Woods Hole Group coastal geologist Leslie Fields attended a recent NOAA Coastal Services Center workshop on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning, and reports back on the proceedings:
NOAA’s Coastal Services Center recently held a focus workshop for the Multi-Purpose Marine Cadastre (MMC), a GIS-based planning tool developed as part of the national effort for improved Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). The MMC is a joint effort between the NOAA Coastal Services Center and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) to develop a GIS-based framework for serving authoritative data on the legal, physical, ecological, and cultural information important to CMSP.
The workshop was organized to increase the understanding of how the MMC is being utilized, and to assess the need for additional functionality and data. Emphasis was placed on improvements to the MMC that could support offshore renewable energy development. Workshop participants represented key stakeholders in the offshore renewable energy arena, including federal and state agencies, NGOs, and industry representatives. The various stakeholder groups worked together to identify data and functionality needs in the MMC, as well as ways that the tool can improve their work flow processes during the siting, design, environmental analyses, and permitting for offshore renewable energy projects.
The workshop concluded by brainstorming the role of the MMC within the larger CMSP process, including a new National Information Management System (NIMS) called for by the National Ocean Policy, as well as regional and state CMSP efforts. Implementation and integration of CMSP tools at all levels should provide a framework for effective management of the marine environment that addresses protection of the ecosystem, economic activities, user conflicts, and sustainable uses of the ocean.