NE Regional Planning Body Meeting News

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Sustaining New England’s Ocean Heritage

The health of the ocean and the livelihoods that depend on it are vitally important to New England residents, visitors, and businesses. In 2009, ocean-related economic activity totaled over $11 billion in GDP for the region, providing over 190,000 jobs. People in New England greatly value this traditional ocean-related heritage and are seeking basic needs from the ocean—food, energy, conservation, and others—in new and increasingly complex ways. Simultaneously, there is much to learn about the ocean ecosystem, its natural resources, and existing uses that depend on those resources such as fishing, shipping, and recreation. Better scientific information and a better understanding of current and potential human uses of the ocean will enable New England to achieve its economic goals and ensure healthy oceans.

Building on Current Momentum

In New England, ocean planning activities and partnerships have been underway for several years at local, state and regional scales. These are excellent models to help guide a regional ocean planning effort through the policies, public process and products that now exist and continue to evolve. Among other partners, there is much work that the Northeast Regional Ocean Council’s Ocean Planning Committee has begun that lays the foundation for future planning needs.

Formation of the NE Regional Planning Body

A Presidential Executive Order signed in July 2010, which established a National Ocean Policy to better manage our oceans and coasts, gives further momentum to these efforts. This policy encourages a comprehensive, adaptive, integrated, ecosystem-based, and transparent spatial planning process, based on sound science, for analyzing current and anticipated uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. The approach will be executed through the formation of Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) in nine regions of the U.S., which will develop regional ocean products or a plan that is driven by specific needs of the geography and that builds on existing efforts. Members of the Northeast RPB include federal, tribal, state, and New England Fishery Management Council representatives, and its leadership is shared by federal, state, and tribal co-leads. The Northeast RPB has begun its work (see additional information on its meetings page).

NROC’s Ocean Planning Committee is an important resource for and contributor to the Northeast RPB’s work.

Contacts:

Betsy Nicholson, NOAA and RPB Federal Co-lead
Phone: 617-869-9148
Email: betsy.nicholson@noaa.gov

Grover Fugate, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and RPB State Co-lead
Phone: 401-783-7112
Email: gfugate@crmc.ri.gov

Richard Getchell, Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians and RPB Tribal Co-lead
Phone: 207-764-1972
Email: rgetchell@allnationsconsulting.us

Katie Lund, RPB Executive Secretary
Phone: 860-460-7120
Email: klund@northeastoceancouncil.org