DEWEY BEACH (Jan. 14, 2016) – DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs is hosting the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) forum on scientific data that will be used to develop an Ocean Action Plan (OAP) for the region.
The forum will be held 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the Hyatt Place, 1301 Coastal Highway in Dewey Beach. The public and stakeholders are invited to attend.
“Many important activities take place off the coast of Delaware. We need to ensure there is enough space for today’s important activities such as maritime transportation, fishing, beach nourishment projects, national security needs and recreation, as well as space for future activities such as renewable energy – all while keeping our ocean healthy,” said Sarah W. Cooksey, administrator of Delaware Coastal Programs.
Delaware is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). Established in 2009 by the Governors of Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, MARCO provides a forum for the coastal Mid-Atlantic states to collaborate on shared regional priorities related to marine habitats, renewable offshore energy, climate change adaptation, and ocean water quality.
MARCO has supported three projects that will help guide the decisions and actions for the Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The projects and data to be presented include Marine Ecological Data (MDAT), Human Use Data (HUDs) and the Regional Ocean Assessment (ROA).
The MDAT team analyzed available ecological spatial data to highlight ecologically rich areas; the HUDs team developed a multiuse overlay to display human-use intensity spatially over the ocean region; and the ROA team developed written content that parallels the research data and will debut an interactive web platform for information display.
The culmination of research, coordination and planning through these contracted projects will develop the content of the Mid-Atlantic OAP.
An agenda for the forum can be found on the MARCO website. After each presentation there will be a brief question and answer period. Space is limited. Attendees are required to register by Jan. 21 at: http://midatlanticocean.org/event/public-workshop-on-ocean-planning-data-products/
President Obama’s National Ocean Policy mandated that each U.S. ocean and coastal region develop a plan to guide ocean use, manage resources, and utilize the principles of marine spatial planning for increased coordination across all levels of government.
In the Mid-Atlantic region the plan is referred to as the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The plan is being developed by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (state, federal, tribal, and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council partners) with the support of MARCO. Additional information about the Regional Planning Body may be found at http://www.boem.gov/Mid-Atlantic-Regional-Planning-Body/.
The OAP supports management coordination and research of two main goals – healthy ocean ecosystems and sustainable ocean uses. The objective of the healthy ocean ecosystem goal is to promote ocean ecosystem health, functionality, and integrity through conservation, protection, enhancement, and restoration. Sustainable ocean uses requires planning and providing for existing and emerging ocean uses in a sustainable manner that minimizes conflicts, improves effectiveness and regulatory predictability, and supports economic growth.
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