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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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.

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Don Côqayohômuwôk Chapman was responsible for developing the Department of Commerce Tribal Consultation Policy as the Senior Policy Advisor on Native American Affairs in the 1st Obama Administration. He also has been a participant and contractor supporting tribal engagement and participation in the National Ocean Council, National Ocean Plan, and NOP implementation processes. Don is a member of the Mohegan tribe of Connecticut.

Working as the Senior Policy Advisor on Native American Affairs for the Department of Commerce, I worked with a multitude of tribes as the national dialogue evolved about the National Ocean Policy (NOP) Regional Planning Bodies (RPB), and tribal participation. The NOP represented one of the first times that federally-recognized tribes would participate as co-leads alongside federal and state agencies in the comprehensive ocean resource planning process.

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By Kristine Cherry, GSAA Coordinator

In the realm of ocean, coastal, and natural resource management, complex and diverse authorities, responsibilities, and interests make increasingly clear the need for partnerships that bring together decision-makers and invested stakeholders outside of traditional formal or legal interactions. But how do you make partnerships work effectively? The solutions are as diverse as the people involved and places in which partnerships develop, so I am pleased to share with you the model that has been established by the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance.

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Posted on March 18, 2015 - 8:03am, by PJSJones

The UK Government's budget statement rarely gives cheer to marine conservationists, but this year was different, as buried in p.97 of the red book were the words:

"2.259 Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Pitcairn – The government intends to proceed with designation of a MPA around Pitcairn. This will be dependent upon reaching agreement with NGOs on satellite monitoring and with authorities in relevant ports to prevent landing of illegal catch, as well as on identifying a practical naval method of enforcing the MPA at a cost that can be accommodated within existing departmental expenditure limits"

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When you land on Montserrat, your passport gets stamped with a shamrock. That is the first sign that the island has a bit of magic. The air is warm, but the people are warmer. This video introduces some of the faces and vistas of this wondrous place, the second island where the Waitt Institute has launched its Blue Halo Initiative (see press release).

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Establishing the geographic boundaries of your planning area sets more than simply the physical size of your planning process. Stakeholders, partner agencies, and issues to solve will each change as your planning area—the area you have management authority for—changes. It’s important to clarify your planning area boundaries at the outset of the process. Beyond the planning area, there may be areas outside your jurisdiction that may have an impact on your planning efforts. You will want to assess what’s happening outside your boundaries as well. In some cases, this expanded assessment occurs with other states, or other regions. In some planning areas, this will require international cooperation. Here, we read about the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership’s efforts with coastal and marine spatial planning, as a region working with international neighbors.

About the Author: Aurora M. Justiniano, PhD., is a conservation planner with The Nature Conservancy in Puerto Rico, where she helps coordinate the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership.