NOAA Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

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World Ocean Council’s second “Sustainable Ocean Summit”
April 22-24, 2013

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Marine Spatial Planning: The Key To Our Crowded Oceans. Video address by Dr. Lubchenco.

What Is Marine Spatial Planning Podcast

National Ocean Policy Stakeholder Call


America's Ocean Economy: Challenges and Opportunities Video

September 2012 – A new short film, America’s Ocean Economy: Challenges and Opportunities, is the first in a series that explores aspects of ocean management with ocean management practitioners from around the world. The film provides an overview of economic issues related to ocean planning. Three additional films are scheduled to be released throughout the fall and will focus on ocean planning and offshore renewable energy, fisheries, and the environment.

Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Partnership Formed

September 2012 – The Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership is a voluntary partnership among the governors of the U.S. Pacific Islands region. The governors of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Guam, and Hawaii signed a partnership agreement that will promote regional collaboration by identifying coastal and ocean management priorities that need to be addressed in a coordinated manner. The signed partnership agreement can be found at

Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership Signing Ceremony

August 2012 – A story on News2 from the Virgin Islands highlights the recent signing of the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership agreement and the potential benefits of the partnership, including identifying fisheries management areas and looking at future uses that include offshore energy siting. The Nature Conservancy received a grant from NOAA to support the governments of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in moving forward with establishing and implementing the partnership. Part of this support will be to work with partners to establish data sharing and management protocols for key regional spatial data sets, ultimately establishing a portal for easy access and viewing of data.

New Article on Evaluating Trade-offs among Ecosystem Services to Inform MSP

June 2012 – A new article in the international journal Marine Policy examines an ecosystem service trade-off analysis framework applied to marine spatial planning. This approach can reveal valuable information on management options and point to the benefits of comprehensive planning. The article can be found at

Ocean.Data.Gov Newsletter

May 2012 – The National Ocean Council (NOC) has started a monthly newsletter. The newsletter is an informal way of keeping people up to date on the continued development of the NOC’s portal to support ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes planning activities. To be added to the distribution list, email

NROC March 2012 Ocean Planning Workshop Proceedings

May 2012The proceedings from the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) ocean planning workshop held in March is now available under the “News” heading at

International Marine Spatial Planning Symposium

May 2012 Rhode Island Sea Grant and the University of Rhode Island hosted an International Marine Spatial Planning Symposium. More information about the symposium, including presentations and transcripts, can be found at

New Article on Stakeholders and Marine Spatial Planning

April 25, 2012 – The international journal Marine Policy has published a new article, “Coming to the Table: Early Stakeholder Engagement in Marine Spatial Planning.” The article describes the results of a two-year project, co-led by the Nicholas Institute at Duke University and the Meridian Institute, that brought together a wide range of individuals associated with ocean industries and the conservation community to seek common ground related to marine spatial planning. The piece will appear in the journal in September but can be viewed online now at

CMSP Regional Training and Survey

April 2012 – The Battelle Memorial Institute and Coastal States Organization will be organizing a series of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Advancement Training (CMSP-AT) workshops in several U.S. regions. Designed for professional coastal managers, the workshops will provide a curriculum based on domestic and international best practices, enhanced regional modules, collaborative and interactive problem-solving activities, and incentives for continued CMSP education and networking. In preparing for the workshops, the presenters invite all coastal managers to participate in a survey about CMSP efforts in their region. To complete the survey and learn more about the project, go to

Final Results of BaltSeaPlan Project Available

April 2012 – The BaltSea Plan project was a multi-partner effort to advance CMSP in countries around the Baltic Sea including Germany, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. BaltSeaPlan held a wrap-up conference in Berlin in January 2012 and the final report, “Advancing Maritime Spatial Planning: Results of the BaltSeaPlan Project and Beyond,” is now available at;782/1

Arctic Region Data

March 23, 2012 – The National Ocean Council released a page on focused on the Arctic that highlights data, decision-support tools, and ecosystem-based management efforts. The page can be viewed at de/237/data_tools/arctic.

West Coast Regional Data Framework

March 2012 – In December 2011, the West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health (WCGA) held a workshop with state and federal agency staff, tribal representatives, non-governmental organizations and academics from California, Oregon, and Washington to develop a vision for sharing West Coast ocean and coastal data. Workshop participants called for creation of a Regional Data Framework Action Coordination Team to ensure that the framework meets the data needs for regional ocean management. To learn more and read the workshop proceedings, visit

New Report Supports CMSP in Delaware

March 20, 2012 – The Center for Carbon-Free Power Integration (CCPI) at the University of Delaware has issued a new report, Delaware Marine Spatial Planning: Offshore Wind Context. The study summarizes and maps ocean uses off the coast of Delaware, including parts of Maryland and New Jersey, to provide better context for siting offshore wind farms by taking into account biological, ecological, and other considerations. The report also includes feedback from participants at a November 2011 workshop. Read the report at

New Study Measures Value of MSP

March 2012 – A new study shows that ocean planning that incorporates multiple uses can increase cultural, conservation, and economic benefits. The study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis compares different scenarios to quantify the benefits associated with marine spatial planning. It found that siting wind farms while simultaneously considering impacts on fishing and whale watching produced significantly better conservation and economic outcomes. The article is available online at

Special Issue of Environmental Policy & Planning on MSP

March 2012 – The Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning has published a special issue (Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012) called “Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?” To see the contents, visit

Northeast Regional Ocean Council Seeks Assistance with Ocean Planning

February 2012 – The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) has released two requests for proposals to support its ocean planning efforts. The two projects are “Sector Specific Workshops in Support of Ocean Planning in New England” and “Spatial Characterization of Commercial Fishing Activity in New England.” Proposals are due to NROC by March 20, 2012. For additional information go to

