OpenChannels has a team of dedicated bloggers addressing targeted aspects of ocean planning and management, including communication, technology, ocean uses, and more. Our bloggers are experts in the field, drawing from their own knowledge and experience.

The OpenChannels community can also benefit from your knowledge and experience. We appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this field and welcome the use of OpenChannels for sharing these views. Do you have a perspective on ocean planning you would like to share? We'll help you do that right now: just click the button above and follow the prompts. If you are interested in blogging but have questions, please email Raye Evrard at raye [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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Construction and development pressures are seen as the major threat to Mediterranean coastal zones, according to a survey conducted by the EU-funded Mare Nostrum Project among 43 environmental organizations in 11 countries.

“The groundbreaking survey wishes to identify what environmental organizations see as the major threats to Mediterranean coastal zones,” said Mare Nostrum project initiator and coordinator Prof. Rachelle Alterman from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. “Clearly, uncontrolled development is a serious problem across the entire Mediterranean Basin.”

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Dispatch from the field, by Waitt Institute Science Manager Andy Estep

If you’re a geology nerd like me, hearing of Montserrat makes you think “the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, precariously perched on the Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc along the eastern subduction zone of the Caribbean plate.” The incredible volcanology that has been forming and shaping Montserrat since the Pleistocene is fascinating. But as a geologist who has become a marine biologist, I can tell you Montserrat is also very alive and fascinating underwater.

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By Alyssa Newton Mann
Regional Research and Planning Specialist, USC Sea Grant

Our climate is changing in unprecedented ways. Here in California, one effect of climate change—sea level rise—generates great concern for coastal cities. And the sea is already rising. Over the next century, sea level rise in the Los Angeles region is expected to match global projections with and increase of 0.1 – 0.6 m (5-24 inches) from 2000 to 2050 and 0.4 – 1.7 m (17-66 inches) from 2000 to 2100[1]. Rising seas, combined with the threat of other coastal impacts such coastal erosion, high tides and severe storms are driving coastal communities to begin planning for these challenges and identifying strategies to adapt.

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Posted on May 13, 2015 - 10:12am, by karen

World-Leading Marine Plans Signed in British Columbia

On April 27, 2015, after more than a decade of work, the BC Government and 18 First Nations announced world-leading marine plans for the northern coast of British Columbia. The Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) brings nearly 40,000 square miles of coastal waters under ecosystem-based management — protecting the marine environment while sustaining vibrant coastal communities whose culture and commerce depend on a healthy ocean. It represents a significant step forward in the smart management of the Pacific coast of North America.

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Through the New Wave blog series, we’ve heard from many new voices in the CMSP community, sharing information about their marine planning efforts. The goal of the New Wave series is to share lessons learned from a new leaders in marine planning to generate conversation among coastal professionals. Reading examples from across the United States, we’ve seen that coastal and marine planning is not only possible in the Northeast; it is happening right now from the U.S. Pacific to the U.S. Caribbean.

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Implementation is the process of converting a spatial plan from words on a page to an understanding, and a reality, for your partner agencies and stakeholders. While designing a new management plan, many resource managers don't consider the effort required for the written plan to become a living, working process. This week in "A New Wave" we hear from Grover Fugate, describing Rhode Island's process to align it's Ocean Special Area Management Plan with Federal jurisdictions.

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Alfonso Lombana is a Marine Scientist with The Nature Conservancy and is a lead on the data team with the Mid Atlantic Ocean Data Portal. For over 15-years, Al has designed and implemented conservation projects throughout the world’s threatened ecosystems and has achieved lasting solutions to threats such as urbanization, overharvesting, and climatic changes. His expertise in adaptive management, spatial conservation planning, and GIS Is helping institutions develop strategic plans that protect endangered species and habitats while maintaining sustainable resource use, for maximum benefit to people and nature. Here, Al answers questions about a data portal with mapping capabilities for the Mid-Atlantic States.

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By Jennifer Hennessey, Ocean Policy Lead, Washington State Department of Ecology

Washington’s Pacific Coast has superb coastal and marine resources that support a wide range of important uses. Having a marine spatial plan will enable Washington to safeguard its current marine assets and the uses that rely on them, while making it possible for future opportunities and ocean uses.

In 2010, Washington passed a state law containing guidance on the overall purpose and need, principles and specific requirements for a marine spatial plan. However, it is fairly broad and the planning team felt it was necessary to summarize the overarching purpose and goals of our plan as well as better define the scope and planning area.