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.