New uses like wind and tidal energy facilities and aquaculture projects need to co-exist with recreational boaters and transportation networks in our ecologically-sensitive coastal waterways.
How do communities balance competing demands in their coastal waters? How should we decide what uses go where? Regional management plans to ensure that our waters are sustainably used and protected, mandated by the Obama administration, are now being developed. How can stakeholders have a say in that process?
These questions and others relating to regional planning for the near shore areas will be the focus of the 2011 Coastal Communities Conference, entitled "Creating a Blueprint for our Coast", co-hosted by ReMain Nantucket and Egan Maritime Institute. The conference will be held September 29 – 30, 2011, at various locations in downtown Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Speakers include Sally Yozell, Director of Policy for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Grover Fugate, Executive Director of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, and John Weber, Ocean Planning Director for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council.
New computerized marine spatial planning tools convert data into dynamic graphics to help communities visualize the overlapping uses in coastal waters. The conference sessions will demonstrate how to create and use these tools.
Case studies from Nevis/St. Kitts, New Bedford, Gloucester, Aquidneck Island, and Cape Cod Bay will be used to look at competing uses for the near shore area. Attendees will have a chance apply spatial planning techniques to the case study locations during the small group workshops, which will also explore the universal themes that emerge when stakeholders are engaged in the process of planning.
"At the Coastal Communities Conference this year we want to bring together an audience from all along the New England seaboard to learn about how management plans are developed. Our goal is not to use Nantucket's waters as an example, even though Nantucket has been a leader in developing its own harbor plan," said ReMain Nantucket Executive Director, Melissa Philbrick, "but rather take advantage of Nantucket's beautiful downtown to serve as a campus for a region-wide conversation about these issues."
For more information and to register, go to www.coastalcommunitiesconference.org