July 1, 2009
Contact: Michele Walker, 919-733-2293, ext. 229; Lisa Schiavinato, NCSG, (919) 515-1895; Katie Mosher, NC Sea Grant, (919) 515-9069
Report Reviews Emerging Ocean Policy Issues
RALEIGH – A new report, titled “Developing a Management Strategy for North Carolina’s Coastal Ocean,” reviews emerging ocean policy topics.
Presented to the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission last week, the report was developed through a two-year partnership that included the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, North Carolina Sea Grant and the N.C. Coastal Resources Law, Planning and Policy Center.
“This is a forward-thinking document,” says Lisa Schiavinato, Sea Grant coastal law, policy and community development specialist, who also co-directs the center. “It provides the (state) Coastal Resources Commission and (N.C.) Division of Coastal Management with a snapshot of ocean resource issues that will become increasingly important to North Carolina. The information contained in the report about the emerging issues, along with the recommendations on how to address them, will put the state in a solid position to develop policy approaches before the issues become critical.”
“The report will be instrumental in helping DCM and the CRC prepare for challenges we may face in managing future environmental, cultural and economic shifts along our coast,” adds Scott Geis, coastal and ocean policy analyst for the Division of Coastal Management. “Even as the report was being generated, we began to see emerging issues transform into ‘here and now’ issues, such as offshore wind energy. The work of the OPSC (Ocean Policy Steering Committee) cannot be commended enough, as they have provided the technical and scientific insight that is crucial to sound policy planning.”
The report’s recommendations include development of a comprehensive plan to protect beaches and inlets, identification of available sand resources, creation of a coastal vulnerability index, and mapping of ocean resources. Emerging issues identified by the committee are: sand resource management, alternative energy development, ocean outfalls, marine aquaculture and comprehensive ocean management.
The 14-member Ocean Policy Steering Committee focused on North Carolina’s coastal ocean waters and adjacent federal waters. The panel reviewed current research and held public hearings to review a draft of the report.
The Coastal Resources Commission received the final report at its June meeting. A subcommittee will consider potential next steps in light of the recommendations. Subcommittee members are: Coastal Resources commissioners Joan Weld, Lee Wynns, Bill Peele and David Webster; and Coastal Resources Advisory Council members Dara Royal, Spencer Rogers and Harry Simmons.
The report is available for download from www.ncseagrant.org and www.nccoastalmanagement.net.
This is a joint news release with N.C. Sea Grant.