Comment Period Extended for National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

February 27, 2012 – The National Ocean Council has extended the public comment period on the draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan by 30 days. This extension will give all stakeholders adequate time to review the draft implementation plan and provide their input. The new deadline for submitting comments is March 28, 2012. Read and download the draft plan at

Funding Available for Regional Ocean Partnerships

February 24, 2012 – NOAA is currently soliciting proposals through the Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program (ROPFP), which is focused on advancing effective coastal and ocean management through regional ocean governance, including the National Ocean Policy and national goals for coastal and marine spatial planning. Eligible entities must submit full proposals on or before April 2, 2012. Total anticipated funding is approximately $3,000,000, subject to the availability of fiscal year 2012 appropriations. The start date for proposals should be October 1, 2012. For additional details about this opportunity, visit

Hawaii Ocean Resource Management Plan Receives NOAA Grant

February 9, 2012 – The Hawaii Office of Planning has received a $250,000 grant from NOAA to strengthen its Ocean Resources Management Plan and help implement the National Ocean Policy. The plan, first adopted in 1994, promotes an integrated approach to managing Hawaii’s marine and coastal zone resources. In December 2006, after an extensive stakeholder input and review process, an updated plan was sent to the governor and the state legislature. Since then, the coastal zone management program has established a multi-stakeholder policy group and a working group to ensure ongoing plan revisions and implementation. Read more at

Film Features New Approaches to Ocean Management

February 9, 2012 – A new feature-length film, Ocean Frontiers, highlights communities across the country at the forefront of implementing new approaches to ocean and coastal management. The stories in Ocean Frontiers help audiences understand key principles of ecosystem-based management and coastal and marine spatial planning, cornerstones of the National Ocean Policy. Communities from the Pacific Northwest, Boston Harbor, the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico, and even Iowa are featured. For more information, visit

New Report Supports UK Marine Planning

February 7, 2012 – A new report assesses the evidence and issues related to the United Kingdom’s East Inshore and East Offshore marine plan areas. The report will help inform the next steps in the planning process, including setting objectives and exploring options. A draft marine plan will be released for formal comment by the end of 2012. The new report is available at

Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy Leases Going Forward

February 3, 2012 – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau announced that the Department of the Interior will move forward with the process for wind energy lease sales off Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware. BOEM’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment found that there would be no significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts from issuing wind energy leases in designated outer continental shelf areas off the mid-Atlantic Coast. A new lease form has also been finalized that will help streamline the issuance of renewable energy leases. The full announcement can be viewed in the Federal Register, pages 5,560-61, at the following link:

Cumulative Marine Impacts Assessed in Massachusetts Waters

January 24, 2012 – A new report, Mapping Cumulative Impacts of Human Activities on Marine Ecosystems, analyzes these potential impacts in Massachusetts’ state and federal waters. The study, produced by SeaPlan and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, examines which areas are most vulnerable and which human uses are likely to put the greatest stress on marine ecosystems. The findings are intended to help clarify ocean planning decisions, highlight areas of potential conflict among ocean users, identify areas that may merit conservation, and assess ecological values of particular places. The report can be downloaded at

Comment Period Open on National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

January 2012 – The draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plancontinues to generate considerable attention throughout the ocean community and the blogosphere. Formal comments on the draft plan are being accepted through February 27, 2012. The plan includes more than 50 specific actions the federal government will take to address the challenges facing the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, including actions to advance regional coastal and marine spatial planning.

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan Released

January 12, 2012 – The National Ocean Council has released a draft of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. The Plan includes more than 50 specific actions the Federal government will take to address the challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. For each action, the Plan outlines key milestones, identifies responsible agencies, and indicates the expected timeframe for completion. Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning is addressed as one of nine National Priority Objectives. Comments on the draft Plan will be accepted through February 27, 2012. To learn more and download the draft plan, visit

U.S. Ocean Data Portal Launched

December 6, 2011 – The federal government has launched a new website to make data, maps, information, and tools easily accessible to those engaged in managing and planning for the future of the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. The launch of is one element of the National Ocean Council’s implementation of the National Ocean Policy. will provide streamlined access to data from many federal agencies by making it accessible from a single site. Interactive forums are also available for coastal, marine, and Great Lakes managers to share data and tools, discuss data standards, coordinate regional efforts, and incorporate tribal knowledge. To tour the new site, visit

Report Issued on Oregon’s Coastal Economy

December 2011 – A new report has been issued to support Oregon’s territorial sea plan (TSP) process. Two years ago, the State of Oregon identified the need to better understand how coastal communities were affected by consumptive and non-consumptive activities in the territorial sea. The Shoreside Economic Analysis for the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan report addresses this information gap and will aid the work of the TSP Working Group, the Ocean Policy Advisory Council, the TSP Advisory Committee, and the Land Conservation and Development Commission. The full report is available to the public at

New European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Supports MSP

November 2011 – The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, with its budget of 6.5 billion Euros, will assist in implementation of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy and Integrated Maritime Policy. For the Integrated Maritime Policy, funding will focus primarily on initiatives that benefit various sectors, such as maritime spatial planning, integrated maritime surveillance, and marine knowledge, but cannot be accomplished by sector-based policies or individual member states.

