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Meridian Institute

National Ocean Policy Implementation Initiative

Related: Oceans and Coasts

In July 2010, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (National Ocean Policy). This policy is intended to unify and guide the actions of the multiple federal agencies with ocean management responsibilities and bring greater coherence to the numerous laws addressing ocean and coastal resources, in order to facilitate better management in coastal regions. A key tool for implementing the policy is regional ocean planning. Regional ocean planning is a forum for state, federal, and tribal managers and stakeholders to share information and contribute to decision making about the use of our oceans.

Meridian Institute—with funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, Marisla Foundation, and others—is engaged in a variety of activities that support the effective implementation of the National Ocean Policy and include:

  • Support of the National Ocean Council -Meridian assists the National Ocean Council, a cabinet-level coordinating body charged with implementing the National Ocean Policy. Meridian support includes communication related to the National Ocean Policy and providing strategic advice regarding regional ocean planning.  In addition, Meridian assisted the National Ocean Council in convening the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning National Workshop in June 2011. Meridian provided meeting planning, process design and facilitation services for the workshop, which engaged federal, state, and tribal representatives and the public in developing a shared understanding of the ocean planning process, testing the planning process through a simulation exercise, and determining appropriate collaborative steps going forward.

  • Regional Ocean Planning- Meridian provides support for state and federal representatives from several regions around the country to advance regional ocean planning. This includes providing strategic advice, process design, meeting facilitation, logistical support, drafting of discussion summaries for a number of key meetings, and communication with the National Ocean Council staff to coordinate with their efforts in supporting the regions. Regions include:

    •  Northeast- Providing support to the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) in convening a number of meetings and workshops related to advancement of ocean planning in the Northeast. This includes facilitating retreats and meetings for NROC leaders and a large regional workshop, the Northeast Workshop on Regional Ocean Planning held in March 2012 in Bristol, RI. Meridian also assists the Northeast Regional Planning Body in planning for and facilitating its meetings.

    • Mid-Atlantic-Providing support to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and federal leaders in the Mid-Atlantic region in support of their efforts to advance regional ocean planning. This has included meetings of state, federal, and tribal representatives in 2012 and 2013, including planning and facilitation of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Planning Workshop on April 4-5, 2013 in Arlington, VA.

  • The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative was established in 2005 by former commissioners from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. Meridian acts as the secretariat of the Joint Initiative, a collaborative, bipartisan effort to capitalize on the work of the two commissions. Since its formation the Joint Initiative has created and sustained a broad-based, bipartisan effort to catalyze ocean policy reform and action at the national, regional, state, and local levels. These reforms are grounded in concepts, themes, and recommendations embodied in the two commissions’ reports, with the Joint Initiative updating the recommendations to ensure their continued relevance in the face of changing challenges and political circumstances. More information can be found at: http://www.jointoceancommission.org/

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