In October, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida signed an agreement to form the South Atlantic Alliance, pledging to work together to better manage and protect coastal resources while ensuring economic sustainability and resiliency.
The Alliance will bring together federal partners and stakeholders from the academic, non-governmental, and business communities to address the complex relationship between humans and the marine environment. Four initial priority issue areas have been established:
“The Nature Conservancy applauds the governors’ leadership in creating a regional ocean governance structure for the Southeast and looks forward to working collaboratively on conservation actions identified by the South Atlantic Alliance,” said Mary Conley, Southeast marine conservation director for The Nature Conservancy.
Long recognizing the value of ecosystem-based conservation and the need for regional coordination, The Nature Conservancy participated in planning discussions leading to the creation of the South Atlantic Alliance. Across the country and in the Southeast, the Conservancy is engaging in regional ocean-protection efforts by providing data, fostering the use of marine spatial planning as a management tool, and sharing conservation expertise.
In the Southeast, our coasts and oceans are important to our livelihood and quality of life. People turn to the water for food, recreation, and transportation. At the same time, these waters support a vast array of natural resources – from coastal salt marshes and seagrasses to the birds, fish, and marine mammals that feed and live along our shores.
But our coasts and oceans face increasing pressure and conflict. Coastal development impacts water quality and increases risk to human life during hurricanes and coastal storms. Increases in sea level and climate change also are altering natural and human communities. Commercial and recreational uses can crowd our waterways, causing conflicts between man and with nature. At the same time, ecosystems and species do not recognize even well-intentioned political boundaries, making effective coastal and ocean management a challenge.
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.
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