West Coast Governor’s Agreement Changes Name

November 2011 – The regional collaboration formerly known as the West Coast Governors’ Agreement (WCGA) on Ocean Health has changed its name to the West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health. The new name emphasizes the evolution of the WCGA from an agreement among the governors to an active partnership that includes federal and tribal governments, academia, industry, and nongovernmental organizations. The alliance has also launched a new website, designed to be more user-friendly and engaging and to better communicate the work of the WCGA, its action coordination teams, and partners. Learn more at

Northeast Regional Ocean Council Receives Funding

November 2011 – The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), a partnership of the New England states and federal coastal and ocean resource agencies, received approximately $2.5 million in grants from NOAA and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to support key aspects of its regional ocean planning framework. NROC is finalizing a two-year work plan to begin implementation of (1) a stakeholder involvement process to develop goals and objectives for regional ocean planning and (2) a baseline characterization of the region’s ocean resources and uses. For more information on NROC’s activities, visit

U.K. Draft Marine Planning Report Released

November 24, 2011 – A draft report has been issued by the U.K. Marine Management Organisation (MMO) discussing marine planning data and issues in the East of England. The Evidence and Emerging Issues Report highlights current and future ocean issues, including opportunities for a range of marine users. Marine plans will guide regulators and users across England, integrating the needs of marine activities with the need to conserve marine species and habitats. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to submit comments on the draft report by January 6, 2012.

European Union Promotes Integrated Strategy for Atlantic Ocean Region

November 21, 2011 – The European Commission has adopted a new maritime strategy for sustainable growth in the Atlantic Ocean area. The strategy will apply to coasts, territorial waters, and exclusive economic zones under the jurisdiction of France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom, as well as international waters, and will be implemented through an action plan due in 2013. Among the initiatives and measures to be supported are maritime spatial planning, improved knowledge of the marine environment, development of a marine observation and data network (EMODNET), and integration of maritime surveillance. To support the strategy and action plan, the commission will create an Atlantic Forum, with workshops and working groups focused on the challenges and opportunities offered by the region, as well as an online discussion platform.

Multi-Disciplinary Workshop Held in Portugal

November 4, 2011 – A workshop focused on multi-disciplinary case studies of marine spatial planning (also known as maritime spatial planning in Europe) was held in early November in Lisbon, Portugal. Organized by the Helsinki Commission, the Visions and Strategies around the Baltic Sea project, the Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment for the North East Atlantic, and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, the event allowed around 80 participants to share their knowledge and experiences related to marine spatial planning (MSP) and to participate in a unique simulation game, the MSP Challenge 2011. Experiences and results from the workshop will be summarized in a joint workshop report. For more information, visit

Massachusetts Ocean Partnership Is Now SeaPlan

October 2011 – The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership, a group that played an important role in supporting  implementation of the Massachusetts Ocean Plan, has changed its name to SeaPlan. SeaPlan will continue to specialize in science-based, stakeholder-informed work related to coastal and marine spatial planning, including efforts to create a regional ocean plan in the Northeast region. For an overview of SeaPlan’s ongoing work, visit

New Report from Federal Advisory Committee

September 14, 2011 – The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee released a new white paper, Recommendations for the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Process, that provides advice about integrating the national system of marine protected areas within the federal coastal and marine spatial planning initiative. To read the report, visit:

New Spatial Planning Tool under Development

October 2011 – A new decision-support tool, Bayesian Analysis for Spatial Siting (BASS), is being designed to advance the state of the art in coastal and marine spatial planning. BASS is being developed through a partnership of Oregon State University, Parametrix, Robust Decisions, Inc., Aquatera, Ltd., and The Nature Conservancy, with support from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The outcome will be a robust, quantifiable analysis system that can accommodate an unlimited number of inputs and integrate disparate biogeophysical, social, and infrastructure information and associated uncertainties. The BASS system will produce outputs that are quantified, defensible, and integrated with difficult-to-quantify elements such as stakeholder input. For more information, visit

Washington State Releases Report on Human Uses of Coastal Resources

October 24, 2011 – The Washington State Department of Ecology released a report, “How We Use Our Marine Waters,” summarizing two workshops that took place in summer 2011. The workshops focused on data about how humans use ocean and coastal resources, information that is essential to support coastal and marine spatial planning. The report includes presentations, discussions, and recommendations from participants and summarizes stakeholder and partner perspectives on data inventory needs and ideas for addressing data gaps. Read the report at

New Research Project on Marine Spatial Planning in the Baltic Sea

October 2011 – A new three-year research project, Marine Spatial Planning in a Changing Climate (MARISPLAN), will use hydrodynamic, ecological, watershed, and economic models to assess how uses and management of the marine ecosystem may be affected by a changing climate. New GIS-based marine spatial planning tools will be developed that incorporate such effects. The project, led by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) with many partner organizations, brings together a multidisciplinary team of scientists to explore case studies in the Helsinki City sea area, the Archipelago Sea, and the Quark-Bothnian Bay area. For more information, visit

Rhode Island Produces Video on Ocean Planning Project

September 20, 2011 – Rhode Island was one of the first states in the nation to undertake CMSP through its Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP), a federally recognized coastal management and regulatory tool. Now a new video, “Ocean SAMP: Mapping Rhode Island’s Waters,” tells the story of the creation of this management plan and how it can help map the future of Rhode Island’s waters. You can watch the short video at

New UK Study on Socio-Economic Benefits of Marine Planning

September 2011 - The United Kingdom’s Marine Management Organisation has published a new study entitled “Maximising the Socio-Economic Benefits of Marine Planning for English Coastal Communities.” The study provides a snapshot of the socio-economic factors currently driving coastal communities throughout England, with additional detail about Eastern England where the first two marine plans are being developed. Marine planners can use the study as they develop marine plans, maximizing the benefits of sustainable marine development for coastal communities. To read or download the report, visit

