North Atlantic Region

NOAA Priority: Organizational Excellence, Resilient Communities

ReCo Goal 1: Address regional challenges by connecting people and resources.

Screenshot of, the data portal created by the Northeast Regional Planning Body.

Screenshot of, the data portal created by the Northeast Regional Planning Body.

The last several years have pushed the North Atlantic to the forefront of offshore energy development nationwide.  In response to Obama’s National Ocean Policy, the North Atlantic region established the first two Regional Planning Bodies (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic) in the Nation to develop regional coastal and marine spatial plans stretching from mean high water out to 200 miles offshore. These two regions are the only ones nationally required to complete ocean plans in 2016 as part of this Administration’s legacy. NOAA is the federal lead in the Northeast and an active member in the Mid-Atlantic. Since 2012, the NART’s coastal and ocean uses subteam has been the defacto coordinating body for maintaining connectivity within the broader North Atlantic. This year, the NART provided funding so that almost two dozen NOAA staff across NMFS and NOS could come together to discuss NOAA’s engagement with regional ocean planning in the region, including current status, timelines, and outcomes. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic RPB leads highlighted progress and next steps, and the broader group strategized on outcomes and benefits for NOAA in this, the final process to completion. In particular, the group identified ways that current ocean planning activities can complement and support NOAA efforts to best leverage investments in ocean planning.  Both RPBs are poised to deliver their ocean plans on schedule, setting an example for the nation of how an ecosystem-approach based on sound science and with robust public dialogue can increase government transparency and efficiency and model adaptive management.

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