WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. ― Monmouth University will serve as New Jersey’s site for the unveiling of a historic draft Ocean Action Plan for the Mid-Atlantic region on July 14.
The draft Plan is the product of nearly three years of deliberations and stakeholder outreach by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB), a group composed of federal agencies, tribal entities, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Plan will recommend strategies and actions for improved coordination among those entities with the goal of safeguarding the region’s coastal ecosystems, cultures and economies.
In 2010, President Obama established a National Ocean Policy (NOP) which called for greater collaboration among states and regional authorities on marine issues and supported the formation of regional planning bodies to develop ocean plans for their respective territories by the end of 2016. The MidA RPB is one of eight such groups nationally to have been formed for this purpose.
“The ocean is getting busier all the time with activities such as beach recreation, fishing, shipping, sand extraction and boating,” Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Director Tony MacDonald said. “In the coming years we’ll see the introduction of offshore wind farms and much larger cargo vessels as a result of the Panama Canal’s expansion. A regional planning approach of this kind is necessary to avoid conflicts between these activities and keep the ocean safe and clean for all users.”
The open house will provide participants an opportunity to learn about the Plan, ask questions and provide feedback that will be considered for a final document that is submitted to the federal government for adoption in the fall.
The event will be hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Council on the Ocean (MARCO), an organization formed by the governors of the five coastal states represented by the MidA RPB. The UCI has partnered closely with MARCO on several projects, most notably the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (portal.midatlanticocean.org), an interactive ocean mapping and information site that will serve as one of the core data sources for the Plan.
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the second floor of Pozycki Hall. Parking is recommended in lots 13, 14 or 15. Go to http://bit.ly/1OnQmUt for a campus map and driving directions.
The draft Plan will be posted online at http://www.boem.gov/MidA-New in early July. Additional public open houses will be held on July 12 in Virginia, July 19 in Maryland, July 20 in Delaware and July 27 in New York. A public webinar for the Plan will be held on July 11. Further details on those events can be found at www.midatlanticocean.org.