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Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force
November 24, 2003, Meeting Summary
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force met on the WHOI Quissett Campus in Woods Hole, MA on November 24, 2003. Present at the meeting were the following Task Force members: Susan Tierney, Chair, Tom Cox, William Adler, Jim Hunt, Tom Skinner, Jack Clarke, Larry Wheatley, Dale Brown, Rip Cunningham, Betsy Nicholson, Tim Timmermann, Greg Watson, David O'Connor, John Simpson, Tim Smith, Robert O'Leary, Judy McDowell, Robbin Peach, Richard McGuinness, Paul Diodati, Tom Cox, Randy Tucker, Corinne Young and Priscilla Brooks.
Susan Tierney opened the meeting at 10:05 am with a welcome to everyone, a thank you to the WHOI Sea Grant and Judy McDowell for hosting the Task Force and a thank you to all involved to date for their hard work in the drafting of the preliminary recommendations. She noted there was a lot more to do with public meetings in the near future, and the crafting of final recommendations.
The Task Force reviewed the agenda for changes. The proposed timeline for completion of the report sections and the public hearing schedule was reviewed. The scheduled public release by the Secretary of the Task Force's Report is February 26, 2004, three months from now. Between now and December 1, the recommendations will be fine-tuned. On December 9, the recommendations will be released publicly. The public informational gathering meetings are scheduled for December 10, 11 and 15. All Task Force members are strongly encouraged to attend at least one public meeting. The Task Force will meet on December 19 in New Bedford to review the recommendations and the public informational meeting input. Throughout December the Working Groups will continue to draft their narratives and recommendations in view of the information gathered from the public. On January 12, a draft report will be available for review to the Task Force with all the narrative and recommendations. January 14 is the last scheduled Task Force meeting prior to final editing and lay-out. The report will go to the printer in February. A meeting was scheduled for January 27, 2004, should the need arise for another meeting.
Questions from Task Force members on the schedule included how the public would be notified about the meetings and how the meetings will be conducted. The public will be notified through e-mail, press release and on the web - Task Force members asked to see the notice ASAP. The meetings will be conducted in the following manner: each will be co-chaired by Task Force members, the meetings will start with a brief Power Point presentation similar to the Chair's presentation at the Aquarium meeting, a walk through of the recommendations, introduction of Task Force members, then open the meeting to the public for their input - not a dialogue but a public comment format. CZM staff will be the note takers; bulleted notes will be posted on the web. Written comments can also be submitted through the website; an existing address is currently available at the Task Force's web site (firstname.lastname@example.org). Written comments will be taken through January 15. The meetings are: December 10, in Boston at the Moakley Courthouse from 3pm-5pm, also on December 10, in Worcester at the Broad Brook Meadow Sanctuary from 7pm - 9pm, on December 11 in Yarmouth at the Yarmouth Council on Aging Center from 7pm - 9pm, and on December 15 there will be meetings in both Gloucester and New Bedford; both meetings will be from 7pm - 9 pm, at the Cape Ann Historical Association and New Bedford Public Library, respectively.
An initial outline of the Task Force's Report to the Secretary was distributed to Task Force members. The outline is as follows: Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Letter from Chair, Executive Summary, Introduction (Background; Charge, Process); Principles; Oceans as a Public Trust Resource; Resource Characterization; Resource Characterization Recommendations; Use Characterization; Use Characterization Recommendations; Framework/Policy; Framework/Policy Recommendations; Recommendation Matrix; Summary Conclusion; and, Appendices. The Task Force discussed the look and cost of the final product i.e. color, graphics pictures etc. The idea of a separate Executive Summary that was glossy was discussed, as well as putting it on the web or distributing it as a CD-ROM.
Recommendations - Framework Working Group
The Framework Working Group met two or three times brainstorming on appropriate approaches and critical success factors. A straw man approach, developed by CZM staff, built on a modified Chapter 91 process.
The Framework Working Group Recommendation # 1 - the creation of a Comprehensive Ocean Resources Management Act. The Act will retain environmental protections associated with public trust resources; assures opportunities and mechanisms for sound resource management and use; streamlines certain parts of the array of existing statutes governing the use and protection of the Commonwealth's oceans; grants authority to the Secretary to create Ocean Management Plans; grants authority to an entity to assure permit actions of the state and local government are consistent with the Plans; authorizes the collection and dissemination of ocean resource and use data; and authorizes the establishment of a fee for the use of public trust ocean resources.
Comments from Task Force members on the proposed recommendation were as follows: The word "streamlining" needed clarification - did it mean shorten deadlines, or less people in the decision making process, less steps in the process, doing more with less, a predictability in the process, or a consolidation of programs? The relationship of this recommendation to the Policy Working Group recommendation #2 - enhancing the role of the Secretary or amending the Coastal Zone Management Program to include the ocean concept. Like the Director of CZM, there could be an Assistant Secretary in the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Was the Ocean Coordinating Council advisory to the Secretary or decision-making, and what was the ability of the Council to withstand political changes? The MWRA was given as a model. There were concerns about the level of complexity, the addition of layers of bureaucracy and the need for expertise in the decision making process. How much detail should the recommendations have prior to the public hearings and in finality? Many noted that final decisions could not be made without further details forthcoming. The difference between a fee and a license - a license is done legislatively - certain licenses like a salt-water fishing license would require a dedicated fund. Fees like the Chapter 91 occupation and displacement fees are set through regulation. The federal government would view Recommendation #3 as an extension of jurisdiction beyond state waters.
