Every community along the New Jersey coast and throughout the state has a unique individuality. Yet one thing is connecting and certain: each and every one is somehow tied to the sea. With over 130 miles of shore from Sandy Hook to Cape May, it doesn’t take much to find the ocean connection between communities.
Last week, three New Jersey coastal municipalities proudly expressed their connection to the ocean by becoming the first U.S. municipal governments to strongly support the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The Mid-Atlantic OAP creates a more informed and coordinated approach to how we manage our ocean’s resources; ocean planning ensures we make smart decisions about future uses.
Berkeley Township (Ocean County), the Borough of Bradley Beach (Monmouth County), and the City of Asbury Park (Monmouth County) each adopted resolutions supporting a “strong, protective” Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan.
These resolutions recognize the benefits that ocean planning brings to New Jersey, which include:
With ocean planning, all communities have a voice. Just as municipalities plan for how to use their land, regional ocean planning helps New Jersey, our fellow Mid-Atlantic States, tribal nations, and federal agencies to do the same across our shared waters.
Such coordination is critically important given the overlapping and sometimes conflicting responsibilities between dozens of federal, state, and tribal agencies for addressing ocean development and conservation. However, ocean planning also helps elevate the voices of beach goers, recreational fishing communities, municipalities, business, and conservation interests, so they are heard along side those speaking for such things as national security, major corporate interests, and the commercial fishing and shipping industries.
Ocean planning uses the best science available to coordinate a wide variety of governmental decisions — from identifying ecologically rich areas to ensuring uses, like sand mining and wind energy, are sustainable. The planning process also addresses how to improve important issues for our communities, such as marine debris plastic pollution.
At the American Littoral Society, conserving the ocean and coast from harm is part of our fundamental mission. We believe that the best way to fulfill that mission, in light of the increasing demands, is with careful, coordinated ocean planning.
The Society applauds the call for the continuation of a strong, protective ocean plan by our municipal ocean partners and congratulate them for their leadership in the state of New Jersey and the entire Mid-Atlantic region.
You can find copies of the resolutions on the American Littoral Society's Mid-Atlantic Ocean Planning website.