The National Ocean Policy is here…but will it stay?
This past week, two of the Colorado Ocean Coalition (COCO) Ocean Ambassador (OA) Candidate’s, Danielle Duncan and Kara Wiggin attended the Healthy Oceans Coalition’s National Ocean Policy Advocacy Training in Savannah, GA. They learned how to be advocates of the National Ocean Policy to their local representatives and the public.
The other trainees included members from the Sierra Club, the Conservation Law Foundation, Island Institute, Ocean Conservation Research, Surfrider, and others. COCO’s OA Candidates were invited to attend on behalf of COCO. Kara and Danielle were the only two inland representatives that participated! With this upcoming election year, the National Ocean Policy (NOP) may be at risk.
Since the NOP was passed as an Executive Order by President Obama, a new 2016 president has the power to overturn it. But, the NOP’s plan is strong and has the potential to be enforced within the states, with or without the executive order.
In July 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing an integrated National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts and the Great Lakes, know as the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The NOP provides a framework to better coordinate and integrate the 140 laws and 20+ agencies that currently manage our ocean and its invaluable resources. The NOP creates collaborative opportunities for federal and state agencies to work together, uses science-based decision-making, and allows stakeholders a voice. The NOP is good for the environment AND good for the economy. The NOP creates a set of nine priority objectives and management actions:
- Ecosystem-Based Management: Adopt ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for comprehensive management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
- Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Implement comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States.
- Inform Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase knowledge to continually inform and improve management and policy decisions and the capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better educate the public through formal and informal programs about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.
- Coordinate and Support: Better coordinate and support Federal, State, tribal, local, and regional management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Improve coordination and integration across the Federal Government and, as appropriate, engage with the international community.
- Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and marine and Great Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean acidification.
- Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the Federal, state, tribal, local and regional levels.
- Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land.
- Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental changes.
- Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping, and Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national system, and integrate that system into international observation efforts.