The Northeast Regional Planning Body today submitted its final Ocean Plan to the National Ocean Council (NOC) for review and approval. The NOC is required to review the final Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for at least 30 days in order to officially approve the document. This means we could see an approved Northeast Ocean Plan as early as November 18th!
Following NOC approval in the end of 2016, the Northeast Regional Planning Body (NERPB) will convene a ceremonial public meeting to officially sign a decision document and adopt the Plan. This will kick off the implementation phase and advance some of the vital work in progress, such as identifying important ecological areas and considering more detailed approaches for ecosystem-based management. Of note, the Northeast Regional Data Portal has also been updated to reflect the final ocean plan (check out the recreation data we provided, and learn more about the study and its benefits!).
Back in September, the NERPB released a summary document to categorize public comments and explain how and if the Body addressed the public's concerns in the final iteration of the Plan. The Surfrider Foundation is pleased to announce that pursuant to the request we made during the final public comment period and have been championing for the last three years - for the Plan to highlight ocean recreation as the most ubiquitous use of the ocean and the primary economic driver it is for New England's ocean economy - ocean recreation is included in the final version of the Plan! This is cause for celebration for beach goers, surfers and everyone who lives near the coast and wants to have a say in what the future of our coastal communities and the ocean will be. Tribal nations as well as federal and state decision-makers will now adopt new best practices that account for the importance of recreation to the sustainability of the ocean, helping us identify and protect recreational areas and the health of ocean and coastal ecosystems, before they're threatened.
Join the Surfrider Foundation's Northeast Regional Ocean Planning email list for updates and notification of engagement opportunities as the process moves forth.
Not sure what ocean planning is and what's happening regionally along the Atlantic seaboard? Watch this short film to learn more: