Ocean Action Plan (Draft) for Mid-Atlantic Released July 5, 2016; Public Listening Session in Virginia Beach July 12, and in Five Other Locations July 14 – July 27

On July 5, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Board released the Draft Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan, the first plan of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The plan is open for a 60-day public comment period, through September 6, 2016.  The plan is available online at http://www.boem.gov/Ocean-Action-Plan/; see also Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, Draft Ocean Action Plan Now Available, 7/5/12.  A series of public listening sessions will be held from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. EDT as follows:

July 12 – Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach, Va.

July 14 – Pozycki Hall, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J.

July 19 – Ocean Pines Library, Berlin, Md.

July 20 – Virden Retreat Center, University of Delaware, Lewes, Del.

July 27 – Babylon Student Center, Selden Community College, Selden, N.Y.

According to the Executive Summary of the plan:
“In the Mid-Atlantic region, ocean planning creates a forum for Federal agencies, Mid-Atlantic States, federally recognized Tribes, and the MAFMC to collaborate through the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB).  The purposes of the RPB are [the following]:
*improve our understanding of how the ocean waters and resources of the Mid-Atlantic region are being used, managed, and conserved;
*provide a forum for identifying coordinated actions to address regionally-important ocean management challenges and opportunities; and
*engage stakeholders and regional partners to ensure that the full breadth of perspectives is accounted for in ocean planning.

“Starting in 2013, the RPB designed and carried out a regional ocean planning process in collaboration with the general public, stakeholders, and partners such as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO).  The main product of this collaborative effort is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan (Plan). The Plan will be the first of its kind in this region.”

Following are some news media items about the plan:
Mid-Atlantic ocean policy will shape future business environment, Bloomberg Government, 7/11/16.
Ocean plan is first of its kind for Virginia, other mid-Atlantic states, Virginian-Pilot, 7/8/16.
First Mid-Atlantic Ocean Management Plan set to be released, WCVE Radio Richmond, 6/29/16.

See also the description of the draft plan on pages 10-14 of the Spring 2016 issue of Virginia Coastal Zone Management, from the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/CoastalZoneManagement/ReportsPublications/VACZMMagazine.aspx.

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