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National Ocean Policy

Claire Bronson illustrating the National Ocean Policy vision at Coast Zone 2011 ConferenceThe National Ocean Policy, established by Executive Order 13547 on July 19th, 2010, strives to implement the vision statement:

"An America whose stewardship ensures that the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes are healthy and resilient, safe and productive, and understood and treasured so as to promote the well being, prosperity, and security of present and future generations."

The policy states that Federal agencies will “ensure the protection, maintenance, and restoration of the health of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources, enhance the sustainability of ocean and coastal economies, preserve our maritime heritage, support sustainable uses and access, provide for adaptive management to enhance our understanding of and capacity to respond to climate change and ocean acidification, and coordinate with our national security and foreign policy interests.” 

The Policy also created the interagency National Ocean Council to oversee the Policy’s implementation. For more information about the Council please visit

On January 12, 2012, the White House released the draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan for public comment. This draft Plan identifies key actions that will move us toward fulfilling the national vision.

Interior’s bureaus are actively involved in the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and contribute to National Ocean Policy planning in many ways. Some examples include:

  • Interior contributes important geospatial data that bring Federal, state, and tribal partners together to jointly plan for the future of the ocean, our coasts, and Great Lakes through the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning process. By 2015, all Federal non-classified geospatial data and information will be available through the interagency Ocean.Data.Gov web portal.

DOI hosted the National Ocean Council’s Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop June 21-23, 2011.
Learn more.

Yates Auditorium National Ocean Council CMSP workshop
View videos from the Workshop: National Ocean Council Workshop Videos 1-7

  • Interior manages 1.7 billion underwater acres of Outer Continental Shelf. The offshore 5-year oil and gas leasing program and the “Smart from the Start” offshore renewable energy program will both greatly benefit from this coastal and marine spatial planning.
  • Interior manages 34 million acres in 84 marine and coastal National Parks and 180 marine and coastal National Wildlife Refuges with ecosystem-based management. This enables Interior to provide scientific and management expertise to guide large-scale conservation and restoration initiatives on national, regional, state and local levels.

The public can read the draft plan and submit comments at until Feb. 27.

Learn more:

Proceedings of a Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Workshop for the Western United States

Report cover for Open File Report 2011-1152A new report shares the proceedings from a two-day workshop convened on December 1–2, 2010, for DOI representatives and several key non-DOI participants with roles in CMSP. The meeting was a step toward clarifying national perspectives and consequences of the National Ocean Policy for the Western U.S.

An overarching theme was to promote a better understanding of current and future science needs. The workshop format included briefings by key Federal agencies on their understanding of the national focus followed by discussion of regional issues, including the needs for scientific information and coordination.

Meeting discussions helped to develop an understanding of Coastal Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) from the federal perspective and to identify regional priorities. The workshop also explored potential science contributions by Federal agencies and others; utilizing current capabilities, data, and information systems; and provided a foundation for possible future regional workshops focusing in turn on the West Coast Region (California, Oregon, and Washington), Pacific Islands (sometimes referred to as Oceania) and Alaska.