The Nature Conservancy congratulates President Obama today for his bold executive order that sets forth a new and more effective way of managing our oceans and the Great Lakes for people and nature.
The order creates a national policy for ocean stewardship and directs the federal government to make regional plans for ocean and coastal resources and the Great Lakes.
“What’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico with the oil spill has drawn attention and awareness to the importance of all of our coastal resources, including the Great Lakes,” said Helen Taylor, The Nature Conservancy’s state director for Michigan. “The intersection where land and water meets is a unique and fragile system that needs thoughtful, informed management to keep it clean and functioning for people and nature. This action taken by the president helps get us closer to the goal of ensuring the Great Lakes are among the best managed ecosystems on Earth.”
On any given day in the ocean and the Great Lakes, commuter ferries, sailboats, Coast Guard vessels, cruise boats, fishing boats and freighters all vie for space. The scene gets even more crowded with the addition of offshore energy and a host of other activities. These uses affect each other as well as the marine and freshwater environment.
The executive order’s bold new approach for managing these uses is called coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP). Much like land-use planning, CMSP uses science to paint a picture of how the ocean and the Great Lakes can support multiple human activities, marine and freshwater life and natural resources. This blueprint provides the information needed to help accommodate different uses and minimize conflicts, while ensuring the health of ocean and freshwater ecosystems.
The Nature Conservancy is on the front lines supporting these efforts, working with fishermen, government officials, industry and scientists to share our experience, policy expertise and our data to help advance coordinated planning.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.