Friday, May 14, 2010

Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan

Massachusetts' largest public trust is its 1500 miles of coastline with 1.6 million acres of subtidal land. In May, 2008 Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Massachusetts Ocean Act designed to safeguard these waters. After one and half years of research, analysis, and five public hearings, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan on Jan. 4, 2010. This comprehensive plan is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is considered a critical building block in the Obama administration's effort to create a National Ocean Policy around regional ocean management plans.

Commercial use is balanced with personal recreation and preservation of ocean habitat and marine life. It ends decades of adhoc decision-making by protecting and responsibly developing the state's oceans and coastal waters. The document identifies areas suitable for renewable energy development, initiates a five year program of high priority research, and institutes stronger siting and performance standards for environmental resources. New protections for marine life and habitats are added, and revised management provisions for Regional Planning Authorities around wind energy development are provided.

The management plan is available in the Library's electronic repository of state documents.