Signing National Ocean Policy
Joe Vietri USACE, Kismet resident, is all excited: Itís
National Oceans Month which he considers a big deal!
Americans want clean beaches, abundant seafood and wildlife, a robust
economy and jobs and recreational opportunities from our ocean, coasts and the Great Lakes areas. The National Ocean
Policy will effect everything from fishing to development and the environmentThe National Policy
puts us on a path to achieving this†
Chief, Planning & Policy;
Director, National Planning Center for
Coastal and Storm Damage
US Army Corps of Engineers
North Atlantic Division
It is the Policy of the United States
- Protect, maintain, and restore the health and
biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great
Lakes ecosystems and resources;
- Improve the resiliency of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems, communities, and economies;
- Bolster the conservation and sustainable uses of
land in ways that will improve the health of ocean, coastal, and Great
- Use the best available science and knowledge to
inform decisions affecting the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes, and
enhance humanityís capacity to understand, respond, and adapt to a
changing global environment;
- Support sustainable, safe, secure, and productive
access to, and uses of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great
- Respect and preserve our Nationís maritime heritage,
including our social, cultural, recreational, and historical values;
- Exercise rights and jurisdiction and perform duties
in accordance with applicable international law, including respect for and
preservation of navigational rights and freedoms, which are essential for
the global economy and international peace and security;
- Increase scientific understanding of ocean, coastal,
and Great Lakes ecosystems as part of the global interconnected systems of
air, land, ice, and water, including their relationships to humans and
- Improve our understanding and awareness of changing
environmental conditions, trends, and their causes, and of human
activities taking place in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters; and
- Foster a public understanding of the value of the
ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes to
build a foundation for improved stewardship
About the National Ocean Council
The National Ocean Council is a dual Principal- and
Deputy- level committee. Membership of the NOC initially includes the
following, with additional officers designated by the Co-Chairs as needed:
- The Secretaries
of: State, Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services,
Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security
- The Attorney
Administrators of: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
- The Chairs of:
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC), and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- The Directors of:
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), National Intelligence, the
Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Science
- The Assistants
to: the President for National Security Affairs, Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism, Domestic Policy, Economic Policy, and Energy and Climate
- An employee of
the United States
designated by the Vice President
- The Under
Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere (NOAA Administrator)
The Steering Committee is the key forum for ensuring
integration and coordination on priority areas within the NOC. It will be
a high-level, streamlined body of five members from OSTP, CEQ, one Chair each
of the Ocean Resource Management Interagency Policy Committee (ORM-IPC) and
Ocean Science and Technology Interagency Policy Committee (OST-IPC), and the
Director of the NOC Staff.
Management Interagency Policy Committee
The ORM-IPC will function as the ocean resource management body of the NOC,
with an emphasis on ensuring the interagency implementation of the National Policy,
national priority objectives, and other priorities defined or approved by the
NOC. Chairs of the ORM-IPC will be designated by the NOC and the Committee will
consist of Deputy Assistant Secretaries or comparable representatives, or
appropriate senior-level representatives with decision-making authority from
departments, agencies and offices represented on the NOC.
Ocean Science and
Technology Interagency Policy Committee (OST-IPC)
The OST-IPC will function as the ocean science and
technology body of the NOC, with an emphasis on ensuring the interagency
implementation of the National Policy, national priority objectives, and other
priorities for science and technology objectives. Chairs of the OST-IPC
will be appointed through the National Science and Technology Council
procedures in consultation with the NOC, and the Committee will consist of
Deputy Assistant Secretaries or comparable representatives, or appropriate
senior-level representatives with decision-making authority from departments,
agencies, and offices represented on the NOC.
