In December 2009, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) issued the Commonwealth’s first‐ever Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, culminating an intensive planning process launched with the signing of the Oceans Act in May 2008. The ocean plan provides protections for critical marine habitat and important water-dependent uses and sets standards for new ocean-base development. The plan’s management framework is implemented within the existing regulatory structure, with the relevant agencies coordinating review and approval of proposed ocean projects.

The Oceans Act requires EEA to review and update the ocean plan at least once every five years. As with the development of the original plan, this process is led by EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). On September 24, the 2014 draft ocean plan, which presents the first formal amendment of the 2009 ocean plan, was released for public review and comment.

This website provides links to the 2014 draft ocean plan, a description of the review and update process, and links to the ocean plan data, 2009 final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, and 2009 draft ocean plan and related documents.

2014 Draft Ocean Plan

On September 24, 2014, EEA released the first formal amendment of the 2009 ocean plan for public review and comment. See the Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, September 2014 web page for copies of this document, along with instructions for submitting comments by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

Process to Review and Update the 2009 Ocean Plan

In January 2013, EEA initiated a formal review and update of the 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, beginning with a comprehensive assessment of progress and performance to achieve the requirements and commitments established by the Oceans Act and the ocean plan. EEA released the results of this assessment in Review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan pdf format of Review of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan
file size 2MB, which provides a summary of the background and context for ocean planning in Massachusetts and reports on the ocean plan development process, including the policies and management framework, plan administration and implementation, and work on science and data priorities identified in the Science Framework. The document also synthesizes the views and opinions of the members of the state’s Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council on the ocean planning and implementation process, and summarizes stakeholder and public input received during a public review process in June 2013.

In June 2013, through four public meetings and a formal 60-day comment period, EEA gathered input on the proposed scope for updates to the 2009 ocean plan. Also that month, EEA convened six technical work groups to review scientific data and information and identify and characterize important trends in ocean resources and uses. At meetings in the fall and winter of 2013-2014, the Ocean Advisory Commission and Science Advisory Council reviewed draft technical work group reports. In March 2014, CZM, with support from SeaPlan (formerly the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership) held two public workshops to share information and solicit input and feedback on the findings and recommendations of the work groups. The final work group reports are provided below.

For additional details on the review and update process through May 2014, see the Review and Update of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan fact sheet pdf format of Massachusetts Ocean Plan Review and Update Factsheet
file size 2MB.

Based on the work group technical reports and input from advisory bodies, workshops, and public and stakeholder meetings, efforts over the spring and summer 2014 were focused on the development of the 2014 draft ocean plan, which was released for public review and comment on September 24, 2014. See the Draft Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, September 2014 web page for copies of this document, which includes further details on the review and update process. This page also provides instructions for submitting comments on the draft plan by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

Ocean Plan Data

All of the spatial data provided in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan are hosted in the Massachusetts Ocean Resource Information System, or MORIS. MORIS is an online mapping tool that can be used to search and display spatial data pertaining to the Massachusetts coastal zone and is the official data repository for the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan. Launch MORIS to view, query, and map the data.

2009 Final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan

See the 2009 Final Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan web page for links to the final version of the original ocean plan, which was promulgated on December 31, 2009.

2009 Draft Plan and Related Documents

See the 2009 Draft Plan, Technical Reports, and Planning Documents web page for links to the draft 2009 Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan, along with technical reports and other materials that were produced to support plan development.