After Successful Fall Meeting, the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan Enters the Final Stretch

Nov 24, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Photo by Brian Skerry.

The North Atlantic is renowned for its incredible beauty, access to iconic keystone species, and rich maritime history. But today, New England’s coasts and ocean are busier than ever, with more stakeholders and a more diverse complexity of interests than ever before. A regional ocean plan will drastically reduce conflict amongst ocean users, break down the silos separating state and federal agencies, and assert a science-based approach to effective decision making.

Three years into New England’s ocean planning process – which was set in motion by President Obama’s 2010 executive order on ocean planning – the body charged with creating the plan is nearing a major milestone: the release of the first draft of the plan next March. The Northeast Regional Planning Body’s (NRPB) meeting in Portland, Maine, last week was the last before that draft is completed and presented to the public.

“You are creating history. You are the first…We want to help every step of the way.”

Appropriate words from Beth Kerttula, Director of the National Ocean Council, as she closed out the final moments of last week’s NRPB meeting. Expressing admiration and encouragement, Kerttula’s statement was more than just a supportive message from the White House – it was also a call for the planning body to be steadfast in the final push towards a finished draft of the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan.

New England was first out of the gate in forming a regional planning body. For the last three years, the NRPB, consisting of balanced state, federal, and tribal representation, has directed the cultivation of stakeholder input to be incorporated into the plan.

When the NRPB convened November 16-17, the atmosphere was the most productive yet. The public witnessed the progress of every chapter within the draft regional ocean plan, marking an encouraging shift from what were once merely ideas to substantial chapter outlines and near-complete spatial data.

As the NRPB begins to piece it all together, members discussed agency best practices, science and research priorities, implementation, and the long-term vision for the finished plan.

Agency best practices

Ensuring that state and federal entities are effectively communicating with each other is a cornerstone to effective ocean planning. To mitigate conflict, the best possible data should guide decision-making, and all impacted stakeholders should be engaged before, during, and after plan implementation.

Last week’s meeting made clearer what these agency best practices will achieve. Several suggestions were proposed by the NRPB, including the consistent use of the data portal – an online, publicly accessible marine spatial data library. Best practices will also ensure better coordination with federal and state entities and federally recognized tribes, and guide how to effectively implement the regulatory framework prescribed in the ocean management plan.

Science and research priorities

The regional ocean plan will be transformational in improving ocean management stewardship, and also as a plan itself: one that embraces long-term adaptability. The NRPB provided an update about future science and research priorities that will not only improve upon the already impressive collection of marine data and maps, but more specifically, target existing gaps in knowledge and understanding, ensuring effective implementation of the regional ocean plan into the future.

What’s next?

Three years into the planning process, the NRPB is now in the final stretch! By this time next year, New England will have a completed regional ocean plan, the first in the nation. Currently, the NRPB has their collective nose to the grindstone until March of next year, when the draft will be released. Stakeholders will then have the opportunity to provide feedback over a proposed 45-day comment period, when the draft plan is presented in public meetings in every New England state. At the end of the public comment period, the plan will be submitted to the National Ocean Council for its ultimate approval.

Come fall 2016, with each stage of the approval process completed, New England will begin implementing the plan – a culmination of countless hours of planning, stakeholder engagement efforts, and data development.

Conservation Law Foundation applauds the incredible work of the NRPB, the continued support of the National Ocean Council, and ocean stakeholders for their commitment and input.

It is always great to be first, but even better when it leads to improved ocean stewardship and long-term leadership for the stakeholders who depend upon the ocean’s health and vitality.

Faces of Ocean Planning | Opportunities to connect with the ocean at New England Science and Sailing

Nov 18, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

MaryHorrigan3Welcome to Faces of Ocean Planning, where we take you behind the scenes to feature people and organizations who use the ocean in a variety of ways and are engaged in the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan process. 

The clock reads 11am, and New England Science and Sailing, located in Stonington, CT, is quiet – though it won’t be that way for long. Soon, groups of kids and teenagers will be arriving back from their morning lessons for lunch.

New England Science and Sailing, or NESS for short, is a source of education and fun for the surrounding communities, providing programs year-round for everyone from preschoolers to adults.

Mary Horrigan, program director at NESS, gives us a tour of the facility, which she says provides a conduit for people young and old to feel connected with the ocean. “People are disconnected from this resource that’s right in their community,” she says. “One of our goals is to get people comfortable with being in the water.”

And with more people comfortable in the water, the more likely they are to understand and respect the ocean and what’s happening within it.

From adventure sports, to marine science, power boating, to, of course, sailing, NESS offers something for everyone, and with that comes an opportunity for everyone to grasp ocean planning and management concepts.

Horrigan says that all of their programming starts with making sure attendees understand the imperative to “Respect everything in the area,” whether that means catching and releasing critters as part of learning about ecosystems, or respecting other ocean users in the area. And, when your neighbors include fishermen, recreational users, and the Navy, respecting other ocean users takes a fair amount of communication and collaboration.

Expanding on local planning success

P1030941NESS’ daily operations prove to be a salient metaphor for the importance of ocean planning on both a local and regional scale. Every day, Horrigan and her students balance their activities in concert with their neighbors large and small. Just as it takes an ample amount of effort by everyone at the local level to ensure that no two uses conflict with each other, a regional ocean management plan (like the one currently in development by the Northeast Regional Planning Body) will ensure the same for all who frequent New England’s working waterfronts, coasts, and ocean.

“We’re out there using the ocean, and we need access, especially in certain areas where we want to connect to certain ecosystems,” Horrigan says. “Right now we can access the coves, but what if the submarines want to go through there?”

She says NESS’s interest in ocean planning is to provide continued access to areas for education – and in doing so, they’ll create new generations of ocean users who will benefit from and be invested in ocean management for decades to come. “The children who go through our programs learn and feel proud of the ocean and where they’re from,” Horrigan says. “We want to provide more opportunities for that.”

Facilitating future success

New England’s regional ocean plan was driven by the National Ocean Policy executive order in 2010 and will be completed in 2016. Once implemented, the plan will help stakeholders to better collaborate, share information, and facilitate effective decision-making for the management of our ocean.

As NESS fosters a growing community of burgeoning young ocean lovers, ocean planning in the northeast will provide the framework through which such stewardship can thrive for years to come.

Hundreds show to comment on Marine National Monument proposal

Sep 16, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

CLF President Bradley Campbell addresses the crowd at the NOAA Town Hall meeting on Sept. 15, 2015

CLF President Bradley Campbell addresses the crowd at the NOAA Town Hall meeting on Sept. 15, 2015

Last night, more than 400 people attended a meeting at the Marriott in downtown Providence to discuss the possibility of a Marine National Monument in New England. Facilitated by NOAA, the meeting drew people from every corner of New England who are invested in gaining permanent protection for the Cashes Ledge Area and the New England Canyons and Seamounts.

Over the course of three hours, we heard from aquaria, fishermen, conservationists, scientists, faith leaders, business leaders, and concerned citizens. The majority of speakers, including many representing fishing interests, acknowledged the fragility and importance of the places being discussed.

Though most within the fishing industry opposed a Monument designation, many commented about the importance of keeping the Cashes Ledge area closed. The regional fishery management process is not perfect, but it is clear the New England Fishery Management Council recognizes the importance of Cashes Ledge. As one speaker noted, ultimately, we all share the same end goal: To ensure a healthy and sustainable ocean, with healthy habitats and healthy commercial fish populations.

Monument designation about more than fishing

And while there was agreement that these areas are in need of protection, some were opposed to the President using executive authority to designate an area as a Monument, citing it as an overreach of power. However, as another speaker noted, sometimes a place is of such importance that the only way to ensure it’s not lost is through a tool like the Antiquities Act.

Kelp Forest and Cod at Cashes Ledge; 70-miles off the coast of Maine

Photo by Brian Skerry

Cashes Ledge and the coral canyons and seamounts are two such places. And, in the end, commercial fishing isn’t the only human activity threatening their future. We need to safeguard these fragile seascapes from sand and gravel mining, oil digging, and other potentially destructive activities. A Monument designation will build on the existing protections for these invaluable ocean resources by the Fishery Management Council – and make them permanent.

Ultimately, it’s not the fishery management council’s duty or responsibility to preserve the scientifically important biodiversity at Cashes Ledge – nor should it be!

