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Regional Ocean Planning Process Underway

In July 2010, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing a National Ocean Policy. The Policy aims at improving management of the country's oceans and coasts, forging improved coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local governments, and encouraging and providing a framework for comprehensive, science-based, and regionally-focused planning regarding current and emerging uses of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes areas. Regional planning bodies are charged with developing ocean plans and related map-based information resources that may guide and inform public and private decision making on regionally-specific issues and opportunities.

The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) is made up of state government representatives from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, federally-recognized Indian tribes, including the five such tribes in Maine, federal agencies, local government, and the New England Fisheries Management Council. Canada, through its Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and the State of New York are represented by ex officio members. The commissioners of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) and Department of Marine Resources (DMR), or their designees, are Maine's representatives on the RPB. Commissioner Whitcomb has designated Maine Coastal Program Director Kathleen Leyden as his representative. Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson represents DMR. The RPB's efforts build on existing regional ocean planning efforts of the Gulf of Maine Council and Northeast Regional Ocean Council.

The RPB held its first organizational meeting in April of 2012. Its work underway, the RPB recently hosted public meetings in Portland, Rockland, and Ellsworth to solicit comments on its proposed goals, which will provide the foundation for its ocean planning efforts. Overall, these goals reflect the RPB's fundamental focus on improving the quality and availability of regional-scale data on the marine environment and related uses and fostering cooperation and coordination among federal, state, local and tribal governmental agencies.

Visit the Northeast Regional Planning Body for more information on its meetings, planning process and timeline, and related topics or contact Matt Nixon (207) 287-1491 at the Maine Coastal Program.

Last updated on January 27, 2014