renewable energy issues as they relate to ocean planning, and shows how coastal communities in the U.S. and overseas are turning to these resources, such as wind power, to support jobs and industries.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/21/advancing-the-ocean-economy-renewable-energy/feed/ 0
How Rhode Island Wind Can Help Take Us Far, Quickly http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/13/how-rhode-island-wind-can-take-us-far-quickly/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/13/how-rhode-island-wind-can-take-us-far-quickly/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:04:37 +0000 Sandra Whitehouse http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6079

I had the opportunity to meet with former Vice President Al Gore to discuss the impacts of climate change on Rhode Island. This included the marine impacts, such as warming bay waters, and increased intensity of storms.

The winds on Rhode Island’s waters made them the location of choice for the America’s Cup sailing races for over a century. While harnessing that wind for energy may be only a small piece of the global picture, it can contribute to broader efforts to mitigate climate change.

We discussed the proactive planning process that Rhode Island completed in 2010, which resulted in the designation of a renewable energy area in state waters. Deepwater Wind has already applied to build a 30 megawatt demonstration-scale offshore wind farm in this area, which might become the first offshore wind to be harnessed in the US.

As the keynote speaker for Rhode Island Energy and Environmental Leaders Day, Gore commended Rhode Island’s smart ocean planning and its robust engagement of stakeholders.

“Congratulations to Rhode Island; one of the things this little engine that can has done is to bring all the stakeholders together in a very intelligent way, and move quickly,” he said. “You know, there’s an old Native American saying: If you want to go quickly, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. We have to go far, quickly. And that’s what you’re doing by getting your act together and figuring out the problems and the points of opposition in advance, and getting people to work together.”

Many of the people in the audience came away feeling inspired that maybe we can address climate change before it’s too late. I know I did.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/13/how-rhode-island-wind-can-take-us-far-quickly/feed/ 2
Video: America’s Ocean Economy: Challenges and Opportunities http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/24/video-americas-ocean-economy-challenges-and-opportunities/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/24/video-americas-ocean-economy-challenges-and-opportunities/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 18:53:04 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5876

This is a guest blog post from Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Resources Center and Director of Extension Programs for Rhode Island Sea Grant.

In Rhode Island and beyond, coastal communities are working on plans to manage the ocean’s resources in ways that generate new industries, support job creation, and provide food and services to an ever-increasing population.

This film is the first in a series that explores this effort with ocean practitioners from around the world and provides an overview of economic issues related to ocean planning. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share the remaining three films in the series, which focus on offshore renewable energy, fisheries and the environment.

The film series is supported by several funders and partners, including The URI Coastal Resources Center, Rhode Island Sea Grant, Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), the team behind OpenChannels.org. Media firm Zygote Digital Films Inc. developed the series.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/24/video-americas-ocean-economy-challenges-and-opportunities/feed/ 0