Conservation Law Foundation President Bradley Campbell, who joined the organization just last week, reiterated this point. “Even if the council is doing its job perfectly, it has no mandate to consider natural beauty, no mandate to consider scientific value, and no mandate to protect biodiversity or to protect jobs other than fishing jobs. So there comes a time when there are resources that are so exceptional, they’re outside the stove pipe of any given agency – and that’s what the Antiquities Act is there for.”

Regional Ocean Planning

Concerns about the Regional Ocean Planning process in New England were also brought to the podium, with some saying that a Monument designation undermines the ongoing ocean planning process. However, President Obama has publicly noted that ocean management and the designation of protected areas are concurrent priorities for his legacy. We at CLF are strongly committed to the regional ocean planning process, and are glad to have an Administration that recognizes the importance of both of these priorities.

Still Time to Make Your Voice Heard

Marine Monument protection for the Cashes Ledge Closed Area and the New England Canyons and Seamounts is within reach. Fortunately, NOAA has kept open the timeframe for public comments. Sign our petition here to let the Administration know why you support saving these ocean treasures for generations to come.


Northeast Regional Planning Body dives into development of ocean management plan

Jun 17, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

beach sand_shutterstock_smaller“Aspirational…inspirational…perspirational…” These were the words embraced and repeated often by members of the Northeast Regional Planning Body during a public planning session in Mystic, Connecticut, on June 3 and 4.

The Northeast Regional Planning Body was first convened in 2012, following President Obama’s 2010 Executive Order announcing the National Ocean Policy, which called for the development of regional ocean management plans nationwide. The goal: to create a uniquely New England ocean management plan. Growing pressures on our ocean resources will only continue to increase, and a plan will both unify New England states and guide decisions about how our oceans are used-including recreation, shipping, telecommunications, and renewable energy, for example. The Northern Atlantic has long been a precious resource for our region, and now is the time to ensure that it will continue to provide for generations to come.

Since 2012 the Northeast Regional Planning Body, an advisory council consisting of state and federal officials, tribal leaders, and other stakeholders, has met regularly to shape this landmark plan. This June’s meeting was the culmination of nearly three years of planning towards the development of an ocean management plan focused solely on New England.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, I was thrilled to witness the conversation make a marked shift from the “bird’s eye” planning perspective of the past three years towards a more “nuts and bolts” conversation, as the planning body focused on a threefold mission:

  • To synthesize years of planning and begin to determine exactly what the ocean management plan draft should look like;
  • To further specify goals for ecosystem-based management, which aims to strike a balance between protecting our oceanic habitats and marine life while also preserving human activities; and lastly,
  • To begin to consider the metrics that would ensure each goal’s successful implementation.

With these objectives in mind, the planning body reviewed an enormous collection of three-dimensional maps, which illustrated New England’s coastal trade routes; habitats for marine species, underwater grasses; and promising sites for offshore wind turbines.

The impressive swath of data further bolstered a lively discussion of the best ways to determine and define ecologically important areas, followed by a more focused conversation around identifying metrics for the implementation of each goal, which are necessary for a comprehensive and successful regional ocean management plan.

With draft deadline looming, energy builds

To say the least, reviewing such an immense amount of information sparked a lively discussion by the most engaged and animated Northeast Regional Planning Body yet. Each member came to the meeting with a looming date at the forefront of their collective mind: January 2016, the month in which the planning body is required to present a draft ocean plan for public comment.

Knowledge of the impending deadline had a rousing effect for the planning body, and several members spoke to the immense amount of work required to meet it. The call to “roll up shirt sleeves” was coupled with the desire to not fall short with a plan that will sit on a shelf, but that instead will set a new marine planning precedent — defined by tangible, clear goals, stakeholder input, and collective agency and state buy-in.

New England is closing in on its final year of planning for the Northeast Regional Ocean Management Plan. Two more meetings will occur in October and November ahead of the January deadline for a draft plan. The public will get the chance to comment on the draft in April 2016, with the final plan expected to be submitted to the National Ocean Council in June 2016.

For CLF, this latest meeting of the Regional Planning Body marks a critical milestone not only in the process of creating the plan but also for our decades of advocacy for smart, science-based management of our oceans. As an active participant in the development of the first state ocean plans in the country – in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – we’re excited to be a part of the development of this first regional ocean plan.

The Northeast Regional Ocean Management Plan will not only have a positive impact on our vital fisheries, habitats, and marine water quality, but also on the coastal communities that rely on the ocean for their recreation, economy, and way of life. Nearly three years of teamwork and collaboration have resulted in impressive progress, and CLF applauds the hard work and dedication of the Northeast Regional Planning Body. The finish line is approaching!

CLF will continue to be at the table during the planning process, and we will provide updates to you throughout. But better yet…join us at the next meeting!


Connecticut General Assembly Passes the “Blue Plan” Bill

Jun 8, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Sunset over Cashes Ledge

Hartford, Conn. – On the evening of May 28th, members of the Connecticut Senate unanimously passed Bill No. 6839, historic legislation that will usher in the creation and implementation of a “Blue Plan” for the Long Island Sound. The passage of Bill 6839 not only serves as a symbolic affirmation of Connecticut’s deep commitment to preserving and sustaining the Sound’s diverse ecosystems, fisheries, and water quality, but also the coastal communities that depend on the Sound as a source of income and identity, and the growing coastal economy that ultimately impacts every Connecticut resident. CLF applauds the Connecticut General Assembly for their regional leadership in estuary conservation.

Championed by Governor Dannel Malloy as part of his February legislative package, Bill 6839, An Act Concerning a Long Island Sound Blue Plan and Resource and Use Inventory, is en route to the governor’s desk for his final signature.

“Through smart legislation passed today, we’re making the future brighter tomorrow.  The Long Island Sound is a critical component to Connecticut’s economy and quality of life – millions of people rely on its resources.  By taking action now, we are planning for our long-term future, protecting our environmental resources while making economic smart decisions,” Governor Malloy said in a prepared statement.

The “Blue Plan Bill” will create a multi-disciplinary team of scientists, state and local officials, representatives from both commercial fisheries and marine industries, environmental advocacy organizations and other stakeholders, charged with drafting a resource and inventory plan no later than March, 2019. The planning process will be comprehensive and multifaceted: up to date analyses of the Long Island Sound’s ecosystem health, coastal economies, industries, tourism, commercial fisheries and aquaculture will be completed, and will be further bolstered by spatial analyses resulting from the completion of satellite and GIS mapping. Throughout the multi-year planning process, the advisory committee will be required to host several public meetings throughout Connecticut’s coastal region, where the public will be encouraged to offer commentary and input regarding the draft’s content and design.

Upon completion, the Blue Plan draft will be submitted for approval to the Connecticut General Assembly, and once formalized, will herald resounding and far-reaching benefits for both the Long Island Sound’s habitats, diverse wildlife, and the local communities that depend on the Sound’s improved vitality and sustained health. While today the Long Island Sound contributes billions of dollars to Connecticut’s economy, the Blue Plan represents the state’s investment in the future, ensuring that generations will be able to enjoy the Sound’s resources, iconic beauty, and productivity for years to come.


This Week on – June 1-5

Jun 5, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

June 1 – National Oceans Month, 2015 – President Obama has proclaimed June to be National Oceans Month. He points towards a “coordinated, science-based approach to managing our coasts and oceans.”

June 2 – Decision Time for Deep Corals in the Mid-Atlantic – On June 10, regional fisheries officials will have the chance to create the largest protected area in U.S. Atlantic waters when they vote on a proposal to help preserve deep-sea corals and the unique habitat these animals create.

June 3 – Special Edition – Fish Talk in the News – House Approves Controversial Fishing Bill – On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1335, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” as a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.

June 4 – Georges Bank on the Habitat Chopping Block – The New England Fishery Management Council’s (NEFMC) Habitat Committee continues to show complete disregard for habitat protection. Up for consideration at the Committee’s Monday meeting was an industry-introduced proposal (Alternative 9) to open critical areas of Georges Bank as part of the Omnibus Habitat Amendment.

June 5 – Fish Talk in the News – Friday, June 5 – In this week’s Fish Talk in the News, the House passes MSA Reauthorization Act; an amendment included in H.R. 1335 directs funds to improve fisheries research and management; the House cuts NOAA’s budget by $270 million; NE delegates work to secure funding for daily monitoring of commercial fisheries; Maine delays vote on tribal fishing bill; CT passes Blue Plan; NFWF awards TNC $300K for electronic monitoring systems; the agenda for NEFMC’s June meeting is now available; an animated video explains the impacts of climate change on Maine lobster populations; Maine elver season sets a new record; Massachusetts lobstermen worry about increased onboard observers; NOAA recommends to upgrade humpback whale status; and US and Canadian lobstermen fight over disputed territory.

National Ocean Policy Workshop a Success

Mar 18, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Conservation Law Foundation is dedicated to supporting full implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Last week under the umbrella of the Healthy Oceans Coalition, CLF partnered with the American Littoral Society to organize The National Ocean Policy: New England Healthy Ocean and Coasts Workshop.

Recognizing the importance of our ocean and coastal ecosystems and building off  work of previous administrations, in 2010 President Obama issued an Executive Order for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes creating the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The policy includes nine national priority objectives for improving the protection and management of the oceans, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

Even for those working down in the weeds, the National Ocean Policy (NOP), its implementation, and it applications are a lot to wrap your head around. At the workshop we hoped to clarify confusion for those not regularly involved in the process. It was hailed as a great success.

Participants engaged in thought-provoking conversations about the NOP, conservation and restoration components of marine planning in New England, the NOP’s focus on climate resiliency and adaptation, and opportunities for stakeholder engagement and messaging techniques. In attendance were representatives from 18 New England-based organizations, such as the Watershed Action Alliance and the Coalition for Buzzards Bay. We were also joined by a member of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) and the two co-leads of the Regional Planning Body’s Healthy and Ocean Coastal Ecosystems Subcommittee.

The presenters offered their expertise on the journey of marine planning in the Northeast and regional restoration priorities. We were also shown a tutorial on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, which includes a wealth of data and maps that ocean managers or anyone can utilize to better understand New England’s ocean resources.

It’s safe to say that all participants left with a better understanding of the National Ocean Policy and New England Regional Ocean Planning. Now it is up to them to take the lessons back their organizations and get to work!

For more information on the National Ocean Policy, visit

New England’s Congressional Members Demonstrate Strong Leadership and Support for Regional Ocean Planning and the National Ocean Policy

May 16, 2014 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Congress has finally announced a bipartisan compromise on legislation to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRRDA). Thanks to the leadership of Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and California Senator Barbara Boxer, a potentially damaging rider that would have prohibited the US Army Corps of Engineers from working with states and tribes to improve regional management was left out of the final bill. If the provision had been included in the bill – which contains billions of dollars in projects – management decisions for our nation’s coasts and waterways, vitally important for New England states, would have suffered greatly.

The rider, promoted by GOP Congressman Bill Flores of Waco, Texas, would have prohibited the US Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the National Ocean Policy and disallowed the Nation’s leading manager of waterways from coordinating with states, businesses, scientists and coastal users in devising plans for managing coasts, oceans and the Great Lakes. Rep. Flores’ attempt to stop new collaboration and planning among federal and state agencies and ocean users, such as energy developers and shipping interests, ignores the hundreds of billions of dollars of economic value in coastal and Great Lakes commerce, which to a large degree depend upon a network of integrated management.

CLF loudly applauds New England’s Representatives Pingree (ME-1), Michaud (ME-2), Neal (MA-1), Shea-Porter (NH-1), Kuster (NH-2), Welch (VT), McGovern (MA-2), Tsongas (MA-3), Kennedy (MA-4), Tierney (MA-6), Capuano (MA-7), Lynch (MA-8), Keating (MA-9), Cicillene (RI-1), Langevin (RI-2), Larson, (CT-1), Courtney (CT-2), DeLauro (CT-3), Himes (CT-4), and Esty (CT- 5), all of whom voted correctly to oppose the Flores rider.

