Posted on October 4, 2016 by Sarah Winter Whelan
The Healthy Oceans Coalition (HOC) recently visited Washington, D.C. to meet with leaders at the National Ocean Council (NOC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about the importance of our National Ocean Policy (NOP) and ocean planning. The HOC team consisted of the American Littoral Society’s Ocean Policy Program Director, Sarah Winter Whelan and Jenna Valente, the Healthy Oceans Coalition Coordinator; Jennifer Felt, Ocean Campaign Director for the Conservation Law Foundation, Lindsay Hirt, a marine biologist from the Northeast, Sarah Lavenhar, Co-Director of the Mangrove Action Project, Sheryl Gilmore Director of the Acadia Institute of Oceanography, and Danielle Duncan, Policy Advisor for the Colorado Ocean Coalition.
The group first met with the White House’s NOC Director, Deerin Babb-Brott where we highlighted the importance of the NOP for the work we all do in the places that we work – the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, West Coast and internationally. We also spent time talking about the pending submission of the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan and Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan to the NOC for certification this year that will help guide conservation and sustainable use of these region’s ocean and coastal resources through better science-based decision making and collaboration by federal, state and tribal entities.
Following the NOC meeting, the group spent some time enjoying D.C. with a photo op at the White House before moving on to an afternoon meeting with Dr. Christine Blackburn, Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management along with Coby Dolan, Director of NOAA’s Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. We spoke to them about the importance of the NOP to the work of our organizations and to emphasize the value of smart, conservation-based ocean plans.
We are appreciative of our dedicated HOC members that flew in from every corner of the country to discuss their work and show support for our Nation’s first ocean policy for the stewardship of our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes.