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Ocean Planning in the Northeast

Website for the Northeast Regional Planning Body Plan

Northeast Ocean Plan

As announced in Federal Register Notice 2016-25372

The Northeast Ocean Plan

In October 2016, the Northeast Regional Planning body submitted the revised Northeast Ocean Plan to the National Ocean Council for its review and certification. In December 2016, the National Ocean Council announced its certification of the plan.

The Plan was developed following several years of public engagement, scientific study and data analysis, and collaboration — along with significant feedback from the general public and stakeholders interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources. For more background information about the Plan, please go to the About or Projects pages.

The RPB released a draft version of this Plan on May 25, 2016 and solicited public feedback on it from May 25, 2016 through July 25, 2016. Please see the Draft Plan Page and Draft Plan Comment Repository for more information, including the RPB’s response to comments on the draft plan.


Review the Plan

Download the full Plan as a PDF (203pp, 16M), or review the Table of Contents below to select a specific chapter. The Plan is also available as a low-resolution version (203pp, 9.6M). Development of the Plan was informed by the Baseline Assessment and the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, an essential component of the Plan.

Also available is the Plan Adoption Memo, signed by RPB members and federal principals of the National Ocean Council, and a state addendum to the memo.

Table of Contents

Front Cover and Table of Contents

Download the Front Cover and Table of Contents (PDF) (6pp, 3M)

Chapter 1. The New England Offshore Environment and the Need for Ocean Planning

Download Chapter 1 (PDF) (10pp, 10M)

Chapter 2. Ocean Planning in New England

  • Overall Approach
  • Ocean Planning Process and Timeline

Download Chapter 2 (PDF) (16pp, 11M)

Chapter 3. The Regulatory Environment and Management Actions

  • Marine Life and Habitat
  • Cultural Resources
  • Marine Transportation
  • National Security
  • Commercial and Recreational Fishing
  • Recreation
  • Energy and Infrastructure
  • Aquaculture
  • Offshore Sand Resources
  • Restoration

Download Chapter 3 (PDF) (110pp, 9M)

Chapter 4. Ocean Plan Implementation

  • Intergovernmental Coordination
  • Implementation Responsibilities
  • Monitoring and Evaluation

Download Chapter 4 (PDF) (24pp, 14M)

Chapter 5. Science and Research Priorities

Download Chapter 5 (PDF) (14pp, 3M)

Endnotes, Appendices, and Acknowledgements

Endnotes, Appendices, and Acknowledgements (PDF) (23pp, 3M)

Northeast RPB News

November 15 Northeast RPB Data Workshop Remote Access Webinar Available

November 14, 2017— Webinar available for remote access to November 15 RPB Data Workshop.


Ocean Planning Timeline

  • November 2012 Inaugural Northeast RPB Meeting: Develop common understanding about the RPB; provide context and lay foundation of regional ocean planning; engage stakeholders and the public, discuss initial focus.
    April 2013 Northeast RPB Meeting: Northeast RPB Meeting: Identify draft goals for regional ocean planning and mechanisms for receiving public input about those draft goals; provide opportunities for public input about topics under consideration.
    May/June 2013 Public Comment Meetings: Ten public meetings throughout New England to discuss draft regional ocean planning goals.
  • January Northeast RPB Meeting: approve goals and objectives; move forward on related tasks.
    May/June Public Engagement: Natural Resources Workshops and focused engagement to discuss progress toward goals of effective Decision-Making and Healthy Ocean and Coastal Ecosystems.
    June Northeast RPB Meeting: Review progress toward all goals.
    Fall Public meetings/workshops and Northeast RPB meeting: Feedback on progress toward each goal.
  • Spring Stakeholder Forum: Review progress on the use of marine life and ocean use data, regulatory coordination, and future scenario development.
    June Northeast RPB Meeting: Review approach to developing draft plan by considering agency use of ocean plan data products; discuss draft outline for regional ocean plan.
    Fall Northeast RPB meeting and public meetings: Review revised products for each goal; discuss future work of the RPB.
  • Winter EBM Working Group: Review progress on Draft Northeast Ocean Plan, marine life and habitat data product development, including IEAs Framework.
    Spring Northeast RPB Meeting (via webinar): Release Draft Plan for public review.
    Summer Collect public comment on the Draft Plan through public meetings and other opportunities.
    Fall September public webinar to review changes to the Draft Plan and October submittal of revised Plan to the National Ocean Council.
  • Winter Northeast RPB members and federal principals of the National Ocean Council sign Plan Adoption Memo.
    Spring See Events and Meetings
    April Informational webinar to prepare for stakeholder forum.
    May Stakeholder forum and RPB public meeting.

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