Washington State Seeks Nominations for Ocean Advisory Group

August 29, 2011 – A new advisory group is being established to provide input to the Washington State Ocean Caucus, an interagency team made up of state agencies with management roles or expertise in ocean and coastal issues. Nominations for membership on the advisory panel are currently being sought, with the goal of including representatives from a wide variety of coastal and ocean interests. Any individuals or groups can nominate candidates (including themselves) to the advisory group, but all nominations must be received by Tuesday, September 27, 2011. For more information, contact Jennifer Hennessey at or (360) 407-6595. For information about the Washington State Ocean Caucus, visit

Marine Spatial Planning Workshop Summary Available

August 2011 – In June 2011 the World Wildlife Fund and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans held the Regional Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning: A Technical Learning  Session in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The workshop report presents a high-level overview of key discussion points from the workshop, with a focus on those that could be helpful or instructive to future action. The summary is available at  

Aquarium Leads CMSP Exercise in Southern California

July 26 to 27, 2011 – The Aquarium of the Pacific, in collaboration with the University of Southern California Sea Grant, gathered about 40 experts from the conservation, scientific, governmental, and commercial sectors to discuss the implementation of coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) in Southern California. The goal of the forum was to draft a vision and outline a process for applying CMSP in the Southern California Bight, from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the state’s southern border, including the Channel Islands. For more information, go to

University of Ulster Offers Degree in Marine Spatial Planning

July 2011 – The University of Ulster will be offering an online postgraduate diploma and a masters of science degree in marine spatial planning. This distance learning program will provide advanced training in the principles and practice of marine spatial planning. Graduates will also be expected to gain a broad overview of marine and coastal resource management and integrated coastal zone management. For program details, visit

Rhode Island Ocean SAMP Receives Federal Approval

July 22, 2011 – NOAA has approved Rhode Island’s Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) as part of that state’s Coastal Zone Management Plan. This is the first state-level marine spatial plan to win federal approval. Although the ocean SAMP area spans approximately 1,467 square miles, the approval covers only the portion in state waters, including the location where Deepwater Wind hopes to build a five-turbine demonstration wind power project. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco heralded the Rhode Island plan as a model that other states can follow as they try to site offshore renewable energy, while balancing the interests of commercial and recreational fishermen, boaters, environmentalists, and others. To learn more, visit

National Ocean Council Completes 12 National Listening Sessions

July 1, 2011 – The National Ocean Council (NOC) has completed its whirlwind tour of the country, which began with a three-day workshop in Washington, DC, followed by 12 regional public listening sessions. This tour also concluded the public comment period for the nine draft strategic action plan outlines created to help implement the new National Ocean Policy. Building on these dialogues and written comments, NOC writing teams will produce full draft action plans for release in fall 2011. Learn more and view agendas for all the regional meetings at

NROC Launches Northeast Ocean Data Portal

June 2011 – The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) has launched the Northeast Ocean Data Portal to provide easy access to information on human activities, natural resources, and jurisdictional information related to New England’s coasts and ocean waters. The system includes the Northeast Ocean Data Viewer, an interactive map that can be used to visualize the data. The data portal and viewer are available to the public at

Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey Results Available

June 23, 2011 – The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) released the results of the 2010 Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey. More than 2,100 boaters responded to the survey between May and October 2010, providing detailed information on their boating trips, including expenditures, boating activities, and navigational routes. The results of this study will be incorporated into the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. For details, including the project summary, full technical report, and maps, visit

New UN Guide to Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Base Management Published

June 2011 – The United Nations Environment Program has released a new training resource, “Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management [EBM]: An Introductory Guide.” The guide outlines EBM principles and core elements, and pathways for getting started. The guide is intended to assist countries and communities in making marine and coastal ecosystem-based management operational by moving from strategic planning to on-site implementation. To download the guide, go to

Webcast of the National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop

June 21, 2011 – The National Ocean Council will hold a National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) Workshop in Washington, D.C., June 21-23. The first day will be a public session available through a live webcast. The webcast will have a chat box where you can submit questions to speakers. Participants will learn about CMSP and help shape its use in harmonizing competing uses of coastal and ocean waters. The following two days will bring together federal, state, tribal, and regional representatives to develop an understanding of the CMSP process, to begin to build a community of CMSP practitioners, and to consider next steps for regional implementation. To view the first day’s session and register to chat, go to

MARCO Releases Workplan for 2012

June 15, 2011 – The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) has released its 2011-2012 Workplan, which includes an action plan on coastal and marine spatial planning for the Mid-Atlantic states. The plan can be reviewed at

New Survey of Ocean Business Attitudes toward CMSP

June 11, 2011 – Coastal and marine spatial planning (MSP) is intended to provide benefits for the business community (such as streamlined permitting, increased certainty for investors, greater public and political buy-in for projects, etc.). However, information is scarce on whether these benefits are being achieved in places where MSP has been implemented, and there is little documentation of business community attitudes, expectations, and experiences. To fill this gap, the World Ocean Council is conducting an international business survey on MSP. Members of the ocean business community are encouraged to complete the survey at this link before June 30, 2011:

New Recommendations for Improved EU–US Cooperation in Maritime Governance

June 8, 2011 - The Cooperation across the Atlantic for Marine Governance Integration (CALAMAR) project was created to strengthen networks among key maritime stakeholders in the European Union and US, promote transatlantic cooperation, and make recommendations to improve integration of maritime policies. The project’s final report, Policy Recommendations for Improved EU and US Cooperation in Maritime Governance, presents recommendations based on working group discussions that took place over the course of the CALAMAR project, including a number of recommendations related to marine spatial planning. To learn more about the project and see the final report and interim products, go to

