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New York Ocean Action Plan

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of State (DOS) are pleased to announce the release of the draft New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP). Written comments regarding this proposed Ocean Action Plan will be accepted until March 9, 2015. Comments should be submitted to Debra Abercrombie, NYSDEC Bureau of Marine Resources, 205 N. Belle Mead Rd., Suite 1, East Setauket, NY 11733 or emailed to debra.abercrombie@dec.ny.gov.

The draft Ocean Action Plan (PDF, 1.96 MB) is also available by writing to the address above or calling 631-444-0430.

In addition, comments may be submitted in writing or made verbally at public meetings, scheduled as follows:

  • February 10, 2015: 10:00am - Noon at the Meadows Edge Restaurant, Suffolk County Parks Office, West Sayville
  • February 10, 2015: 7:00pm - 9:00pm at Riverhead Town Hall, Riverhead
  • February 24, 2015: 7:00pm - 9:00pm at Operation Splash, 202 Woodcleft Avenue, Freeport
  • February 26, 2015: 2:00pm - 4:00pm at the Long Beach Public Library, Long Beach
  • Location in New York City to be determined.

What is the New York Ocean Action Plan?

A photo of a squid on a ruler
Squid are one of the many abundant
resources found in New York's ocean waters.

The New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP) is a coordinated and inclusive effort focused on improving the health of our ocean ecosystems and their capacity to provide sustainable benefits to New Yorkers. Together, scientists, resource managers, and a wide range of stakeholders will take stock of New York's ocean-related activities and programs. Through a ten-year action plan, the goal of the OAP is to achieve better-managed and healthier ocean ecosystems that will benefit people, communities, and the natural world. Grounded in short-term actions to reach long-term goals, the OAP will guide State government funding, research, management, outreach, and education choices.

The OAP outlines the following four interconnected goals that reflect New York's priorities for immediate action:

  1. Ensure the ecological integrity of the ocean ecosystem;
  2. Promote economic growth, coastal development and human use of the ocean in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with maintaining ecosystem integrity;
  3. Increase resilience of ocean resources to impacts associated with climate change;
  4. Empower the public to actively participate in decision making and ocean stewardship.

The corresponding long-term objectives and specific actions outlined in the OAP were developed through a stakeholder process with a diverse array of stakeholders, many of whom we would expect to be partners and take the lead in implementing the identified actions.

Why is New York creating the Ocean Action Plan?

New York's ocean resources face growing challenges. Changing ocean temperatures affect the health and distribution of valuable fish stocks, making efforts to sustainably manage our fisheries more difficult. In response to fishery and other management challenges, the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council (Council) called for development of an OAP in its April 2009 report to the Governor and legislature. The Council recognized that current management can be improved by implementing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to ocean management.

What is ecosystem-based management?

Ecosystem‐based management (EBM) is a comprehensive, place-based approach to resource management-distinctive from traditional approaches that manage resources individually. EBM recognizes that people are an integral part of any ecosystem and that ecosystems are vital in supporting human life. EBM also emphasizes the necessity of sound scientific understanding and strong partnerships to address complex and often contentious issues. Using EBM, New York can take a comprehensive look at its ocean and coastal resources, leading to better management decisions and healthier communities and ecosystems.

When will the Ocean Action Plan be finished?

At the close of the public comment period (March 9, 2015), DEC and DOS staff will prepare a public responsiveness document that summarizes and responds to all comments provided. Once revisions are completed, the final OAP will be submitted to DEC and DOS Executive Staff for approval prior to release for public access and distribution.

What areas of the ocean will the Ocean Action Plan address?

The geographic area encompasses the State's ocean waters stretching from New York City to the end of Long Island, including ecological connections to offshore waters out to the edge of the continental shelf. Additionally, given the interconnectedness of ocean waters with nearshore waters, the ecological relationship with several estuaries and their habitats will also be examined: the Peconic, Hudson River, and NY-NJ Harbor Estuaries, Long Island Sound, and the lagoonal bays of the south shore of Long Island-Great South Bay, Jamaica Bay, Moriches Bay, Hempstead Bay, and Shinnecock Bay.

How does the Ocean Action Plan relate to the New York Coastal Management Program's Atlantic Ocean Amendment?

The New York Department of State, working with stakeholders and State and federal partners, is mapping offshore uses and compiling resource data to identify offshore habitat areas and locations that may be best suited for offshore wind energy development. The Atlantic Ocean Amendment to the State's federally approved Coastal Management Program will provide information for a stronger New York voice in decisions on proposed federal actions in the ocean, including projects proposed well beyond State waters. The OAP will help to inform future Amendments to the State's Coastal Program.

Who is leading the Ocean Action Plan process?

The DEC and DOS are coordinating the development of the OAP. For more information please contact Debra Abercrombie at debra.abercrombie@dec.ny.gov or 631-444-0468 or Gregory Capobianco at gregory.capobianco@dos.ny.gov or 518-474-8811.