Monday, April 29, 2013

Future of Marine Spatial Planning undecided as legislature takes a break

In order for Marine Spatial Planning to move forward for Washington's Pacific Coast, the State Legislature needs to secure several million dollars in the state's budget. Yesterday, April 28th, state law makers allowed the last day of regular session to pass by without agreeing on a final budget. As a result, funding for Marine Spatial Planning is uncertain.

Marine Spatial Planning kicked off on Washington's coast with seed money from the State in 2012. Just last week, stakeholders and managers met in Aberdeen to discuss the goals for this process that would help shape the future of human uses on our coast. Casey Dennehy, Surfrider's Washington Coast Project Coordinator, attended these meetings and spoke in favor of protecting special places for recreation and healthy ecosystems.

The State Legislature will reconvene on May 13th and try to reach a compromise on numerous budget items, including Marine Spatial Planning. Hopefully they will do the right thing for our ocean and coast and continue the great work that has been started to map existing uses and consider how to balance new uses while protecting human enjoyment and a healthy ocean.