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Regional Ocean Planning in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Oceans along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic United States are used for a broad range of economic and recreational purposes. As competition for access and space increased, Meridian helped develop groundbreaking ocean management plans that could meet a diverse set of needs.

Fishing, shipping, environmental protection, and offshore energy production all compete for space in the ocean. They are also all regulated through different state and federal systems. Developing integrated management plans for all of these ocean uses requires that stakeholders from different industries, communities, and regulatory entities collaborate effectively. In 2012, Meridian supported coalitions of stakeholders and government officials through the Northeast Regional Planning Body and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body to generate first-of-their-kind ocean management plans.

Responding to the growing need for coordination, the 2010 National Ocean Policy mandated that state, federal, and tribal stakeholders collaborate through regional planning bodies (RPBs) to share information and contribute to ocean use decision-making. Specifically, the Policy tasked the RPBs with developing regional ocean management plans to guide future use. Activating the RBPs and achieving their goals required unprecedented coordination and nimble—yet structured—public involvement.

With our expertise in ocean policy and stakeholder engagement, Meridian was the ideal entity to foster such coordination. We provided backbone support for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast RBPs by developing operating norms, coordinating meetings, guiding discussion, and drafting the resulting plans. We also strategically gathered public feedback to ensure that the plans addressed the needs of diverse ocean users. These actions laid the foundation for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Councils’ work today, which fosters sustainable ocean uses and promotes ecosystem health. The success of this process in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic continues to serve as a powerful example for future ocean management.

Project Team

Learn more about the team that led the Regional Ocean Planning in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic project.