The OSU Marine Council established an Action Coordination Team (ACT) that will work actively to enhance the university's connection and coordination with the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health (WCGA). The goal of this ACT is to identify and pursue opportunities to interact with the WCGA, and to keep the Marine Council informed of their policy initiatives and funding opportunities.
Dr. Stephen Brandt
The WCGA was launched in 2006 by the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington to demonstrate their collective commitment to protecting the health of the West Coast’s ocean and coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend on them. The three states of the WCGA partner with federal agencies (NOAA/Department of Commerce; Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement/Department of Interior; and EPA) to better coordinate efforts, and to ensure that state, regional, and national goals and priorities align.
WCGA Action Teams
The WCGA has created 10 tri-state and federal teams to address the following regional issues: (1) climate change, (2) marine debris, (3) seafloor mapping, (4) renewable ocean energy, (5) Spartina eradication, (6) sediment management, (7) ocean awareness and literacy, (8) polluted runoff, (9) integrated ecosystem assessments, and (10) sustainable coastal communities. The first eight teams have finalized their implementation plans, and the last two have released draft plans for public comment. A number of OSU marine science faculty and extension agents are members of those teams. In FY10, the WCGA received $500,000 from the federal government to implement actions identified in those plans.
The WCGA, along with other regional ocean partnerships throughout the nation, has received recognition by President Obama’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force in their recently released National Ocean Policy Report. The Task Force calls for regional ocean partnerships to take the lead in coordinating Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP), and has proposed that $20 million be provided to advance CMSP.
The WCGA ACT has identified areas where OSU is already partnering with the WCGA, and proposes strategies to enhance coordination and collaboration. This is a mutually-beneficial relationship that could strengthen OSU’s regional and national recognition and provide funding opportunities, while improving the scientific integrity of the WCGA’s efforts.
Research, Engagement, and Partnerships
WCGA Teams - Several of the WCGA teams have OSU marine scientists as members, including: seafloor mapping, ocean awareness and literacy, and marine debris. Members have been involved in creating work plans and in submitting proposals for the WCGA’s $500,000 to implement plans. Many of the WCGA Teams are not currently at full capacity (15 members), thus, the WCGA ACT will work to identify WCGA Teams that could benefit from OSU expertise. Likewise, we will identify OSU experts that would best fit the WCGA needs.
Regional Research Priorities - The four West Coast Sea Grant directors have been working with the Executive Committee of the WCGA to identify the top research priorities for the region. Additionally, several OSU marine scientists have been invited to review these priorities. The goal of identifying priorities is to enable limited resources to be focused on issues of utmost importance. The Marine Council’s involvement in identifying regional research priorities will ensure that Oregon’s needs are considered.
The four West Coast Sea Grant directors are providing $300,000 in support to the WCGA in the form of four post graduate Fellows for two years each. Fellows will focus on helping the three states in planning for and implementing regional research priorities. A recent graduate of OSU's Marine Resource Management Program will be one of the four Fellows. The ACT will assist the Fellow that is placed in Oregon in achieving identified goals. These Fellowships are not only an excellent opportunity for graduates, but also a means for strengthening the relationship between OSU and the WCGA, and ultimately enhancing OSU’s reputation in the science-policy arena.
Federal Initiatives and Funding Opportunities
President Obama’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force directed regional ocean partnership such as the WCGA to lead the coordination of regional CMSP. There is potential for $20 million in federal funds to be appropriated to the nine regions for implementation of CMSP. Optimistic that funding will be available, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) put forth a funding opportunity announcement entitled "NOAA Regional Ocean Partnership Funding Program - FY2011 Funding Competition". Based on this funding announcement, the WCGA held a series of meetings in California, Oregon, and Washington to elicit proposal ideas, and ACT members were involved in the Oregon workshop. The WCGA considered input received during the workshops as well as ideas submitted electronically, and submitted their proposal requesting $4.5 million for the region. This ACT will continue to track CMSP funds, stay informed on the process for distributing funds, and consider how OSU can lead or be involved in proposals to advance CMSP in Oregon and in the region.
Stephen Brandt, Team Lead and Director, Oregon Sea Grant, Stephen.Brandt@oregonstate.edu
Jock Mills, Government Relations, email@example.com