National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan

As part of President Obama's National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (or the National Ocean Policy), the National Ocean Council (NOC) released National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan in April 2013. The Plan describes specific actions Federal agencies will take to address key ocean challenges, give states and communities greater input in Federal decisions, streamline Federal operations, save taxpayer dollars, and promote economic growth.

The Plan specifies that regional stakeholders will determine the scope, scale and content of collaborative marine planning, that participation is voluntary, and that regional planning bodies will be established only in regions that want them. It also recognizes the broad interests in the Arctic in national security, domestic energy and natural resources, and environmental and cultural sustainability as it becomes more accessible due to climate change. Under the Plan, agencies will work together to address challenges in the Arctic region, focusing on data management, accurate mapping and charting, sea-ice forecasting, and readiness for environmental incident response.

One of the priority objectives in the Plan is for "Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification." Specific actions are outlined as steps for achieving this objective. For each action, the report outlines key milestones, identifies responsible agencies, and indicates the expected timeframe for completion. The following actions are proposed:

Action 1: Strengthen and integrate observations from the Nation’s protected areas, research sites, and observing systems into a coordinated network of sentinel sites to track changes in the condition of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes environments and communities.

Action 2: Determine the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification, and interacting stressors on ecological, economic, and social systems.

Action 3: Provide critical projections of climate change impacts on coasts and oceans at decision relevant scales.

Action 4: Assess the vulnerability of coastal and ocean environments and communities to climate change and ocean acidification.

Action 5: Strengthen interagency coordination on the development and provision of information, training, guidance, tools, and support for adaptation practitioners.

Action 6: Design, implement, and evaluate adaptation strategies to reduce vulnerabilities and promote informed decisions.

The National Ocean Council held an extensive public comment period on the draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan to provide stakeholders, users, and the public time to review and provide their input. The Council released nine strategic action plan outlines for public review to provide an initial view as to how Federal agencies might address the priority objectives as described in the National Ocean Policy. During the public comment period June 2 - July 2, 2011, the NOC received over 400 contributions to the NOC web page from over 200 individuals and groups. In addition, about 1000 individuals and groups participated in and provided comments at 12 regional listening sessions. The final Implementation Plan incorporates suggestions on the draft, including key support for local and regional capacity and self-determination, and the development of more and better information related to ocean conditions.



Publication Date: April 16, 2013

Related Organizations:

  • National Ocean Council
  • Executive Office of the President of the United States


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Plans (other)


Go To Resource