Monday, May 7, 2012

Stakeholders working with state agencies on ocean and coastal issues

By Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Associate, Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Program

On May 11, 2012, a new coastal advisory group will meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grays Harbor College, Building 2000, Room 2101, 1620 Edward P. Smith Drive, in Aberdeen.

The advisory group was created in December 2011 to advise the State Ocean Caucus – an interagency team made up of state agencies with a management role or expertise in ocean and coastal issues.

The Washington Department of Ecology coordinates this team and formed the advisory group on behalf of the State Ocean Caucus. This will be the advisory group’s second meeting.

May 11 meeting open to the public

The public is welcome to attend the Friday meeting and an agenda is available here. At the May 11 meeting, advisory group members will: 

  • Learn about and discuss ocean energy.
  • Receive updates about agency activities.
  • Provide input on marine spatial planning and other policy topics.
  • Discuss the group’s operating procedures.

Local participation crucial

When it comes to coastal management issues, our coastal communities have important perspectives and knowledge to share. The advisory group is important because it provides a mechanism for improving state engagement with our coastal communities. The group gives them a stronger voice in critical issues affecting their communities.

For example, the 2012 Washington Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire approved $2.1 million in new state funding for supporting marine spatial planning for Washington’s Pacific Coast. This means the advisory group will have strong role in shaping projects and activities.

Advisory group represents broad range of interests

People on the advisory group represent a wide array of coastal and ocean interests, including: 

  • Each of the four coastal Marine Resource Committees
  • Local citizens
  • Ports
  • Shipping
  • Economic development
  • Shellfish aquaculture
  • Commercial fishing
  • Recreational fishing
  • Science and research
  • Education
  • Conservation

For more information

If you have any questions about the coastal advisory body, please call me at 360-407-6595 or send me an email. I hope to see you in Aberdeen on Friday.

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