NOC Releases Draft Outlines for Strategic Action Plans

June 3, 2011 – The July 2010 National Ocean Policy included nine priority objectives for which the National Ocean Council (NOC) was tasked with developing strategic action plans. One of the priority objectives is to “implement comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States.” As a first step, the National Ocean Council has released outlines for each action plan to provide an initial indication of how federal agencies might address the objectives. To access the draft outlines and submit your comments, go to

National Ocean Council Announces Ten Regional Listening Sessions

May 26, 2011 – From June 9 to July 1, the National Ocean Council (NOC) will host ten regional listening sessions around the country on the implementation of the new National Ocean Policy. Staff members from 27 federal agencies and offices are drafting strategic action plans to achieve nine national priority objectives for the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Draft outlines for each action plan will be released in early June for a 30-day public comment period that coincides with the regional listening sessions. To see the dates and locations of all the sessions, go to

NOAA Science Advisory Board Approves Report on CMSP

May 16, 2011 – NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) has approved a report from its Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group entitled“Strategic Advice on Designing and Implementing Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans.”The report (with minor editorial changes) will be forwarded to NOAA management by the SAB. The draft report (as submitted to the SAB) can be downloaded here: _Report_Text_2May11.pdf.

New Guide to MSP Decision-Support Tools Now Available

May 2011 – The Center for Ocean Solutions has produced a guide to assist marine spatial planning (MSP) practitioners in selecting appropriate decision-support tools. The report, Decision Guide: Selecting Decision Support Tools for Marine Spatial Planning, discusses and compares a range of tools that employ interactive software, including maps, models, communication modules, and additional components to help clarify situations that are too complex and multifaceted to resolve using conventional approaches alone. The guide can be downloaded at

European Commission Studies Economic Effects of Marine Spatial Planning

May 2011 – The European Commission has released a new report on the economic impacts of marine spatial planning (MSP), analyzing what kinds of benefits will result and how large these benefits are likely to be. The study is mostly limited to a qualitative assessment of benefits, although it also includes a method that provides some indication of the quantitative effects of MSP. To read the report, go to

Factsheets on MSP for Offshore Renewables Available for 17 European Countries

May 2011 - Factsheets are now available analyzing marine spatial planning (MSP) regimes in 17 European Union countries concerning four different ocean basins (the North Sea, Baltic Sea, Irish Sea, and Mediterranean Sea). For more information and to download the factsheets, visit

National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop Announced

May 4, 2011 – The National Ocean Council will hold a National Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) Workshop in Washington, D.C., June 21-23. The first day of the workshop will be open to the public to gather stakeholder input. Participants will learn about CMSP and help shape its use in harmonizing competing uses of coastal and ocean waters. The following two days will bring together federal, state, tribal, and regional representatives to develop an understanding of the CMSP process, to begin to build a community of CMSP practitioners, and to consider next steps for regional implementation. For more information, or to register for the public portion of the workshop, go to

West Coast Ocean Partnership Releases Progress Report

April 2011 – The West Coast Governors’ Agreement (WCGA) on Ocean Health, a regional ocean partnership of three states―Washington, Oregon, and California―has released its two-year progress report. As a result of the WCGA’s 2008 Action Plan, 10 action coordination teams developed and implemented work plans to achieve high-priority regional goals. The new report describes the teams’ progress toward achieving regional ocean priorities. To read the report, visit

New Website on Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping

April 2011 – The results of the Hawaii Coastal Use Mapping Project are now available. The project, a collaboration among NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Center, Pacific Island Regional Office, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, and Special Projects Office, as well as the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, mapped 16 different uses representing the majority of human ocean activities off the northwestern coast of the Island of Hawaii. Data were collected during a three-day participatory mapping workshop held in September 2010. To learn more and to launch an interactive data viewer, visit

Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council Seeking Input

April 2011 – Oregon is undertaking a process to amend its Territorial Sea Plan to accommodate offshore renewable energy development. The Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) will be considering what areas within the territorial sea are appropriate for renewable energy development and forwarding a recommendation to designate areas for that new use. As a first step, OPAC’s Territorial Sea Plan Working Group will be holding a series of open meetings around the state throughout April and May. The meeting dates and additional information can be found at

Registration Fee Reduced for CMSP Training

April 2011 – The registration fee has been lowered for the event to be held on May 23-25, “Applying CMSP as a Tool to Site Offshore Renewable Energy and Other Future Uses: A Workshop to Learn Ocean Planning Tools and Techniques.” Hosted by the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center and the Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program, the workshop will allow participants to learn firsthand about the coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) tools and techniques used in developing the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). Post-training mentoring will also be available for participants. To learn more about the training and to register, visit

Company Applies for Right-of-Way for Offshore Transmission Line

March 31, 2001 – Building on efforts to develop offshore wind energy in the Mid-Atlantic region, Atlantic Wind Connection, with backing from Google and other investors, filed an application with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to construct the first offshore energy transmission system in U.S. waters. The project would be built in several phases, ultimately spanning roughly 300 miles of federal waters from the New York City metropolitan area to Virginia and allowing up to 7,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy to be integrated into the regional power grid. Such a project would need to be integrated into regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts. For more information, go to

European Union Requests Public Input on Maritime Spatial Planning

March 23, 2011 – The European Union (EU) is gathering stakeholder feedback about the status and future of maritime spatial planning (MSP) and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and assessing where further EU action would be most useful. The information gathered will be incorporated into an impact assessment and may be used to prepare draft proposals on MSP or ICZM. Anyone with an interest in these issues, including government officials, nongovernmental organizations, researchers, and coastal or maritime companies, is invited to complete an anonymous online questionnaire before the May 20, 2011, deadline. The questionnaire can be accessed at

