Mass Audubon Advocacy
Mass Audubon works at the state and national level to advocate for the protection of our oceans.
Working Toward Ocean Management in Massachussetts
Mass Audubon played a key role in drafting the Massachusetts Ocean Management Act, which became law in 2008. The Governor subsequently appointed Mass Audubon as the “Environmental Representative” to the 17-member Ocean Advisory Commission to help write the nation’s first state Ocean Management Plan. Mass Audubon presently chairs the Commission.
The Oceans Act and Plan were originally recommended by a state Ocean Task Force, of which Mass Audubon was one of two environmental organization representatives on the 27-member body. The Ocean Management Plan was developed as an effort to protect the Bay state’s important natural resources and guide ocean-related development, including renewable energy. As a requirement of the Act, the plan seeks to balance economic growth with protection of marine wildlife and habitat.
- Fact sheets on several topics relating to ocean management are available at the New England Ocean Action Network (under the Fact Sheet tab), of which Mass Audubon is a member.
- Find details on ocean management progress at the Massachusetts Ocean Coalition, which we are founding co-chairs of.
- Further details are available at our partners the Massachusetts SeaPlan.
- The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
- Sign up for periodic ocean plan updates.
- Coastal mapping tool - Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System (MORIS) - provides detailed geographic data for:
- ocean planning
- coastal development
- public safety
- transportation planning
- and marine environmental protection.
- GIS-based marine information system for the US waters - created by the US Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in cooperation with federal and state partners. Along with CZM’s MORIS, this detailed geographic data will assist Massachusetts, federal agencies, and the Massachusetts Ocean Advisory Commission, of which Mass Audubon is a gubernatorial appointee, in making recommendations and decisions on ocean planning, coastal development, public safety, tourism, transportation planning, marine environmental protection, and offshore renewable energy.
Our Work to Advocate for National Ocean Management
Soon after Massachusetts adopted comprehensive ocean management as state policy, we encouraged the Obama Administration to do the same at the national level. They agreed and in 2009, Washington established an Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. The Task Force developed a recommendation for a National Ocean Policy, the Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, to ensure protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes. Mass Audubon and others commented on this important national initiative (PDF). And in 2010, the Administration released the Final Recommendations (PDF) of the Task Force, and the President issued an Executive Order establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Coasts, and Great Lakes.
As part of this National Policy, the National Ocean Council released its draft Implementation Plan to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, coasts, and the Great Lakes. The Plan also outlines 50 actions it will take to improve the health of the ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes, which support tens of millions of jobs, contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.
The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) is a state and federal partnership with the goal of engaging in regional protection and balanced use of ocean and coastal resources. NROC's coordinated approach reaches across state boundaries to find and implement solutions to the region's most pressing ocean and coastal issues.
Mass Audubon's Efforts with the National Endowment for the Oceans
Following the 2011 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Mass Audubon joined in the effort to secure federal funding for the monitoring, protection, and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems. The National Endowment for the Oceans Act would provide funding primarily from offshore energy activities and a portion of fines from violations of federal law on the Outer Continental Shelf. Funds would be made available in the form of grants to fund conservation and restoration programs and to develop the baseline science to encourage sustainable ocean uses that create jobs and support coastal economies. These efforts would not only improve the health of these ecosystems, but also promote their resilience so that they can better recover when disasters like oil spills occur.
Read Mass Audubon’s letter to our US Senators urging their support for this much-needed legislation.