Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum

May 5-6, 2022


The Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) held its fourth annual Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forum on May 5 and 6, 2022. The free and virtual Forum gathered ocean professionals and stakeholders representing federal and state agencies, Tribal entities, marine industries, nonprofit research and advocacy organizations, and the public. Scroll below to view recordings and slides from the sessions. Click here to read the Forum Summary.


Forum Goal:

Collaborative planning in the Mid-Atlantic to support a healthy ocean and an equitable, sustainable ocean economy.




  • Identify regional ocean challenges and how climate pressures are impacting ocean ecosystems and economies;
  • Review regional efforts to advance a sustainable ocean economy and healthy ocean ecosystem;
  • Engage diverse ocean stakeholders to identify issues and opportunities that would benefit from MACO regional coordination and collaboration.

DAY 1: Thursday, May 5, 2022

Welcome and Overview


Welcoming and Opening Remarks

Kimberly B. Cole, Chair, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO)

Environmental Program Administrator, Coastal Programs Section, Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control


Forum Overview and Charge

Mike Snyder, Chair, Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO)

Ocean and Great Lakes Program Manager, New York State Department of State


Keynote Speaker


Kisha Santiago-Martinez

Deputy Secretary of State

Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure

New York State Department of State


Blue Carbon as a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy in the Mid-Atlantic


This session examined blue carbon as a climate change mitigation strategy, the value and benefits resulting from carbon storage, suitable locations in the Mid-Atlantic, and innovative mechanisms to provide compensation for the restoration of carbon sequestering ecosystems. Panelists considered opportunities for regional information sharing and equitable implementation of blue carbon programs, and how benefits can be equitably distributed in the Mid-Atlantic, including those in underserved communities.

Moderator: Kari St.Laurent Ph.D., Environmental Scientist, Delaware Coastal Programs


  • Daniel Warner, Associate Scientist, Delaware Geological Survey   Warner Slides
  • Metthea Yepsen, Research Scientist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection   Yepsen Slides
  • Charles Colgan, Research Director, Center for the Blue Economy, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey  Colgan Slides

Poster Session


Featuring research presentations from students and early career professionals. See poster session page for more information.

Moderator: Gerhard Kuska, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System


Sustainable Ocean Ecosystems Panel Discussion


Healthy ocean ecosystems deliver a range of services and benefits, and support the social, economic and environmental needs of this nation. This session  provided examples for conservation strategies which can ensure our resources and ecosystems are sustainably managed and protected, the sustainable use of our oceans is advanced, and the benefits to our stakeholders, communities and nation are maximized.

Moderator: Kevin Hassell, Environmental Specialist, New Jersey Department of  Environmental Protection

– Marta Ribera, Spatial Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy   Ribera Slides

– Daphne Munroe, Associate Professor, Rutgers University   Munroe Slides

– Karl Vilacoba, Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal Project Manager, Communications Director, Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute   Vilacoba Slides

– Chris Haak, Post-doctoral Research Scientist, Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council   Haak Slides

– Letise LaFeir, NOAA Senior Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere   LaFeir Slides

– Laura McKay, Program Manager, Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality   McKay Slides

DAY 2: Friday, May 6, 2022

Planning for Sustainable Ocean Economies


Introduction: Wright Frank, Acting Chief of the Policy Group, Office of Renewable Energy Programs, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Presentation: Deerin Babb-Brott, Executive Director of the Ocean Policy Committee, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy


Sustainable Ocean Economy Issues in the Mid-Atlantic

This session focused on planning for a sustainable ocean economy. Topics include: (i) accommodating increased demand for ocean space while sustaining port access and maritime navigation; and (ii) offshore wind energy transmission, supply chain, port infrastructure and other support needs.


Accommodating future demands for ocean space to sustain port access and maritime navigation


Moderator: Wright Frank

Panel Discussion

– John Stone, Marine Transportation Specialist, U. S. Coast Guard   Stone Slides

– Sean Kline, Director of Maritime Affairs, Chamber of Shipping of America   Kline Slides

– Nick Napoli, MARCO Senior Advisor, NROC Executive Director   Napoli Slides

Offshore Wind: Community impacts, transmission, supply chain, infrastructure support and economic opportunities


Moderator: Mike Snyder, Chair, MACO, Ocean and Great Lakes Program Manager, New York State Department of State

Panel Discussion

– Jim Ferris, Deputy Director, Division of Clean Energy, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities   Ferris Slides

– Chris Gullickson, Director, Economic Development, Port of Virginia   Gullickson Slides

– Josh Kaplowitz, Vice President for Offshore Wind, American Clean Power Association   Kaplowitz Slides


Closing Plenary


This session offered perspectives from ocean stakeholders on sustainable ocean ecosystems and economy issues and the opportunities for regional collaboration on sustainable ocean management.

Moderator: Mike Snyder

Panel Discussion

  • MACO Member Perspective: Mike Jones, Environmental Outreach Program Manager, U. S. Fleet Forces Command/U. S. Navy
  • MACO Member Perspective: Kim Cole, Chair, MARCO Management Board, Environmental Program Administrator, Coastal Programs Section, Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy, Delaware DNREC
  • Indigenous Perspective: Kelsey Leonard, Shinnecock Indian Nation
  • Partner Perspective: Emily Shumchenia, Director, Regional Wildlife Science Collaborative for Offshore Wind
  • Industry Perspective: Jerry Barnes, Marine Affairs Manager, Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, Dominion Energy
  • Non-governmental Perspective: Sarah Winter Whelan, Executive Director, Healthy Ocean Coalition
  • Student Perspective: Riya Ajmera, Monmouth University


Closing Remarks: Kim Cole