On February 23, 2011, the National
Ocean Council established
the Governance Coordinating Committee (GCC), in consultation with appropriate
state, tribal, and local governments and organizations, to serve as a key
coordinating body on inter-jurisdictional ocean policy issues. The GCC
consists of 18 members from states, Federally
recognized tribes, and local governments. Members include:
- One state
representative each from the Great Lakes Region, Gulf
of Mexico Region, Mid-Atlantic
Region, Northeast Region, South Atlantic
Region, and West Coast Region
- One state
representative each from Alaska, the Pacific Islands,
and the Caribbean
- Two at-large
representatives from inland States
- One state
- Three at-large
- Three local
government representatives from coastal states (i.e., two mayors and one
GCC members will serve staggered one to two-year terms. The current
GCC members are:
Brian Baird, California (West Coast Region)
Assistant Secretary for Ocean and Coastal Policy, California Natural Resources
Kathleen Leyden, Maine (Northeast Region)
Director of Maine's
Coastal Zone Management Program
David Naftzger, Illinois (Great Lakes Region)
Executive Director, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources
Lelei Peau, American Samoa (Pacific
Deputy Director, Department of Commerce for the American Samoa Government
Mark Robbins, Alaska
Associate Director, Office of the Governor
Paige Rothenberger, U.S. Virgin Islands
Coral Reef Initiative Coordinator, USVI Dept. of Planning & Natural
George Stafford, New York (Mid-Atlantic Region)
Deputy Secretary of State
Bill Walker, Mississippi (Gulf of
Chair of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Management Team and Executive Director of
the MS Department of Marine Resources
Steve Crawford, Maine (Tribal Representative)
Environmental Director, Passamaquoddy Tribe of Pleasant Point, ME
Jacque Hostler, California (Tribal
Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Transportation and Land-Use
Department, Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria
Micah McCarty, Washington State
Tribal Chairman & Marine Policy & Fisheries Advisor, Makah Tribal
Kristin Jacobs, Florida
(Local Government Representative)
- District 2, Broward County,
Geraldine Knatz, California
(Local Government Representative)
Executive Director, Port
of Los Angeles
Joan Murphy, Illinois
(Local Government Representative)
Cook County Commissioner, IL, 6th District
Kevin Ranker, Washington State
(State Legislative Representative)
Washington State Senator
Additional GCC members will be announced as they are selected. Click here
to read the press release announcing the establishment of the GCC.
Share Your Ideas with
the National Ocean Council at a Listening Session Near You
on May 26, 2011 at 03:06 PM EDT
Experts from the National Ocean Councilís 27 Federal agencies and offices have
been busy drafting strategic action
plans to achieve nine national priority objectives that address some
of the most pressing challenges facing our ocean, coasts, and Great
Lakes. Having already received your
initial comments before we got started, weíd now like to hear from you
againóthis time with your thoughts on the strategic action plan outlines weíve
developed. Thatís why weíre hosting a dozen Regional Listening Sessions at this
still-early stage of the drafting process. The strategic action plan
outlines will be released in early June for a 30-day public comment period
during which you will have the chance to chime in at one of the 12 Regional
Listening Sessions or via the Web through a public comment portal.
Here are the dates and locations for the listening sessions:
- DATE, LOCATION, VENUE
- June 9, 6:00pm-8:30pm
Womenís Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
- June 9, 4:00pm-9:00pm
Barrow, AK, North Slope Borough
- June 10, 4:00pm-9:00pm
Anchorage, AK, Wilda
Marston Theatre, Z. J. Loussac Library
- June 13, 1:00pm-5:00pm
- June 15, 5:00pm-9:00pm
University of North Florida
- June 16, 1:00pm-4:00pm
The Neal Blaisdell Center
- June 27, 11:30am-3:00pm
Exeter, NH, Exeter High School
- June 27, 5:00pm-8:30pm
Galveston, TX, Galveston Convention Center
- June 27, 8:30am-5:00pm
Ocean Shores, WA,
Quinault Beach Resort and
- June 30, 1:00pm-5:00pm
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, TBD
- June 30, 10:00am-5:00pm
West Long Branch, NJ,
- July 1, Time TBD
Portland, OR, Portland State
Identifying the critical actions our national stewardship requires will
take cooperation across all levels of government and stakeholder communities.
Stay tuned for more information on how to comment on these outlines, and we
hope to see you at one of the listening sessions!
