SSB 6350, Marine Waters Planning and Management, protects marine ecosystems in Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, the outer coast and the open ocean.
The Nature Conservancy congratulates the Washington State Legislature and Gov. Christine Gregoire for enacting legislation that puts our state at the forefront of managing the ocean and coasts for people and nature.
SSB 6350, Marine Waters Planning and Management, introduced and championed by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan, was signed into law today. The bill protects marine ecosystems in Puget Sound, Juan de Fuca Strait, the outer coast and the open ocean and reduces user conflicts by establishing a state interagency planning process.
This process, known as marine spatial planning, will bring together all the agencies responsible for managing ocean and coastal waters, as well as coastal communities and others with a stake in ocean resources to develop a comprehensive framework. This information will then help develop solutions that reduce conflicts between users, align existing management plans, and better manage our important marine resources for the benefit of everyone.
“We commend Sen. Ranker for his leadership on this important legislation,” said Karen Anderson, Washington director for The Nature Conservancy. “Like sprawl on the land, the demand for space in our oceans and on our coasts is growing. Renewable energy, fishing, recreation, shipping and marine species are all competing for space. This legislation allows us to plan the uses of our ocean waters for multiple uses and multiple benefits.”
This new legislation will enable Washington to apply for federal funds for marine spatial planning and related issues such as seafloor mapping, data collection and science. It aligns with federal and regional efforts to advance ocean planning, as a similar planning approach for federal waters was initiated last year by President Barack Obama. This bill also puts Washington at the forefront of a growing global community that is using a comprehensive planning process for managing ocean resources.
Sen. Ranker thanked the Conservancy for supporting the bill. “I appreciate the support of The Nature Conservancy throughout this process. Their spatial data and tools will be a great resource to the state as it begins to work on a marine spatial planning process that maximizes the benefits that our Sound and ocean provides – both ecologically and economically,” Ranker said.
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.