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MARCO to provide forum for regional coordination and collaboration on ocean management

Posted on Jun 27, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Elizabeth Semple, Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), in reaction to President Trump’s Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States   “Since 2009, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) has worked, as a Regional Ocean Partnership, across the five states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York to enhance the vitality of the region’s ocean ecosystem and economy.”   “Over the past several years, MARCO States have championed major elements of regional ocean planning, including: (1) Coordination and collaboration at a Mid-Atlantic regional scale, (2) Effective engagement with all ocean stakeholders and (3) Public access to best available data and information.”      “MARCO is ready and willing to keep moving ahead as the Mid-Atlantic’s State-led Regional Ocean Partnership to coordinate and collaborate on issues of shared regional concern.  MARCO looks forward to engaging partners across diverse interests to advance shared regional issues of importance to the states, including, but not limited to (1) the collection and analysis of marine life and habitat data including shifts in ocean species distributions, (2) the reduction and prevention of marine debris, (3) the development of indicators to measure ocean health, (4) increased consideration of the importance of non-consumptive recreation, (5) on-going  dialogues on offshore renewable energy, coastal resilience and the beneficial reuse of sand resources, (6) the continued development of a comprehensive ocean acidification monitoring network and research plan , and (7) continued operations, maintenance and updating of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.”   “Over the past several years, MARCO has cultivated strong and collaborative working relationships with tribal representatives, issue-based experts in federal agencies, regional associations and a wide variety of stakeholders. We look forward to hosting a forum to convene continued discussions of regional importance, on Thursday August 2, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia.  The meeting will be held at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 1111 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219.  Additional meeting details will be posted on the MARCO website http://midatlanticocean.org/ when...

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Report Assesses Mid-Atlantic Coast’s Economic Vulnerability to Climate Change

Posted on Apr 17, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) today released a first-of-its-kind report at the Mid-Atlantic scale that examines the vulnerabilities of several critical economic sectors to climate change. The report quantifies the potential impacts of threats like sea level rise, rising ocean temperatures and changes in the ocean’s chemistry to communities and businesses in 63 counties and independent cities along the coast from New York to Virginia.   The challenges are especially pronounced in the Mid-Atlantic, the most densely populated stretch of coastline in the country. The region’s waterfront is home to America’s largest city, New York; two of its busiest ports in New York/New Jersey and Hampton Roads, Virginia; and iconic beach destinations that have entertained summer tourists for generations.   The analysis considered the ramifications of both temporary flooding events and the permanent inundation of some areas that would occur if sea levels were to rise by 3 or 6 feet by the year 2100 – two scenarios that are commonly assumed by planners throughout the region. Among the findings:   Approximately 14.6 million people live in Census tracts adjacent to the ocean, Chesapeake or Delaware bays. In the 3-foot scenario, the resulting flooded area could affect 1.7 million people and in the 6-foot scenario, 2.1 million people. Today, 912,000 housing units would be vulnerable to flooding in the 3-foot scenario and 1.1 million in the 6-foot scenario. These include 212,000 seasonal units in the 3-foot scenario and 248,000 in the 6-foot scenario. Approximately 557,000 jobs would be vulnerable in the 3-foot scenario and 974,000 in the 6-foot scenario. In the 3-foot scenario, Delaware has the highest average vulnerability, followed by the counties/cities of Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania. At six feet, New York has highest average vulnerability, followed by Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The region’s major urban centers’ vulnerability to severe disruption increases significantly if sea level rises more than 3 feet.   “No community or business in the Mid-Atlantic will be spared from the impacts of climate change,” said lead author Charles Colgan of the Center for the Blue Economy of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. “This is not simply a threat to waterfront areas. With everything from jobs to the housing market being tightly bound to ocean-dependent industries, every coastal community, whether beachfront or further inland, has some vulnerability.”   Significant and perhaps rapid shifts in habitat brought about by climate change will challenge commercial fishing and government agencies to move quickly to adapt fishing practices and management policies. From Maine to North Carolina, a 25 percent loss of catch is possible for species affected by climate change, which would...