Andy Lipsky is an Ocean Policy Advisor
at the National Ocean Council
Strategic Action Plans
The National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes prioritizes nine action areas to address some
of the most pressing challenges facing these precious resources. The Nation Ocean
Council will prepare strategic action plans for each of these priority
Thank you to all who provided comments on the development of strategic
action plans for National
Ocean Policy's nine
national priority objectives. The National
interagency writing teams will make use of your input as they draft these
In early June, strategic action plan full-content outlines will be released
for public review. These outlines will represent the initial thoughts of
the interagency writing teams on actions needed to move forward in addressing
the priority objectives.
Please check back for notices of other opportunities to get involved in the
implementation of our Nationís first comprehensive Ocean Policy. We look
forward to your continued participation and feedback.
to read comments on the Strategic Action Plans.
The national priority
Management: Adopt ecosystem-based management as a
foundational principle for the comprehensive management of the ocean, our
coasts, and the Great Lakes.
2. Coastal and
Marine Spatial Planning: Implement comprehensive, integrated,
ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States.
Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase knowledge
to continually inform and improve management and policy decisions and the
capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better educate the public through
formal and informal programs about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
4. Coordinate and
Support: Better coordinate and support Federal, State,
tribal, local, and regional management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Improve coordination and integration across
the Federal Government and, as appropriate, engage with the international
5. Resiliency and
Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Strengthen
resiliency of coastal communities and marine and Great
Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate change
impacts and ocean acidification.
Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and
implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that is
science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the Federal,
State, tribal, local, and regional levels.
7. Water Quality
and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water quality
in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes
by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land.
Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental
stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and
adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental
9. Ocean, Coastal,
and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping, and Infrastructure:
Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean
observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and
mapping capabilities into a national system and integrate that system into
international observation efforts
The implementation strategy identifies priority objectives that our Nation
will pursue to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean,
our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
Nine National Priority Objectives
- Ecosystem-Based Management: Adopt
ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for comprehensive
management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great
- Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Implement
comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem based coastal and marine spatial
planning and management in the United States.
- Inform Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase
knowledge to continually inform and improve management and policy
decisions and the capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better
educate the public through formal and informal programs about the ocean,
our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
- Coordinate and Support: Better coordinate
and support Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional management of the
ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
Improve coordination and integration across the Federal Government and, as
appropriate, engage with the international community.
- Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and
Ocean Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and
marine and Great Lakes environments and
their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean
- Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and
implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that
is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the
Federal, state, tribal, local and regional levels.
- Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water
quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great
Lakes by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on
- Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address
environmental stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean
and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other
- Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations,
Mapping, and Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection
platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national
system, and integrate that system into international observation efforts.
of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does the
Presidentís Executive Order do?
The Executive Order establishes for the first time a comprehensive,
integrated National Policy for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and
the Great Lakes. It sets our Nation on a
new path toward comprehensive planning for their preservation and sustainable
use. It also creates a new National
Ocean Council to provide sustained,
high-level, and coordinated attention to ocean, coastal, and Great
Lakes issues and to focus on actions to advance the National
The Executive Order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean
Policy Task Force (Final Recommedations) and directs Federal agencies to
implement them under the guidance of the National Ocean
Q: Does the National
Policy constitute new regulations or restrictions?
The National Policy outlines the use of existing authority to strengthen
ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes
stewardship. It aims to improve the coordination of ocean and coastal
management efforts at all levels of government, restore the health of these
resources, enhance the ocean and coastal economies, and promote sustainable
uses and access.
The National Policy does not establish any new regulations or restrict any
ocean uses or activities. It does not require new legislation in order to be
implemented and does not supersede or alter any agency or departmentís existing
Q: What will the
National Policy mean for the American public?
Americans want clean beaches, abundant seafood and wildlife, a robust economy
and jobs and recreational opportunities from our ocean, coasts and the Great Lakes areas. The National Policy puts us on a
path to achieving this and will significantly advance our response to the
long-term challenges and impacts of climate and environmental changes and
non-sustainable use. The actions will also further enhance the many vital
benefits our Nation can derive from the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
The Final Recommendations do not restrict or regulate any use or
activity. Rather, they lay out a multi-year process and begin a
conversation with the American public and stakeholders about how the Nation can
advance its environmental and economic interests through the growth of
sustainable and productive ocean uses, and the preservation and restoration of
these ecosystems. By providing opportunities for robust stakeholder and
public engagement during implementation of the National Policy and the development
of coastal and marine spatial planning, the American public will be able to
shape the future of their ocean, coasts and Great Lakes.
