On behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) serves as the lead state agency for ocean planning—working with other state agencies to balance competing uses of ocean waters while protecting ocean habitats and promoting sustainable economic development. Because ocean issues extend beyond state jurisdictional boundaries, CZM serves on several regional ocean partnerships and works closely with these organizations to coordinate and collaborate on sound ocean management and monitoring approaches within and beyond the Bay State’s borders. These regional ocean partnerships are:
- Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) - NROC is a state and federal partnership whose mission is to provide a voluntary forum for New England states and federal partners to coordinate and collaborate on regional approaches to support balanced uses and conservation of the Northeast region’s ocean and coastal resources. NROC’s co-chairs for 2012-2013 are CZM Director Bruce Carlisle and Bob LaBelle, Science Advisor of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management within the U.S. Department of the Interior. CZM works actively with each of NROC’s committees: Ocean Planning, Coastal Hazards Resilience, and Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health.
- Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body - Under the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning framework of the National Ocean Council, the United States has been subdivided into nine regional planning areas, and each region has a corresponding regional planning body. The Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body is charged with leading the process to develop regional ocean plans that build on existing governmental authorities and planning processes to improve management, siting, and regulatory decisions affecting the region’s coastal and ocean resources and uses. This planning body is comprised of two representatives from each New England state, 10 federal agency representatives, a state member of the New England Fisheries Management Council, and representatives from the 10 federally recognized tribes of the region. CZM Director Bruce Carlisle and Division of Marine Fisheries Director Paul Diodati serve as the Massachusetts delegates to the planning body.
- Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment - This regional organization was established in 1989 by the Governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to foster cooperative actions within the Gulf of Maine watershed. Its mission is to maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine to allow for sustainable resource use by existing and future generations. CZM is an active member of the Council and was the Secretariat from June 2012 to June 2013, with CZM Director Bruce Carlisle serving as Chair of the Council.
- Northeast Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) - Formed in 2008, NERACOOS is a regional nonprofit organization that leads and coordinates the development, implementation, operation, and evaluation of a sustained, regional coastal ocean observing system for the northeast United States and Canadian Maritime provinces, as part of the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). NERACOOS seeks to promote the development, assessment, and dissemination of data and data products that meet the needs of end users. CZM serves on the NERACOOS board and on its Strategic Planning and Implementation Team.
For additional information on CZM’s ocean planning and management activities, see the Ocean Management Program.