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Workshop Series Explores the Value of Non-consumptive Recreational Areas

Posted on Oct 19, 2017

In fall 2017, MARCO and Surfrider Foundation co-hosted a series of four workshops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, on behalf of the Mid-A RPB’s Non-consumptive Recreation Work Group, to engage the public in a discussion of the value of important non-consumptive recreational areas and the activities they sustain. Non-consumptive recreational uses represented included surfing, beach combing, kayaking, paddleboarding, boating, and scuba diving, among others. Evening workshops were held in Long Island, NY (September 27), Bethany Beach, DE (combined event with Maryland) (October 5), West Long Branch, NJ (October 11) and Virginia Beach, VA (November 8). Workshops were conducted in support of implementation of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan action: Identify, characterize, and share information about measures to maintain the recreational value of important non-consumptive recreational areas and the activities they sustain.   Participants were asked for input on the following objectives: To begin to define what it would mean for ocean and coastal uses and areas to be considered important for non-consumptive recreation; To solicit ideas for a process to identify and assess potential impacts and use conflicts to important non-consumptive recreational uses from other human uses, as well as potential impacts and conflicts between non-consumptive recreational uses and marine and coastal resources; and To explore ideas for effective two-way engagement processes to share information with and solicit input from ocean recreation users.   This workshop series followed a regional survey of non-consumptive recreational users which received over 1,000 responses (survey overview video). A report summarizing input from all four workshops is...

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Healthy Ocean Indicators Workshop

Posted on Oct 19, 2017

MARCO has been working with a project team consisting of the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) and other contractors, to help begin implementing the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body’s action to develop regional Healthy Ocean Ecosystem Indicators as expressed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan Healthy Ocean Ecosystem Action 5. This Action establishes that a healthy ocean ecosystem indicator monitoring and assessment program is needed to better understand ecosystem changes as they occur, and how those changes impact and are impacted by human activity. Along with guidance from a Steering Committee comprised of Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body agency representatives, MARCO and the project team, a workshop was held on July 19th-20th, 2017 in Baltimore, MD to solicit input on potential indicators and on ideas around how indicators would be tracked and communicated.   Prior to the workshop, the project team developed a white paper that was distributed to attendees as background for the workshop discussions. The project team wrote this white paper to provide background information about this action, potential options, and important considerations for decision-making to advance a healthy ocean ecosystem indicator monitoring and assessment program as described by the OAP Healthy Ocean Ecosystem Action 5. To prepare the white paper, the project team solicited input via webinar from a variety of stakeholder communities including commercial and recreational fishing, aquaculture, governmental and academic scientists, environmental NGOs, offshore natural resource managers, non-consumptive recreation, and energy and infrastructure.   The final report from the CBI contractors is available on the Mid-Atlantic RPB web site here and includes the white paper as Appendix A and a workshop summary as Appendix B. If you are interested in being kept informed of progress on this project, please contact MARCO Project Manager, Kaity Goldsmith, at:...

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Ecologically Rich Areas Workshops Engage Stakeholders

Posted on Oct 19, 2017

In May and November 2017, MARCO hosted two workshops, on behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body’s Ecologically Rich Areas (ERAs) Work Group, to convene stakeholders and scientists to discuss ERAs.  Day-long workshops were held in the spring in Dover, DE (May 19) and in the fall in Crownsville, MD (November 2).  Workshops were conducted in support of implementation of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan action: Identify and Increase Understanding of Ecologically Rich Areas.   At the spring workshop, participants were asked for input on the following: the opportunities and challenges associated with identifying ERAs, ideas for obtaining additional stakeholder and expert input to guide ERA data development, and on criteria the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body could use for selecting a pilot ERA.  This workshop also included presentations from the Marine Life and Data Analysis Team on the four types of ERAs (fixed, clustered, ambulatory and ephemeral) and five ERA components (productivity, biodiversity, species abundance, vulnerability and rarity) as well as progress to date in developing data synthesis products.   At the fall workshop, participants provided additional input on the pros and cons of three ERA Component Synthesis Options and received an update on how additional stakeholder, scientist and agency input collected between May-November 2017 shaped the development of the synthesis options.   For more information on the Final Framework to Identify ERAs, click here (https://www.boem.gov/Final-Framework-for-Identifying-ERAs/). To access the May workshop report, click here (http://midatlanticocean.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ERA-May-19-2017-Workshop-Summary.pdf).  For additional information on the Marine Life and Data Analysis Team, click here (http://midatlanticocean.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/MDAT.MARCO_FinalReport.pdf).  A summary report from the November workshop will be available on the MARCO website in early 2018....

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