Q: How would the new National Ocean Council and National Policy relate
to the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf or improve the response by the
Federal Government to such disasters?
The Ocean Policy Task Force formed in June 2009, at the Presidentís
request. The result is that the United
States will have, for the first time, a national policy
aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.
The National Ocean
Policy is intended to help the United States
think comprehensively about our ocean, coastal and Great
Lakes resources, and to make informed management decisions.
The Deepwater Horizon spill is a demonstration of how much we rely on healthy
and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems in our daily lives. A
comprehensive, integrated, science-based national ocean policy is essential to
helping us sustainably manage these resources.
Q: How is the
Administration going to fund the National
Ocean Council and the
implementation of the National Policy?
The Presidentís Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Request contains additional funding
to advance priority activities identified in these recommendations, including
coastal and marine spatial planning and geospatial modernization ($12 million),
regional ocean partnership grants ($20 million), and integrated ecosystem
assessments ($5 million).
The FY2011 Budget Request also includes investment across many Federal
agencies for activities that support these recommendations, including: habitat
restoration, water quality improvement, port and coastal security, improvements
in marine transportation safety and efficiency, coastal and estuarine land
protection, research and development of ocean sensor technology, catch-share
based fisheries management, environmental tools to support resilient coastal
communities, and ocean acidification research.
The Administration is confident that making these investments will advance
the economic interests of the United
States and improve efficiencies across the
Q: What did the Task
Force gain through its public engagement process? Were there common themes?
The public meetings, roundtables, and website showcased a strong desire and
enthusiasm among participants for a National Policy that provides clarity and
direction for how the Nation will better care for the ocean, our coasts, and
the Great Lakes.
Diverse interests were represented through the public engagement
process. Several key themes emerged and were incorporated into the Final
Recommendations, including: the importance of science-based decision
making; support for improved transparency and public participation; avoiding
new layers of bureaucracy and unnecessary costs; and support for ensuring that
policies are adequately funded.
Q: What is
coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP)?
As defined in the Final Recommendations:
"CMSP is a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, and transparent
spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and
anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. CMSP
identifies areas most suitable for various types or classes of activities in
order to reduce conflicts among uses, reduce environmental impacts, facilitate
compatible uses, and preserve critical ecosystem services to meet economic,
environmental, security, and social objectives. In practical terms, CMSP
provides a public policy process to better determine how the ocean, coasts, and
Great Lakes are sustainably used and protected
now and for future generations." (page 41)
Q: What is the
Framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning?
The framework for Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) is a new,
integrated and proactive approach to better determine how the ocean, coasts,
and Great Lakes are sustainably used and protected now and in the future.
It moves us away from the current sector-by-sector, statute by statute approach
toward a management that can properly account for cumulative effects, sustain
multiple ecosystem services, and explicitly evaluate the tradeoffs associated
with proposed alternative uses.
The framework defines national goals and principles for CMSP and offers a
roadmap for comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based planning that will
address conservation, economic activity, national and homeland security, user
conflict, and sustainable use.
Q: Does the
National Policy zone or restrict uses, such as recreational fishing, or curtail
The National Policy is not a map drawing exercise and does not contain a
zoning plan or establish any restrictions on activities, nor does it restrict
access. Rather, the framework for CMSP describes a process for developing
and implementing coastal and marine spatial planning in the United States.
CMSP is a multi-year process for the development of coastal and marine
spatial plans (CMS Plans) that will include extensive stakeholder and public
participation. The CMSP process will enable improved coordination with
the conservation activities of recreational users, who have a long history of
actively participating in the stewardship of these resources.
Management decisions will be made under existing statutory authority to
promote cross-sector, compatible uses of ocean, coastal,
and Great Lakes resources in a sustainable
manner. This will help ensure healthier oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, to the benefit of all recreational
activities and the communities and economies that rely on them.