Comments on the principles received to date are as follows: They are too general. The Precautionary Principle should have been included. Stronger action wording is needed. The acknowledgement of the working waterfront and fishing culture should be added. There is more included in the Public Trust Principle than access. The Working Group discussed all comments and no changes were suggested. The principle purpose was not to resolve disputes and pick winners or losers. The use of more aggressive wording was not selected because the principles design was to give guidance consistent with values. The Precautionary Principle is controversial, new science, the policy is unresolved, prove no harm or don't do. There was no consensus in the Working Group to include. The Working Group decided to keep the Principles as is for the public hearings.
Recommendations - Policy Working Group
Recommendation #2 - folded into #1
Recommendation #3 - Task Force members realized this was an extension of state authority. They focused on the ability and use of CZM's Consistency Provisions with enforceable state policies to alter a federal action in adjacent waters that will affect the resources or the uses of the resources. NOAA must approve enforceable CZM policies. With some re-drafting, Recommendation #3 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #4 - The Task Force was comfortable with Recommendation #4 as retooled by Recommendation #1.
Recommendation #5 - The Task Force had several comments on fees. Some noted that fees were a detail and this was not the right place for them. Others noted that some fees should increase while others should decrease. Others noted still that fees need a broader evaluation based on the value of public land used. The incorporation of Chapter 91 fees into a dedicated fund was discussed as well as the difference of an occupation fee and a mitigation fee. Recommendation #5 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #6 - Task Force members commented that this was not an easy measure as there are no judgment criteria and it is a subjective issue. Harm done to users would be covered under a mitigation recommendation that will be developed later. Recommendation #6 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #7 - Task Force members noted its relationship to Recommendation #1. Recommendation #7 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #8 - Recommendation #8 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #9 - Task Force members noted its relationship to Recommendation #14. The best scientific information was to be used to identify important areas such as spawning areas. Areas such as a spawning area would not be totally closed i.e. a motor vessel could cross a spawning area. Judy, Bill Priscilla and Rip and others will oversee the combination of Recommendation #9 and #14.
Mitigation and Cumulative Impacts cannot be dealt with before the public meetings; information on these subjects could be weaved into Recommendation #7 at a later date.
Recommendations - Data Trends and Needs Working Group
Recommendation #10 - Task Force members noted the cost and need of this recommendation. Monitoring of the resource is a function of government. The implementation of this would be a real and major investment. It was noted that resource-monitoring agencies that are in the data collection business have lost staff due to the budgetary restrictions and fiscal constraints of the state. Task Force members noted that to do the management you must have the necessary information. Recommendation #10 will go forward for public comment with wording changes.
Recommendations #11 - Costs were again noted with this recommendation but the recommendation is necessary to accomplish the task of ocean management. Recommendation #11 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #12 - Task Force members noted that the burden of costs should be related to the size of the impacts. Recommendation #12 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #13 - The Director of Marine Fisheries asked how this recommendation was different from the Division of Marine Fisheries responsibilities. It was noted that fisheries is only part of the recommendation, and that physical oceanographers, water quality experts and others have to be added to the mix. The question of what is the baseline was raised; it was pointed out that defining the baseline would be a good starting point. It was also noted that this work was done in the past but that the administration's budget cuts have effectively halted its continuance. Recommendation #13 will go forward for public comment.
Recommendation #14 was combined with Recommendation #9.
Recommendation #15 - Task Force members noted that the money for this has to come from somewhere and it cannot be done under the present budget. Recommendation #10 would cover this if economics are included and the Use Characterization Work Group's work dovetails with this recommendation. Task Force members noted that conclusions drawn from the results of this recommendation could be the basis for many recommendations. Recommendation #15 will be combined with Recommendation #10, the Chair volunteered to take the lead in redrafting.
Recommendations Use Characterizations Working Group
Recommendations #16 - #17 - # 18 - Task Force members asked for details on the difference between recommendations #16 and # 18. Recommendation #16 adds resource data to the use and characterization maps; recommendation #18 looks for dialogue among and between the user groups. The recommendations are both long-term and short-term. The long-term examination looks backward and forward with historic trends and proposed projects incorporated into a GIS model. The short-term is a general set of maps generated for the report. Future models will be GIS compatible so it can fit into wider data sets such as land use. Recommendations #16 - #17 - #18 will go forward for public comment.
The Chair summarized the day's proceedings as follows: A cover letter will be prepared to introduce the Preliminary Recommendations to the public. Recommendation #1 will be an omnibus new framework with more discussion on the 5 options. Recommendations #2 through #8 go forward; #9 and #14 are combined and #10 and #15 are combined. Also in the package will be a mention of education and outreach recommendations and sustainability. What is not covered is who is responsible for implementing the recommendations and their cost. Staff will develop a minimum of three options for Ocean Management administration. In the cover letter we will ask the public what they think about the recommendations. This will be posted on the Website, press release and e-mail to all who have submitted e-mail addresses. Hard copies will be made available for pick up at the CZM Office.
The meeting adjourned at 2:45 pm