United Kingdom Marine Policy Statement Issued

March 18, 2011 - The UK secretary of state, Scottish ministers, Welsh ministers, and the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment jointly adopted the UK Marine Policy Statement with the goal of achieving “clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas” and guiding the development of marine plans across the UK. The new policy sets out the environmental, social, and economic considerations that need to be taken into account in marine planning and provides guidance on the pressures and impacts that decision makers need to consider. The Marine and Coastal Access Act of 2009 requires all public authorities making decisions that might affect the UK marine area to do so in accordance with marine plans and the UK Marine Policy Statement. The statement and related documents can be found at

UK Marine Planning Regime Moves Forward

March 18, 2011 – The United Kingdom (UK) government has published its marine policy statement under the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act, which called for a regime of marine spatial planning in UK waters. The statement sets out the environmental, social, and economic considerations that need to be taken into account in marine planning. It also provides guidance on the pressures and impacts that decision makers need to consider when planning for and permitting development in the UK marine area. Under the new system, enforcement or authorization decisions must be made in accordance with relevant regional marine plans. If a new project accords with the marine plan, consent for it is likely to be given; if not, it is very unlikely that authorization will be granted. For more information, visit

Coastal Recreation Study Supports Ocean Planning in Oregon

March 18, 2011 – A new report on nonconsumptive ocean recreation in Oregon reveals that 80 percent of Oregonians visited the coast last year, generating an estimated $2.4 billion in expenditures. The study, a collaboration of the Surfrider Foundation, Ecotrust, and NaturalEquity, with support from Oregon state agencies, will assist the state in updating its territorial sea plan and help planners identify suitable locations for wave energy development. Information on Oregon’s ocean planning process and the new coastal recreation report is available at

National Ocean Council Appoints Governance Coordinating Committee

February 23, 2011 – The National Ocean Council, in consultation with state, tribal, and local governments and organizations, has established the Governance Coordinating Committee to help coordinate interjurisdictional ocean policy issues. The committee consists of 18 members, including one state-level representative each from the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, South Atlantic, West Coast, Alaska, Pacific Islands, and Caribbean regions; two at-large representatives from inland states; one state legislative representative; three at-large tribal representatives; and three local government representatives from coastal states. For more information and a list of members, visit

Massachusetts Launches New and Improved Coastal Mapping Tool

February 15, 2011 – The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management released a new and improved version of the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS), a Web-based coastal mapping tool that can be used to search, display, and query spatial data pertaining to the Massachusetts coastal zone. All the information used to create the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan has been incorporated, including all the data layers featured in the final plan maps. Users can interactively view various data layers (e.g., tide gauge stations, marine protected areas, public access points, eelgrass beds, etc.) over a backdrop of aerial photographs, political boundaries, natural resources, human uses, bathymetry, or other data. For more details about the new MORIS, go to

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New Report on Stakeholder Participation in CMSP Available from Nicholas Institute

February 11, 2011 – Over the past two years, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, in collaboration with Duke University’s Center for Marine Conservation and the Meridian Institute, convened a series of meetings to discuss coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) with a variety of ocean stakeholders. The report resulting from that process is now available at

Departments of Energy and Interior Unveil Offshore Wind Energy Strategic Plan

February 7, 2011 – The U.S. Departments of Energy and Interior have released a coordinated strategic plan for offshore wind energy. The plan, A National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, and its related Smart from the Start initiative are expected to be valuable to regional coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) processes. For example, the Mid-Atlantic regional environmental assessment for wind energy areas is being developed using many of the principles of CMSP, such as comprehensive interagency coordination, and will provide information useful for future decision-making about wind power development. For more information, read the press release at

Joint Marine Spatial Planning Tested for Swedish-Finnish Waters

February 2011 – Harmonized coastal and marine spatial planning across the Swedish-Finnish marine border will be tested in a northern sub-basin of the Baltic Sea. The PLAN BOTHNIA project, led by the Helsinki Commission, will involve regional and national administrations in Sweden and Finland drafting a joint pilot plan for the Bothnian Sea basin. This European Union–funded initiative will run through summer 2012. For more information, visit the project website at

Commission on Arctic Climate Change Releases Recommendations

January 26, 2011 The Aspen Institute has released the final report and recommendations of its Commission on Arctic Climate Change. The report, The Shared Future, includes a chapter on ecosystem-based management and coastal and marine spatial planning, including recommendations about planning needs in the Arctic. The commission’s report and recommendations stress the high level of international cooperation needed to manage the Arctic marine environment, particularly in light of anticipated climate change impacts. Part 2 of the report is a paper written by Charles Ehler entitled, “Marine Spatial Planning in the Arctic: A first step toward ecosystem-based management.” Read the entire report at olicy-work/energy-environment/our-policy-work/dialogue-commission-arctic-climate-change.

Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance Releases Final Action Plan

January 25, 2011 The Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance, led by the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, released a final action plan to address key environmental, economic, and cultural issues facing the region’s coastal and ocean areas. The action plan focuses on four priorities: healthy ecosystems, working waterfronts, clean coastal and ocean waters, and disaster-resilient communities. The action plan and additional information are available at

National Ocean Council Seeks Comments on Strategic Action Plans

January 24, 2011 The National Ocean Council is seeking public input on the development of strategic action plans for the nine priority objectives described in the report, Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, including the objective on coastal and marine spatial planning. Public comments will be accepted through April 29, 2011, and draft strategic action plans will be released in the summer of 2011. To learn more or submit comments, visit the National Ocean Council website:

Washington State Makes Recommendations on CMSP

January 14, 2011 – A report on coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), required by the Washington State legislature as part of SSB 6350, has been finalized. “Marine Spatial Planning in Washington: Final Report and Recommendations of the State Ocean Caucus to the Washington State Legislature” makes 21 recommendations for moving forward with CMSP. The document can be downloaded at

Oil Spill Commission Recognizes Value of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP)

January 11, 2011 – The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling has released its report to the president, titled “Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling.” Among the 33 recommendations for preventing similar incidents in the future, the commission gives a nod to CMSP. Recommendation E7 states in part: “The appropriate federal agencies, including EPA, Interior, and NOAA, and the Trustees for Natural Resources should better balance the myriad economic and environmental interests concentrated in the Gulf region going forward. This would include improved monitoring and increased use of sophisticated tools like coastal and marine spatial planning. . . . Coastal and marine spatial planning has the potential to improve overall efficiency and reduce conflicts among ocean users.” Read the entire report at

New NOAA Strategic Plan Includes Objective for CMSP

December 2010 – NOAA has released its Next Generation Strategic Plan, which includes four long-term goals: climate adaptation and mitigation, weather-ready nation, healthy oceans, and resilient coastal communities and economies. Under the resilient-communities goal, one objective is to advance “comprehensive ocean and coastal planning and management.” Read the entire plan at

NCEAS Releases Results from CMSP Workshop

December 2010 – The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) has released the report, “Top Priorities for the Science, Policy, and Practice of Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Results from a Workshop on Dec. 14-15, 2010.” The workshop brought together experts from academia, environmental nongovernment organizations, and government agencies to identify their top priorities for advancing CMSP over the next one to five years. Read the report at

European Countries Explore Cooperation through Maritime Spatial Planning

December 21, 2010 – The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark announced receipt of a grant from the European Union to pursue maritime spatial planning in the North Sea (MASPNOSE). The MASPNOSE project will stimulate national governments to join forces to resolve conflicts relating to marine spatial planning across each other’s borders at sea. Activities can vary from building windmill parks to planning navigation routes. For more information, visit

NOAA Administrator Named “Newsmaker of the Year” by Nature

December 19, 2010 – The most recent issue of the renowned British scientific journal Nature identifies the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, as “Newsmaker of the Year.” In explaining their selection, the editors state that “one of the biggest successes of Lubchenco's tenure so far has been the administration's new ocean policy, which Obama signed on July 19. A centerpiece of the policy is a strategy — long championed by Lubchenco — called coastal and marine spatial planning.” To read the rest of the story, go to:


New Report on Maritime Spatial Planning from the European Commission

December 17, 2010 – The European Commission has published a new report entitled ”Maritime Spatial Planning in the EU – Achievements and future development” which concludes that action is needed at the EU level to ensure that maritime spatial planning (known in the U.S. as coastal and marine spatial planning) is deployed in a coherent and effective way across all European sea basins. The report can be viewed at

Wind Energy Development off the Atlantic Coast Gets Boost

November 23, 2010 – A new initiative at the Department of the Interior (DOI) will facilitate the siting, leasing and construction of new wind energy projects off the Atlantic coast. The initiative will identify priority offshore areas for wind energy development and simplify the leasing process. Although DOI’s identification of new wind energy areas will occur in advance of broader regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts, the agency believes its assessments will be useful to the regional planning bodies. In response to DOI’s new initiative, as well as rapidly improving technology, Deepwater Wind has applied to build a 200-turbine, 1,000-megawatt project in Rhode Island Sound, almost three times larger than its previous proposal. The site selected comports with Rhode Island’s recently approved Special Area Management Plan (SAMP). For more:

European Environment Agency Report Supports Maritime Spatial Planning

November 28, 2010 – The latest assessment from the European Environment Agency, SOER 2010,provides an overview of the current state of Europe’s environment and its likely future state. The section on the marine and coastal environment includes several “key messages,” including Key Message 7: “An important future objective for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive will be to ensure that . . . growth is sustainable to achieve and then maintain ‘Good Environmental Status’. . . Moreover, it will be necessary to implement planning principles in line with the approaches of Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Maritime Spatial Planning.” The entire assessment can be reviewed at

New Online Access to the California Ocean Uses Atlas

November 2010 The National Marine Protected Areas Center, in collaboration with NOAA’s Special Projects Office, has launched a new tool to help visualize data from the California Ocean Uses Atlas, including spatial information for 27 different ocean activities occurring from California’s coastline to the limit of the exclusive economic zone. The data were collected through a series of workshops with ocean use experts held between October 2008 and July 2009. To explore the atlas, go to

Udall Foundation Receives Grant to Assist National Ocean Council

November 2010 – The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has provided a grant of $1,204,910 to the Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to support the design and potential pilot implementation of a bipartisan, inclusive, public engagement process for the National Ocean Council as it implements the new National Ocean Policy. The institute will produce recommendations for obtaining input from the public and a broad spectrum of ocean users. For more information, visit

National Ocean Council Holds First Meeting

November 9, 2010 – The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) convened the first meeting of the National Ocean Council in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. The meeting, attended by 25 cabinet secretaries and other senior officials from across the federal government, and co-chaired by OSTP Director John P. Holdren and CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley, focused on implementation of the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and Great Lakes, established by executive order on July 19, 2010. For more on the work of the National Ocean Council, visit

Presentation on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) in the Arctic

November 8, 2010 – Presentations have been posted from the Arctic Futures Symposium, hosted by the International Polar Foundation, the Aspen Institute, and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in October 2010. Of particular interest is a talk on CMSP in the Arctic by Charles Ehler, which can be viewed at

