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State of New Jersey-Department of Environmental Protection-Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Ocean Planning

Ocean planning, also referred to as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) or marine planning, is a comprehensive, integrated, science and ecosystem-based approach to address conservation, economic activity and sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources.  The CMP participates in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Council (MARCO) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB) to coordinate ocean planning and resource issues with adjacent states and the federal government.

The aesthetic appeal of New Jersey’s coast provides the impetus for a thriving tourism industry, but the value of this area does not rely on looks alone. The abundant resources in the bays and ocean have attracted fishing, boating and other pursuits since colonial times. Currently fishing, cargo, marinas, boat repair, sand mining, and alternative energy development are examples of viable coastal economic activities. Commercial and recreational fisheries are especially strong in New Jersey and provide a positive economic impact. The CMP strives to encourage and balance the uses of the coastal area, while also encouraging safe, efficient, and environmentally sensitive treatment of the coastal resources.

Managing New Jersey’s coastal and ocean uses and resources is a high priority for the CMP because of the continued and growing demands placed on the ocean environment and the need to coordinate and plan for the resources and uses in a comprehensive manner, ensuring the sustainability of New Jersey’s ocean ecosystem which is vital to the state’s residents, environment and economy. There is an increase in demand to utilize the ocean environment for alternative energy such as wind turbines, with Wind Energy Areas identified offshore New Jersey and New York that are part of highly utilized ocean environment, and conventional sources, such as oil and gas and Deepwater LNG ports; increasing demand for offshore sand for beach nourishment projects utilized in post storm disaster relief; the use of high power seismic surveys in both scientific geologic studies looking at establishing ancient climate records and utilizing similar technology for Oil & Gas survey work in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic OCS planning areas. Coupled with the need for better management of existing uses and resources, it is clear that in order for New Jersey to protect and enhance its resources, uses and economy the CMP will have to continue to focus attention on ocean resources management. 

This will include the continuation of efforts with MARCO, the Mid Atlantic RPB and work with federal agencies to enhance coordination with stakeholders; spatial and informational data compilation, synthesis and analysis; and advancing Ocean Planning as a means to promote ocean ecosystem health, functionality, and integrity through conservation, protection, enhancement, and restoration, while planning and providing for existing and emerging ocean uses in a sustainable manner that minimizes conflicts, improves effectiveness and regulatory predictability, and supports economic growth.


Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean - MARCO

In 2009 the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia signed the Mid-Atlantic Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Conservation. The Agreement established the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) as a partnership to address new ocean challenges and opportunities through agreed upon shared regional priorities. The council also provides a collective voice for the region when addressing federal policies.  

The four shared regional priorities are Climate Change Adaptation, Marine Habitats, Renewable Energy, and Water Quality.  MARCO leverages existing state and federal resources, knowledge, and partnerships to build a stronger base of information and experience to make well-informed decisions in the best interest of the states and their constituents on these priorities.



Improved Use and Understanding of NNBF in the Mid-Atlantic (March 2017)

Although coastal property owners and government agencies are increasingly turning to green solutions over grey ones to combat climate change-driven threats such as sea level rise and more frequent coastal storms, the hurdles to their implementation can be significant. A new report by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) offers guidance for dealing with such barriers for those seeking to apply natural and nature-based features as waterfront defenses.
(Posted May 6, 2017 Marco website)

Developing Wetland Restoration Priorities for Climate Risk Reduction and Resilience in the MARCO Region (December 2016)

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), a partnership of five Mid-Atlantic states, has released a report on the role of Mid-Atlantic coastal wetlands in reducing climate risk. The report examines current practices for identifying and prioritizing wetlands for their ability to reduce climate risk and enhance climate resilience in the region.  The report, prepared by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), identifies opportunities for improving how coastal wetlands can serve as climate buffers in the coastal states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB)

A National Ocean Policy (NOP) was established in 2010, by a Presidential Executive Order, to guide the protection, maintenance, and restoration of America's oceans and coasts.  Federal agencies are required to work in a more coordinated, goal-oriented framework with states, tribes, and stakeholders.  Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) were created to coordinate and implement regional, ocean planning with state, federal, tribal, and Fishery Management Council representatives. The Office of Coastal and Land Use Planning is a member of the Mid-Atlantic RPB (MidA RPB) which was formally established in April 2013.  It leverages existing efforts underway by states and regional entities, and engages stakeholders and technical experts in addressing identified regional priorities for ocean planning efforts.




Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management


NOAA Coastal and Marine Planning




  Common Language for Ocean Uses (pdf)


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Last Updated: March 5, 2020