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New York Ocean Action Plan

DEC released the State of the Ocean 2023 (PDF) that provides an overview of actions taken to advance the New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP) while highlighting partnerships and achievements from the first five years of the OAP that include enhancing ecological integrity, promoting sustainable growth, adapting to change, and empowering public stewardship.

On This Page:

Image of the cover of the New York Ocean Action Plan PDF
Click the image to view the NY Ocean Action Plan (PDF)

The mission of the New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP), (PDF) is to restore, strengthen and maintain the ecological integrity of the state's ocean ecosystem, including estuaries and coastal waters, to benefit all New Yorkers and visitors for this generation and those to come. The OAP promotes an integrated and adaptive approach where management decisions are informed by the best available science. This approach advances protection, restoration, recreation, resilience, and sustainable use of New York's ocean resources.

Goals of the Ocean Action Plan

The OAP (PDF) was released in January 2017 and 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 through a ten-year, sixty-one point 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 efforts.

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

Goal 1: Ensure the ecological integrity of the ocean ecosystem. This goal includes 34 actions that combined aim to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Protect and restore sensitive, inshore, offshore and estuarine habitats
  2. Improve management practices of economically and ecologically important species
  3. Evaluate ecological integrity of New York's ocean ecosystems

Goal 2: Promote economic growth, coastal development and human use of the ocean in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with maintaining ecosystem integrity. This goal includes 9 actions that combine to accomplish two objectives:

  1. Implement and advance offshore planning
  2. Promote sustainable ocean-based industry and recreation

Goal 3: Increase resilience of ocean resources of impacts associated with climate change. This goal's includes 9 actions that combined aim to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Understand our vulnerability to climate change which will allow for
  2. Climate adaptation and coastal planning strategies to be adopted
  3. Sustainable sediment resource management strategies will be adopted

Goal 4: Empower the public to actively participate in decision making and ocean stewardship. This goal includes 9 actions that combined aim to:

  1. Increase stakeholder participation in resource management and offshore planning
  2. Advance ocean education and support stewardship programs

Background of OAP

The corresponding objectives and actions outlined in the OAP were developed collaboratively with an extensive process engaging a diverse group of stakeholders and designed to protect New York's ocean resources which face a multitude of growing challenges that include changing ocean temperatures which affect the health and distribution of valuable fish stocks, making efforts to sustainably manage our fisheries more difficult.

The OAP promotes Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) (link leaves DEC website) which is a comprehensive, place-based approach to resource management that recognizes people as an integral part of any ecosystem and also acknowledges 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.

Implementing the New York Ocean Action Plan

Cover for the NYSDEC 2023 State of the Ocean report
Click the image to view the State of the Ocean 2023 (PDF)

The implementation of New York's Ocean Action Plan will allow DEC to make well-informed management decisions about conserving our ocean resources. Through sponsored programs, monitoring initiatives, competitive research grants, and the extensive efforts of various partners and stakeholders incredible progress has been made toward achieving the actions outlined in the OAP.

The State of the Ocean 2023 (PDF) acts as a critical evaluation of progress towards the OAPs goals since its inception in 2017. This report provides a snapshot of the incredible work being done to advance the 4 goals of the OAP. More information on these actions and projects can be found at the DECs and its partners websites.

New York Coastal Management Program Atlantic Ocean Amendment

The New York Department of State (DOS), 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.

Funding Opportunities

There are a variety of opportunities to fund projects relating to the OAP's Goals. The Funding Finder Tool, developed by the NYSDEC Division of Water in conjunction with the Long Island Sound Study, is designed to simplify the process of finding grant opportunities. The tool enables grant seekers to filter grant opportunities based on criteria that meets their specific needs.

Use the left hand column above to take a closer look at some of the projects we are working on through the New York Ocean Action Plan!

More about New York Ocean Action Plan:

  • Summary of Actions in NY Ocean Action Plan - A summary of the actions recommended in the Ocean Action Plan.
  • Ocean Acidification Task Force - The New York Ocean Acidification Task Force has been established to assess impacts of acidification on the ecological, economic, and recreational health of New York's coastal waters, identifying contributing factors, and recommending actions to reduce and address negative impacts.
  • Ocean Monitoring Projects - Tracking and assessing environmental changes in the ocean and coastal areas is essential to make the best decision for the communities and environment. Highlight: Developing an Ocean Monitoring System and Indicators of Ocean Health for New York Bight
  • Ocean Resource Planning - The ocean provides many basic necessities to the regional community and as technology advances the capacity to harness additional resources are being developed.
  • Ocean Stewardship and Outreach - Understanding and protecting our marine environmental from pollution and exploitation is critical to ensure it's resources are sustained for future generations.
  • Protecting and Conserving Marine Life - New York's marine waters are home to a variety of endangered and threatened species, including fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles.
  • Ocean and Ecosystem Based Fisheries - New York's marine fisheries includes hundreds of marine fish and shellfish that support economically important commercial and recreational fishing industries.
  • Offshore Ocean Habitats and Inshore Estuarine Habitats - New York's marine habitats support a variety of fish, wildlife, and plant species. These species are found in an array of habitat from coastal wetlands to the open ocean.
  • Coastal Resiliency Actions - Planning for climate change and being prepared for extreme weather is necessary for protecting coastal communities in the future.