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University of Rhode Island — Marine Affairs
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Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Marine spatial planning map for Right Whale sightings and transportation channels near Stellwagen Bank, off the Massachusetts coast.

On June 12, 2009, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. On July 19, 2010, the Task Force released a set of final recommendations that set a new direction for improved stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The recommendations provide: (1) our nation's first national ocean policy; (2) a strengthened governance structure to provide sustained, high-level, and coordinated attention to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes issues; (3) a targeted implementation strategy that identifies and prioritizes nine categories of action that the United States should pursue; and (4) a framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning.

What is Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning?

The Ocean Policy Task Force defines coastal and marine spatial planning as 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. Coastal and marine spatial planning 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.

Coastal and marine spatial planning is a rapidly evolving and dynamic topic area in which strong partnerships are essential. Both Rhode Island and Massachusetts have recently undertaken large and successful coastal and marine spatial planning efforts. See below for related links.

Useful Links

Check out some of the following links to more about this critical issue.