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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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MACAN Hosts its First Workshop

Posted on Oct 19, 2017

After the launch of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN) in the fall of 2016, the Network has been focusing on achieving its objectives, three of which were the primary focus during MACAN’s first workshop held on May 9, 2017 in Annapolis, MD. A full workshop summary is available here.   While all Network objectives were touched on during the workshop, the primary goals of the workshop were to work towards: Providing a forum to share best practices in monitoring and sample collection; Developing a list of regionally impacted species and identify regional research gaps; and Helping to implement the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan Healthy Ocean Ecosystem Action 3 on Ocean Acidification.   The workshop itself had specific objectives developed to achieve workshop goals: To determine key stakeholder concerns and needs regarding impacts to estuarine, coastal, and ocean species and ecosystems in the Mid-Atlantic; To initiate development of a comprehensive monitoring plan (e.g. location of sampling sites, timing/intervals, types of sampling, etc.), building off knowledge of monitoring that currently exists, to further understand estuarine, coastal, and ocean acidification and its impacts in the region; To develop an initial list of regionally relevant species that may be vulnerable to acidification; To begin to identify key research gaps to be pursued by MACAN and its partners; and To identify additional information to be provided on the MACAN website.   The workshop began with a welcome by Network co-leads Kaity Goldsmith of MARCO and Grace Saba of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS). Dr. Beth Phelan from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center then provided a presentation on the State of the Science in the Mid-Atlantic. This presentation grounded remaining conversations for the day in what is known about the impacts of acidification in the region, so that the remainder of the day could focus on the gaps in regional knowledge.   The bulk of the late morning and afternoon consisted of three breakout session periods for three topics. The topics were: 1. Monitoring Plan 2. Ecological Research Gaps 3. Stakeholder Concerns and Needs   Each breakout session was also supplemented by a flash talk presentation by experts in each field. The flash presentations included: “Monitoring in the Mid-Atlantic” by Dr. Grace Saba, Rutgers University and MARACOOS “Ecological Research Gaps Associated with Coastal Acidification” by Dr. Whitman Miller, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center “Stakeholder Needs and Concerns” by Daniel J. Grosse, partner and co-founder of Toby Island Bay Oyster Farm in Chincoteague Island, VA   These breakout sessions and flash presentations provided significant insight into how MACAN can work towards developing a) a robust Mid-Atlantic acidification monitoring plan, and b) research priorities for the region. MACAN used this insight to...

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MARCO-MARACOOS WORKSHOP: Changing Ocean Conditions Related to Fisheries and Fisheries Management

Posted on Oct 19, 2017

In April 2017, MARCO and MARACOOS co-hosted a workshop to identify and rank means for identifying and communicating the effects of changing ocean conditions related to fisheries and fisheries management in the Mid-Atlantic Region.   Workshop planning started in September 2016, with a Steering Committee selected for its representation of industry, and state, federal scientists and managers, and university researchers. The workshop was co-led by Peter Moore/MARACOOS and Josh Kohut/Rutgers University and brought together 30-40 individuals for a working meeting. Invitees were asked to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) in advance of the workshop to inform discussions.   The Workshop Summary Report can be accessed...

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MARCO Seeks Proposals for Coastal and Ocean Economy Resilience Study

Posted on May 23, 2017

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) is soliciting project proposals to undertake a quantitative study characterizing the potential vulnerability and resilience of the Mid-Atlantic coastal and ocean economy. The study should consider the ecosystem services that support that coastal and ocean economy, as well as potential impacts to those services from changing ocean conditions.

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