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National Ocean Council; Strategic Action Plan Content Outlines

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AGENCY:

Council on Environmental Quality.

ACTION:

Notice of Availability, Strategic Action Plan Content Outlines; Request for Comments.

SUMMARY:

On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (“National Ocean Policy”). The National Ocean Policy provides an implementation strategy, which describes nine priority objectives that seek to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The National Ocean Council is responsible for developing strategic action plans for each of the nine priority objectives. As a first step, Federal interagency writing teams have developed content outlines for each draft strategic action plan. The NOC is seeking public review and comment of these content outlines.

The purpose of the draft content outlines (outlines) is to provide the public with an initial view of potential actions that could be taken to further the national priority objectives. As such, they are an interim step toward development of the first full draft of each strategic action plan. In developing the outlines, the writing teams were informed by the comments received during an initial public scoping period that closed on April 29.

Each outline presents in bulleted form potential actions to further the particular priority objective. It describes the reasons for taking the action, expected outcomes and milestones, gaps and needs in science and technology, and the timeframe for completing the action. The outlines also provide an overview of the priority objective, greater context for the strategic action plan in implementing the National Ocean Policy, and an overview of the preparation of the plan .

Public comments received on the outlines will be collated and posted on the NOC Web site. The comments on the outlines will inform the preparation of full draft strategic action plans, which will be released for public review in the fall of 2011, allowing additional opportunity for the public to provide comments. Final strategic action plans are expected to be completed by early 2012.

DATES:

Comments should be submitted on or before July 2, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

Content outlines can be downloaded here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/​administration/​eop/​oceans. Comments should be submitted electronically at http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/​administration/​eop/​oceans/​comment or can be sent by mail to: National Ocean Council, 722 Jackson Place, NW., Washington, DC 20503. Comments and input may also be provided in person by participating in regional listening sessions that will be convened throughout the U.S. in the month of June. You can learn more about these regional listening sessions by visiting http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/​oceans.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael Weiss, Deputy Associate Director for Ocean and Coastal Policy, at (202) 456-3892.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On July 19, 2010, President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 establishing a National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, our Coasts, and the Great Lakes (“National Ocean Policy”). That Executive Order adopts the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and directs Federal agencies to take the appropriate steps to implement them. The Executive Order creates an interagency National Ocean Council (NOC) to strengthen ocean governance and coordination, identifies nine priority actions for the NOC to pursue, and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes.

The National Ocean Policy provides a comprehensive approach, based on science and technology, to uphold our stewardship responsibilities and ensure accountability for our actions to present and future generations. The Obama Administration intends, through the National Ocean Policy, to provide a model of balanced, productive, efficient, sustainable, and informed ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes use, management, and conservation. The Final Recommendations provide an implementation strategy that describes a clear set of priority objectives that our Nation should pursue to further the National Policy.

The nine priority objectives seek to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. The nine priority objectives are identified below. Additional information about each priority may be found at http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/​oceans. Start Printed Page 33727

Objective 1: Ecosystem-Based Management: Adopt ecosystem-based management as a foundational principle for the comprehensive management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes;

Objective 2: Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: Implement comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning and management in the United States;

Objective 3: Inform Decisions and Improve Understanding: Increase knowledge to continually inform and improve management and policy decisions and the capacity to respond to change and challenges. Better educate the public through formal and informal programs about the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes;

Objective 4: Coordinate and Support: Better coordinate and support Federal, State, Tribal, local, and regional management of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. Improve coordination and integration across the Federal Government and, as appropriate, engage with the international community;

Objective 5: Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Strengthen resiliency of coastal communities and marine and Great Lakes environments and their abilities to adapt to climate change impacts and ocean acidification;

Objective 6: Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Establish and implement an integrated ecosystem protection and restoration strategy that is science-based and aligns conservation and restoration goals at the Federal, State, Tribal, local, and regional levels;

Objective 7: Water Quality and Sustainable Practices on Land: Enhance water quality in the ocean, along our coasts, and in the Great Lakes by promoting and implementing sustainable practices on land;

Objective 8: Changing Conditions in the Arctic: Address environmental stewardship needs in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent coastal areas in the face of climate-induced and other environmental changes; and

Objective 9: Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes Observations, Mapping, and Infrastructure: Strengthen and integrate Federal and non-Federal ocean observing systems, sensors, data collection platforms, data management, and mapping capabilities into a national system and integrate that system into international observation efforts.

These priority objectives are meant to provide a bridge between the National Ocean Policy and action on the ground and in the water, but they do not prescribe specific actions or responsibilities. The NOC is responsible for developing strategic action plans to achieve the priority objectives. As envisioned, the plans will:

  • Identify specific and measurable near-term, mid-term, and long-term actions, with appropriate milestones, performance measures, and outcomes to fulfill each objective;
  • Consider smaller-scale, incremental, and opportunistic efforts that could build upon existing activities, as well as more complex, larger-scale actions that have the potential to be truly transformative;
  • Identify key lead and participating agencies;
  • Identify gaps and needs in science and technology; and
  • Identify potential resource requirements and efficiencies; and steps for integrating or coordinating current and out-year budgets.

The plans will be adaptive to allow for modification and addition of new actions based on new information or changing conditions. Their effective implementation will also require clear and easily understood requirements and regulations, where appropriate, that include enforcement as a critical component. Implementation of the National Ocean Policy for the stewardship of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes will recognize that different legal regimes, with their associated freedoms, rights, and duties, apply in different maritime zones. The plans will be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable international conventions and agreements and with customary international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. The plans and their implementation will be assessed and reviewed annually by the NOC and modified as needed based on the success or failure of the agreed upon actions.

The NOC is committed to transparency in developing strategic action plans and implementing the National Ocean Policy. As the NOC develops and revises the plans, it will ensure substantial opportunity for public participation. The NOC will also actively engage interested parties, including, as appropriate, State, Tribal, and local authorities, regional governance structures, academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, recreational interests, and private enterprise.

Public comments are requested on or before July 1, 2011.

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Dated: June 2, 2011.

Nancy H. Sutley,

Chair.

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[FR Doc. 2011-14056 Filed 6-8-11; 8:45 am]

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