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Open-File Report 2011–1152

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Management

Proceedings of a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop for the Western United States

By Lyman Thorsteinson, Derrick Hirsch, David Helweg, Amardeep Dhanju, Joan Barminski, and Richard Ferrero

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (2.16 MB)Introduction and Background

Recent scientific and ocean policy assessments demonstrate that a fundamental change in our current management system is required to achieve the long-term health of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes in order to sustain the services and benefits they provide to society. The present (2011) species- and sector-centric way we manage these ecosystems cannot account properly for cumulative effects, sustaining multiple ecosystem services, and holistically and explicitly evaluating the tradeoffs associated with proposed alternative and multiple human uses. A transition to an ecosystem-based approach to management and conservation of coastal and marine resources is needed.

Competing uses and activities such as commerce, recreation, cultural practices, energy development, conservation, and national security are increasing pressure for new and expanded resource usage in coastal marine ecosystems. Current management efforts use a sector-by-sector approach that mostly focuses on a limited range of tools and outcomes [for example, oil and gas leases, fishery management plans, and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)]. A comprehensive, ecosystem-based, and proactive approach to planning and managing these uses and activities is needed. Further, scientific understanding and information are essential to achieve an integrated decision-making process that includes knowledge of ecosystem services, existing and possible future conditions, and potential consequences of natural and anthropogenic events. Because no single government agency has executive authority for coastal or ocean resources, conflicting objectives around competing uses abound.

In recent years, regional- and state-level initiatives in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) have emerged to coordinate management activities. In some respects, the components and steps of the overall CMSP process are similar to how existing ocean resources are regulated and managed. For example, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) uses spatial planning exercises in State Renewable Energy Task Force meetings to identify competing and conflicting ocean uses, and to delineate areas suitable for renewable energy development. Similarly terrestrial areas such as in national parks and national wildlife refuges managed by the Department of the Interior (DOI) prepare management plans for preservation and restoration of species and habitats of concern, some of which are protected by law. The analogy to CMSP is clear — multiple users and multiple expectations, resulting in the requirement to establish spatial plans for management of different resources and different ecosystem services.

A two-day workshop on December 1–2, 2010, was convened for DOI representatives and several key non-DOI participants with roles in CMSP as a step toward clarifying national perspectives and consequences of the National Ocean Policy for the West (appendix 1). Discussions helped to develop an understanding of CMSP from the federal perspective and to identify regional priorities. An overarching theme was to promote a better understanding of current and future science needs. The workshop format included briefings by key Federal agencies on their understanding of the national focus followed by discussion of regional issues, including the needs for scientific information and coordination. The workshop also explored potential science contributions by Federal agencies and others; utilizing current capabilities, data, and information systems; and provided a foundation for possible future regional workshops focusing in turn on the West Coast Region (California, Oregon, and Washington), Pacific Islands (sometimes referred to as Oceania) and Alaska.

Participants were asked to share information in the following areas, recognizing that the purpose would be to learn more about the national perspective (see appendixes 2–4):

  • Explore how the Western U.S. (Alaska, Pacific Islands, and West Coast Region) might implement the vision for CMSP put forth by the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force in the National Ocean Policy and Executive Order [with input from BOEMRE, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and others].
  • Clarify the range of strategic science priorities that CMSP generates within and across DOI, Department of Commerce (DOC), and other Federal entities.
  • Communicate DOI partner information needs and priorities to appropriate levels of bureau management within the DOI and with other agencies.

The goals of the workshop were to lay the foundation for improved communication among DOI bureaus and partners and to expand our ability to provide appropriate and timely science that is responsive to regional needs put forth in the July 19, 2010, Executive Order (E.O. 13547) by the President. The Executive Order adopts the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, including the "Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning", hereinafter known as "Framework". This report is an effort to capture and synthesize initial regional perspectives of CMSP and its implementation presented at the workshop.

First posted June 17, 2011

For additional information contact:
Director, Western Fisheries Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
6505 NE 65th Street
Seattle, Washington 98115

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Thorsteinson, L., Hirsch, D., Helweg, D., Dhanju, A., Barminski, J., and Ferrero, R., 2011,Proceedings of a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop for the Western United States: Cavallo Point Lodge, Fort Baker, Sausalito, CA, December 1–2, 2010, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1152, 24 p.


Introduction and Background

National Perspectives on CMSP

Post-Workshop Analysis of Panel Sessions on Day-2



References Cited


Appendix 1. Précis of the National Ocean Policy Concept and Process

Appendix 2. Invitation to Participate

Appendix 3. Agenda

Appendix 4. List of Attendees

Appendix 5. Multipurpose Marine Cadastre (MMC)

Appendix 6. CMSP Resources and Links

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