In fall 2017, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the Surfrider Foundation co-hosted a series of four workshops in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia. MARCO is a partnership of Mid-Atlantic governors formed to address shared ocean priorities. The workshops focused on non-consumptive recreational uses, such as beach going, swimming, wildlife viewing, surfing, and diving.

The objectives for the meetings were laid out in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan (Ocean Plan), which was finalized in December of 2016. The objectives include: (1) Improving communication and feedback between non-consumptive recreational users and government agencies; (2) Improving understanding of use conflicts for non-consumptive recreational users; and, (3) Exploring how important recreation areas could be identified.

The Ocean Plan was the product of years of work by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB). The RPB is a round table of State and Federal agencies, working together to improve ocean management in the Mid-Atlantic. The Ocean Plan has many specific actions, including these recreation workshops.

Ocean and coastal related federal agencies such as the EPA, BOEM, and the Coast Guard sent representatives to the workshops. State representatives hosted the workshops in their respective locations. MARCO will complete a report about the workshops, which can then guide federal and state government agencies to make positive steps for better management of non-consumptive recreation.

The recreation workshops were just one of many actions from the Ocean Plan that were implemented over the last year, since the Plan was finalized. To hear more about the progress implementing ocean planning please read our story here.