Maryland Draft Coastal Zone Assessment and Strategy Released

October 2010 – Maryland recently issued its Coastal Zone Enhancement Plan, Draft Assessment and Strategy, for 2011 to 2015. During this time frame, the Chesapeake and Coastal Program will focus Coastal Zone Management Act Section 309 work and funding on two strategies: coastal hazards and climate change adaptation planning, and comprehensive ocean and coastal planning. Public comments on the draft Assessment and Strategy document will be accepted from October 29 through November 29, 2010. Find the document at

Research Grants to Support Offshore Renewables and MSP

October 26, 2010 - The Department of Energy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced eight joint research awards totaling nearly $5 million to support the siting of offshore renewable energy facilities and assist with implementation of marine spatial planning. The complete list of awards and details of the research projects can be reviewed at

Rhode Island Finalizes Ocean Special Area Management Plan

October 22, 2010 – Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri held a press conference to celebrate the completion and adoption of the first-in-the-nation ocean special area management plan (SAMP). The Rhode Island Ocean SAMP study area includes approximately 1,467 square miles of portions of Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. The study area begins 500 feet from the coastline in state waters and includes all federal waters within the boundary. The state’s Coastal Resources Management Council will seek approval from NOAA for the SAMP to be adopted as part of the state’s coastal management plan and will request a geographical boundary expansion extending 30 miles off Rhode Island’s shores for federal consistency purposes.

Baltic Sea Groups Launch Joint Working Group on MSP

October 21, 2010 – Two Baltic Sea organizations have launched a joint working group on maritime spatial planning to further long-term sustainable management and planning for the Baltic Sea. The two groups are the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM), an intergovernmental organization of all nine Baltic Sea countries and the European Union, which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea―and Visions and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB), an intergovernmental forum for co-operation among ministers from Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation, and Sweden. The HELCOM-VASAB Working Group will enable coordination and integration of all MSP-related actions and projects in the Baltic Sea.

Duke University Provides Advice on MPAs and CMSP in the Gulf of Mexico

October 15, 2010 – Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Nicholas School of the Environment have released a report prepared for the national oil spill commission about how spatial management approaches might influence ecosystem health in the Gulf of Mexico, even in the face of potential human and natural disasters. More information can be found at

Proposed Changes to Rhode Island SAMP Released

September 29, 2010 – The Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) team has released two memos with suggested changes to the Ocean SAMP document in response to comments received from the public. To see these memos and many other materials related to the SAMP process, go to

South Atlantic States Form Alliance

September 27, 2010 – Four coastal states―North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida―have joined forces to form the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance, a voluntary effort led by officials from each state. The alliance released a draft plan to address common coastal and ocean challenges, including healthy ecosystems, working waterfronts, clean coastal and ocean waters, and disaster-resilient communities. Comments on the plan will be accepted until October 31. To learn more, visit

National Ocean Council Moving Forward

September 24, 2010 – The first meeting of National Ocean Council (NOC) deputies was held to discuss their responsibilities and review action materials needed to move the NOC process forward. The Deputy Committee, which includes 25 senior-level officials from federal agencies, departments, and White House offices, is charged with executing the national policy objectives. In addition, letters were sent to state and tribal officials requesting nominations for the 18-member Governance Coordinating Committee that will work with the NOC. Visit

CMSP Summer School Materials Available

September 24, 2010 – All the presentations from Geographic Technologies, Coastal Zone Management and Marine Spatial Planning, the GIslands 2010 International Summer School on Marine Spatial Planning, can now be downloaded at

Funding Available for Regional Ocean Partnerships

September 2010 – NOAA is currently soliciting proposals for competitive funding for regional ocean partnerships that include regional coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) efforts. The Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program will support two categories of activities: 1) programs that help achieve priorities identified by regional partnerships, while also advancing CMSP; and 2) operation of existing regional ocean partnerships or start-up costs in regions beginning new partnerships. Proposals must be received by December 10, 2010, for projects that begin no later than October 1, 2011. For more information, visit

Massachusetts Ocean Partnership Launches Website on Ocean Planning

September 2010 – The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership (MOP) has launched a comprehensive new website dedicated to ocean management in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with particular emphasis on marine spatial planning. The website documents the recent Massachusetts planning process and includes a host of useful documents and links. To visit the new site, go to

Washington State Ocean Caucus Releases Draft CMSP Report

September 3, 2010 – The Washington State Ocean Caucus has released a draft report on CMSP, which is now available for comment: “Marine Spatial Planning in Washington: Recommendations of the State Ocean Caucus to the Washington State Legislature.” This report responds to requirements in a state law passed in March 2010, which tasked the Ocean Caucus with providing recommendations about marine spatial planning. Comments must be received by October 5, 2010, at 5 p.m. For more information about the legislation and to read or comment on the report, go to

Interview: “How Marine Spatial Planning Can Lower Costs for Management and Industry

August 14, 2010 – The latest issue of the Marine Ecosystems and Management newsletter includes an interview on marine spatial planning with Tim Norman of The Crown Estate. The Crown Estate manages a diverse portfolio of property on behalf of the UK and has embraced the concept of marine spatial planning. The property it manages ranges from offices and shops in the heart of London to farmland and forests, and to the UK’s foreshore and seabed. To read the interview, go to

International Fishers Forum Issues Declaration in Support of Marine Spatial Planning

August 10, 2010 – The Fifth International Fishers Forum, held in Taipei, Taiwan, concluded with approximately 300 participants from fishing industries, governments, academia, and conservation organizations declaring support for a 12-point plan of action on marine spatial planning and bycatch mitigation. The “Taipei Declaration” can be viewed at