Unfortunately, the WRRDA bill did not enact the National Endowment for the Oceans, a program championed by Senator Whitehouse (D-RI). However, a new Army Corps program focusing on ocean and coastal resiliency was included that addresses a great need for funding and focuses efforts on our ocean and coastal ecosystems. In a press release issued Thursday, Senator Whitehouse comments, “In Rhode Island and throughout the country, the strength of our economy is tied directly to the health of our oceans and coasts. This program will provide a new avenue through which we can protect and restore those ecosystems. While I would have preferred to establish a separate oceans endowment with broader authority, this program within the Army Corps will enable important projects to go forward that might have otherwise languished. It represents an important step in our nation’s effort to protect coastal resources, and I look forward to supporting this program going forward.”

The National Ocean Policy directs federal agencies to coordinate management activities, implement a science-based system of decision making; support safe and sustainable access and ocean uses; respect cultural practices, recreational access, and maritime heritage; and conserve ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. The National Ocean Policy does this by providing a framework of ocean planning, a science-based process of improving decisions about ocean resources before conflict arises that involves everyone who has a stake in ocean management, including towns and cities, scientists, fishermen, conservation groups, recreational users, and businesses. The importance of coastal marine spatial planning in decision making is clearly demonstrated as Rhode Island approves its first offshore wind project.

Conservation Law Foundation thanks New England’s leaders for recognizing that partisan politics do not have a place when our ocean, coastal and Great lakes regions have significant management challenges to tackle and that real challenges need real solutions.

Congress Can Let New England States Plan for Future Storms, or Not

Dec 3, 2013 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment


The US Army Corps of Engineers works on many coastal projects in Texas. Will Congress let them coordinate with states in New England?

A little over a year ago Superstorm Sandy barreled up the east coast and wreaked havoc on coastal communities and in many states inland. The impacts were notably fierce in New Jersey and areas in and around New York City, but Rhode Island and other states also suffered serious impacts. Homes, businesses and the local infrastructure which creates communities – phone and electrical lines, roads and highways, drinking water and sewage systems, and TV and mass communication systems – were knocked out for days. Some folks couldn’t return to their homes for weeks and thousands of people along the east coast lost their homes completely. It’s estimated that 285 people were killed.

The significant challenges that coastal states face with increasingly large storms in the era of climate change are clear. Luckily, we have excellent policy tools designed specifically to help address the uncertainties of climate change in the National Ocean Policy, and ocean user groups across our region support its use. The National Ocean Policy uses regional ocean planning, improved science and data, requires better agency coordination and relies on deep involvement by stakeholders – all of which are needed to tackle these types of management challenges now. As one state official said, “We can either plan now or we can let nature plan for us.” This is especially true when the anticipated future increase in the number and severity of storms will make these challenges larger and more difficult. We have the tools of the National Ocean Policy at hand, but if some in Congress get their way the New England states could be barred from working with the federal agencies necessary to plan for coastal storm impacts.

The House of Representatives has recently passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, also known as WRRDA. The House bill contains a harmful additional provision, known as a rider, which would prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from coordinating with coastal states to implement any ecosystem-based management or regional ocean planning program. This provision, led by a Congressman from land-locked Waco, Texas, seeks to prohibit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a key coastal and ocean management agency, from coordinating with coastal states. This means that even though many states are conducting planning efforts to help protect their ocean resources and support their state’s ocean economy, they would not be able to coordinate with the U.S. Army Corps on any projects under the National Ocean Policy. While driven by an anti-federal sentiment, the Flores rider actually weakens the ability of states to carry out ocean planning and coastal management for the welfare and health of its own citizens.

On the bright side, the Senate passed a version of the WRRDA bill containing the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO), which would establish a beneficial fund for improving coastal management and resilience. Championed by energetic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, NEO will help set up an endowment supporting work by state, regional, tribal and federal entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and academic institutions to fund the baseline science, monitoring, and observation data needed to improve ocean use management, including economic development that will create jobs and support coastal economies.

We need ocean planning and we need all federal agencies — including the US Army Corps of Engineers – to be closely engaged with states and other federal agencies. We can’t be held hostage to the whims of a nonsensical political agenda when we have real work to get done; the difference could be destroyed communities and lost lives. Thankfully, large numbers of Senators and Representatives from New England and other states have spoken out in support of the National Ocean Policy and a National Endowment for the Oceans. Now the Congress needs to let states prepare for their own future by rejecting the irresponsible Flores Rider and enacting the National Endowment for the Oceans.