Hello OSG Community,
This is Ben Reder, one of the Natural Resource Policy Fellows, reporting to you from Newport, Oregon. To give you a refresher – I am working with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Marine Resources Program (MRP). As a fellow, I am assisting with the current Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) amendment process (aka Oregon’s marine spatial planning effort). This process will eventually lead to the identification of potential areas for renewable energy development within state waters.
When I joined MRP this past October, the data collection effort for the spatial planning process was well underway. What has now been coined the “Nearshore Ecological Data Atlas” (NEDA), is the product of that effort. NEDA consists of data layers that depict oceanographic conditions, important ecological habitats, and information about fish, seabird, and marine mammal distribution. NEDA is now available for public viewing on Oregon MarineMap. As for my fellowship duties, I’ve been assisting in the coordination and review process of metadata for the NEDA geospatial layers. The descriptive information from the metadata was used as abstract information on Oregon MarineMap (OMM). Essentially, users can now click on any given data layer in OMM and access information about when the data was collected, who collected it, and how the data was collected.
MRP is responsible for identifying ecologically significant areas within the territorial sea. DLCD has been responsible for mapping existing human uses, and Ecotrust developed the fishing grounds maps. MRP utilized a software program, Marxan, to help identify the ecological hotspots. Marxan was used to summarize the vast amount of ecological spatial information. For MRP, Marxan provided decision support by identifying areas where many species occur in relatively high abundance.
MRP has wrapped up the effort to produce the “ecological hotspots” map, and DLCD and Ecotrust have also completed their spatial analyses. We now have a series of maps that delineate hotspots for each of the three main Goal 19 resources. This information is now being reviewed by the Territorial Sea Plan Working Group (TSPWG), a sub-group of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council. In addition, the methodology used to identify the ecological significant areas is being reviewed by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). The TSPWG has begun a series of public meetings to touch base with interested citizens regarding the current status of the TSP amendment process, present resource maps and planning options, and receive feedback on how best to proceed with this planning exercise. These public meetings will occur in various locations along the Oregon coast through March 6, 2012. Visit the Oregon Ocean Info website to see the schedule.
That is what I’ve been up to. I will definitely keep you posted on exciting highlights and events related to marine spatial planning in Oregon. Till next time…
Cheers to all,