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Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force
July 30-31, 2003, Workshop Summary
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
The purpose of the workshop was to provide the newly created Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force with background information and an opportunity to identify issues to be addressed. A summary of the meeting is provided below. For a complete list of links to PDF copies of the workshop presentations, click here. For the list of issues identified at the workshop, click here.
DAY 1: July 30, 2003
Ocean Management Task Force Overview
Task Force Chair Sue Tierney presented the goals of the Task Force and provided an overview of ocean management in the Commonwealth: its background, assets, challenges, uses and jurisdictions. Sue Tierney reviewed the agenda and explained that the workshop focuses on the biological resources of the ocean (Day 1) as well as legal and management tools (Day 2). Sue Tierney presentation (PDF, 1.6 MB).
Regional Characterizations: Past, Present and Emerging Uses
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) staff members Andrea Cooper (North Shore), Jane Mead (Boston Harbor), Jason Burtner (South Shore), Truman Henson (Cape and Islands) and Dave Janik (South Coastal), described and characterized uses particular to each region; historic, cultural, and economic uses were presented and discussed as well as existing and future uses, the interrelationship among uses, and specific management approaches for each region. All five regional presentations (PDF, 3.7 MB). Priority issues for each region were stated as follows:
Based on these presentations, along with questions and comments from Task Force members offered during the course of the discussion, Sue Tierney drafted a list of common issues among all regions for later discussion:
Other Issues raised during discussion:
Characterization and Status of Massachusetts Ocean Resources
Andy Rosenberg, Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire (who filled in for Les Kaufman). Dr. Rosenberg explained that Massachusetts divides the Gulf of Maine and the Acadian biogeographic region with the more southern Virginian region. The Gulf of Maine is extremely well-flushed due to the extensive tidal range. This region is one of the best studied ocean areas in the world. The growing population and urbanization of Massachusetts can not be decoupled from ecosystem impacts. There have been huge changes in species and habitats over the past 30-50 years. Dr. Rosenberg concluded that management of marine resources is often "too weak and too late" and that a change in ethic is needed. Andy Rosenberg presentation (PDF, 4.8 MB).
Judy Pederson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program, presented on water and sediment quality in Massachusetts. She gave an overview of pollutants, including metals and organic chemical compounds, the concerns and impacts of those pollutants and invasive species and mechanisms that smother organisms, alter flow or transport contaminants that effect water and sediment quality. Dr. Pederson made the following observations: that more information is needed on the cost of pollution and that often prevention is cheaper than management; and that better indicators of environmental change are needed, as is an ocean management policy. Judy Pederson presentation (PDF, 1.2 MB).
Robert Buchsbaum, Massachusetts Audubon Society, summarized the types of marine invertebrates and management issues including invasive species, shellfish management, siting of aquaculture and pollution. Dr. Buchsbaum suggested some issues for the Task Force to consider including: the impact of aquaculture on invertebrate populations, the need for shellfish management, and the threat that invasive species and pollution pose to invertebrates. Robert Buchsbaum presentation (PDF, 2 MB).
During the next presentation, Bruce Estrella, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries reviewed various crustaceans common to Massachusetts waters and the habitat, management, status and trends of each. He also provided an overview of the lobster fishery and the management of the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission's Amendment #3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Lobsters. He explained that lobster management and regulation in Massachusetts is complicated because the Commonwealth falls under three separate management areas, each with different rules. Mr. Estrella characterized the major threats to crustaceans as: recruitment, pollution, coastal alterations, and disease. Bruce Estrella presentation (PDF, 960 KB).
Andy Rosenberg, Dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, University of New Hampshire, discussed the types of fish found in Massachusetts waters, the impacts of fishing on habitat and the overall recruitment and trends of biomass. Dr. Rosenberg explained that because a large percentage of the commercial fishing fleets are based in Massachusetts, our state can play a leadership position on fisheries management. He stated that while we may disagree about science and exact stock status, we know what we need to do to reduce pressure on fisheries, "we just need to do it". Andy Rosenberg presentation (PDF, 970 KB).
The Task Force also received a presentation from Dave Wiley, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, on the status, trends and threats to marine mammals-including whales, dolphins, and seals-marine turtles, and seabirds. Mr. Wiley expressed concern about acoustic impacts on cetaceans from various uses. David Wiley presentation (PDF, 7.5 MB).
Before closing the meeting, Sue Tierney lead a discussion on work group formation. In addition to the existing Task Force working group on "principles for ocean management" (whose work is already underway), she suggested four working groups to: 1) Assess the status of scientific info/data (i.e. What are we missing?); 2) Determine what tools do we have for regulating/managing resources? What are the gaps in tools for management?; 3) Investigate the best practices for management; and 4) Describe the key trends (including physical, economic, and biological resources). Task Force members brought up additional factors--scientific and coastal indicators--that must be looked into, and 'next steps' such as policy and regulatory recommendations and the possible filing of legislation. It was decided to continue this discussion on the next day of the workshop and thereafter. No decisions on work groups were made, but there was consensus that work groups would be needed to move discussions along.
DAY 2: July 31, 2003
Regulatory Framework for Managing the Ocean
John Duff, University of Maine Law School opened the day with a presentation on the regulatory framework for managing the ocean. For guidance, he stated that many factors must be considered for 'ocean interests': ecological values, financial values, stakeholder objectives, government objectives and 'wild value'--the value of leaving the area alone. He challenged the Task Force with an 'ocean governance puzzle': planning/siting, zoning, permitting and regulating. What are the objectives? What is being avoided? What is out there? He reviewed the jurisdiction of state and federal waters and listed Massachusetts regulations for marine waters. After describing the ocean jurisdictions in the U.S. as delineated on a jurisdictional basis and sometimes on a use basis, he reviewed the reasons for zoning and the similarities and differences between land and ocean zoning. John Duff presentation (PDF, 1 MB).
The Task Force discussed a mock case study to illustrate the types of reviews that state and federal agencies perform, the scope of the different agencies' jurisdiction over the issues presented in the case study, and what considerations would be included (and not covered) during those reviews. A mock case study was selected to avoid creating the impression that the Task Force was carrying out a review of a particular project and raising concerns about agency staff presenting comments about particular matters currently before their agencies.
Jane Mead, CZM, presented the following mock case study to the Task Force.
The Catch-a-Wave Company wants to build a demonstration wave energy project 100 yards offshore of Rockport, MA. The proposed technology amplifies existing wave height and utilizes the resulting energy to spin a turbine. Each unit can produce enough energy to power 1000 homes.
To install the device, Catch-a-Wave must do improvement dredging of approximately 12,000 cubic yards of material from the ocean floor. The device will be constructed on land, floated into place on a barge, and permanently anchored in place. Power will be transmitted to the New England electric grid through a 69kv cable to be buried under the ocean floor, will alter 1,000 sq. ft. of salt marsh as it comes ashore, and will then pass under town streets to the grid.
Agency representatives Arthur Pugsley (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office), Mike Gildesgame (Department of Conservation and Recreation), Lealdon Langely (Department of Environmental Protection), and Joanne Barry (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), described the regulations governing each agency's review and the permitting processes each agency would undertake in reviewing the Catch-A-Wave project. A summary of the comments is outlined below. For more complete details of each agency's review, see the permit guidance document sent to Task Force members in June.
Summary from Regulatory Discussion - The following issues arose from the regulatory discussion: role of the Energy Facilities Siting Board; conflict between section 15 and 16 of the Ocean Sanctuaries Act; need for section 61 (mitigation) finding in the event that EIR is not required; need to strengthen water quality protection from project operations (vs. just construction); and the need for a way to assess cumulative impacts.
Ocean Management Models from Elsewhere
Three speakers from different regions in North America presented information about the current ocean management models being used in their own particular region. The Task Force noted their appreciation for the effort it took for these speakers to attend the meeting, and make presentations to the Task Force members.
Bob Bailey, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
Oregon is the state with the most developed ocean policy program in the country. The process that led to Ocean Plan development took three years and they opted taking a policy approach vs. a zoning approach. The Oregon Ocean Plan is closely linked to its statewide land use planning program and identifies an offshore stewardship area where the state expresses an interest, but not jurisdiction, in federal waters to the extent of the continental slope. In recent years, the program has focused on mapping and managing rocky habitats and more recently in marine protected area (MPA) planning. In pointing out one distinction between Oregon's ocean resources and those in Massachusetts, Mr. Bailey commented that "In Oregon we look at our ocean, in Massachusetts you actually use it". Bob Bailey presentation (PDF, 2.1 MB).
Joe Arbour, Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Joe Arbour discussed the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management (ESSIM) Planning process that is underway in Nova Scotia as part of Canada's Ocean Strategy. The ESSIM project is one of several pilot area based ocean management plans underway in Canada nationally, and the one that is most offshore. The goal of this planning effort is to develop and implement a plan for integrated management of all activities or measures in or affecting estuaries, coastal waters and marine waters. Initiated in 1998, the ESSIM project has worked on defining the planning area and assessing the key issues and present knowledge, and has subsequently spent considerable effort engaging stakeholders through a variety of means, principally workshops. They are presently involved in developing goals, objectives and a management framework. Joe Arbour presentation (PDF, 1.7 MB).
Billy Causey, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has established a zoning scheme to manage the unique ecological and recreational values of the Sanctuary after a long, sometimes contentious process. Billy Causey advised the Task Force not to put lines on the map until goals and objectives are determined and to utilize a process that is precise and science driven but values and incorporates anecdotal information. Billy Causey presentation (PDF, 12.6 MB).
Discussion: Next Steps
Sue Tierney led a short discussion among Task Force members regarding next steps. The next scheduled meeting was a two-day retreat on September 4th and 5th but due to conflicts and a desire among Task Force members to avoid two day meetings, it was decided to rethink the retreat. It was determined that the 15/16th could be considered an alternate timeframe for retreat if the group decided to proceed with new dates.
Susan Snow-Cotter reminded Task Force members of the previously planned series of public informational meetings that the Task Force members would host in different parts of the state in August and September. After some discussion, it was decided that the Task Force would hold off on public meetings until there was something more concrete (such as draft recommendations, or possible options to consider) to offer to the public for comment.
Sue Tierney closed the meeting by thanking all the speakers and Task Force members for their time and dedication.