Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean Update: 2022 Ocean Forum Spurs New Collaborations
With input from stakeholders during the 2022 Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum, the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) is scoping an ocean conservation work group and has formed a Transmission Subcommittee under the Offshore Wind Regional Collaboration.
Some of the potential collaborative activities for an ocean conservation work group may include: 1) provide a forum for discussing what steps could be taken to identify conservation measures, and areas of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean, that should be prioritized for conservation; 2) increase community engagement from diverse sectors in all activities to ensure all stakeholders are represented and DEIJ goals are met. Such engagement may require physically meeting with communities (as COVID restrictions allow) to facilitate dialogue and truly understand the needs and views of those not usually included in discussions of ocean conservation; 3) assist in addressing the Biden Administration’s goal of conserving 30% of the nation’s ocean waters by 2030 (document linked here: Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful 2021) by helping to develop the “American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas” and supplementing the Restoration Atlas and Marine Protected Areas Inventory.
The Transmission Subcommittee plans to create a curated list of existing spatial datasets that are most important to inform the complicated and costly cable siting process and to identify key data gaps. It has begun to identify some of the physical, biological and social/cultural challenges to siting cables in federal waters off New York through Virginia which will lead to the identification of key datasets. Currently members of the subcommittee represent NOAA, DOE, USACE, NJDEP, DNREC, NYDOS.