Q: Why do we
need coastal and marine spatial planning?
Americaís rich and productive
coastal regions and waters support tens of millions of jobs and account for
trillions of dollars of the national economy. They also host a growing
number of commercial, recreational, scientific, energy, and security
activities, and provide a wealth of natural resources and ecological
benefits. Human uses of the ocean are expanding at a rate that challenges
our ability to manage significant and often competing demands.
We need a more integrated, comprehensive, ecosystem-based, flexible, and
proactive approach to planning and managing uses and activities. Without
this, we risk more user conflicts, increased costs and delays from planning and
regulatory inefficiencies, and the potential loss of critical economic,
ecosystem, social, and cultural services for present and future generations.
Q: Who will be
in charge of CMSP?
The National Ocean Council will facilitate the
regional development and implementation of CMSP. Regional CMS Plans
will be developed outside of Washington
D.C., by regional planning bodies
consisting of Federal, State, tribal, and other representatives.
Q: How will the
Administration and National
Ocean Council implement a
transparent and comprehensive public participation process in developing
strategies for the National Priority Objectives and for Coastal and Marine
Robust public and stakeholder engagement is essential to the success of a
CMSP process. Including a broad range of interests throughout the
planning and implementation of CMSP is necessary to strengthen understanding of
challenges and opportunities, and will better inform the process and its
As the National
Ocean Council (NOC)
develops and revises strategic action plans for the priority objectives, it
will ensure substantial opportunity for public participation. The NOC
will reach out to these interested parties through its Governance Coordinating
Committee comprised of state, tribal, and local government representatives, the
NOCís stakeholder advisory body, and by other means. Final plans,
revisions, and reports of how well plan performance measures are being met will
be made publicly available. In addition, a major responsibility of each
of the regional planning bodies established for coastal and marine spatial
planning will be to ensure strong public participation.
Q: How would
The framework for CMSP lays out a multi-year process for the flexible
development and implementation of CMSP, facilitated by the National Ocean
Council. Nine regional planning bodies (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South
Atlantic, Great Lakes, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, West Coast, Pacific Islands,
and Alaska/Arctic) will be established that include Federal, State, and tribal
representatives from each region.
Regional planning bodies will work together to develop CMS Plans for their
respective regions. In developing CMSP, the regional planning bodies will
need to incorporate certain essential elements, as described in the framework
(e.g., identify regional objectives; engage stakeholders and the public;
consult scientists and technical and other experts; analyze data, uses,
services, and impacts).
Q: Will CMSP
require Congressional authorization or provide new authorities?
CMSP will be developed and implemented under existing authorities.
CMSP will not vest the National Ocean Council or regional planning bodies with
new or independent legal authority to supersede existing State, Federal, or
Q: How will the
Framework for CMSP affect laws such as the Coastal Zone Management Act, the
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act?
CMSP will build upon and significantly improve existing Federal, State,
tribal, local, and regional decision-making and planning processes. The
intent is to design a more comprehensive way to manage multiple uses of the
marine environment in a sustainable manner, minimize conflicts among uses and
with the environment, and facilitate compatible uses. CMSP is intended to
provide a stronger framework for application of existing laws and agency
authorities, but is not intended to supersede them.
Q: What happens
next? When and how does the National
Ocean Council become
The National Ocean Council will hold its first
meeting in late summer 2010 to begin the immediate work of implementing the
National Policy. After an initial period to organize itself and its
component advisory bodies, the National Ocean Councilís interagency policy
committees will develop strategic action plans for the priority objectives
within six to twelve months of the Councilís establishment. The National Ocean
Council will also begin to immediately implement the phased approach, as
outlined in the Final Recommendations, to develop and implement Coastal and
Marine Spatial Planning in the United
Q: How can local
citizens participate in the implementation of the National Policy?
There will be numerous opportunities for the public to participate in the
implementation of the National Policy, especially in regards to the development
of regional coastal and marine spatial plans. Stakeholder and public
participation will be sought through a variety of mechanisms that may include,
but are not limited to: workshops, town halls, public hearings, public comment
processes, and other appropriate means.