US Governors launch West Coast Ocean Action Plan

West Coast politics are hot. Senator Ted Stevens of the four seas of Alaska (Chukchi, Bering, Beaufort, and the Pacific) was indicted for false statements while the Governators of California, Oregon and Washington launched a historic action plan to address challenging ocean and coastal management issues along the Pacific Coast of the United States.

From the Ocean Public mailing list:

The action plan released today is the result of three states working side-by-side to identify problems and develop a comprehensive action plan to solve them. It commits three states to collaborate closely with each other and their federal partners on seven priority areas related to ocean protection:

• Ensuring clean coastal waters and beaches;

• Protecting and restoring healthy ocean and coastal habitats;

• Promoting the effective implementation of ecosystem-based management of our ocean and coastal resources;

• Reducing adverse impacts of offshore development;

• Increasing ocean awareness and literacy among our citizens;

• Expanding ocean and coastal scientific information, research and monitoring; and

• Fostering sustainable economic development throughout our diverse coastal communities.

The plan includes actions to help combat polluted runoff and reduce marine garbage, advocate for stricter ocean going vessel emission standards, prevent the introduction of invasive species, explore the feasibility of offshore alternative ocean energy development, improve ocean research, increase ocean education and prevent and respond to offshore oil spills, among others.

Each action within the plan contains benchmarks and a timeframe for action. The governors have formally committed to report on the status of actions at the end of two years.

“This agreement is another key step in our aggressive efforts to maintain clean water and beaches along our coast,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “I believe our commitment to working together and putting this plan into action will help effectively tackle critical issues up and down the West Coast–ensuring a healthy ocean environment for current and future generations.”

Gov. Kulongoski heralded the effort as one more successful regional compact. “Just as we’ve seen with the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, collaboration on complex natural resource issues leads to improved management, inspires innovation and ensures a healthier environment. Together, we can sustain our marine resources and the communities that depend upon them.”

“While Washington is making significant strides with state initiatives such as the Puget Sound Partnership, the crisis facing salmon this year is an example of why we must address these issues together as a region,” Gov. Gregoire said. “Our waters know no boundaries. This plan commits us to combining our resources and ideas, and prioritizes restoring and maintaining the health of our marine and coastal waters to ensure a sustainable future.”

California, Oregon and Washington have worked closely with key federal agencies as well as ocean users, academic institutions, the public, tribes, and other state and regional entities to develop the plan and will continue to collaborate with these groups to accomplish the tasks identified in the plan.

Also today, the three governors sent a joint letter to Congress asking for $5 million in federal support for implementation of the action plan. Congress has provided funding and support for similar regional ocean initiatives, such as the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.

To learn more about the West Coast Governors’ actions and to read the action plan in its entirety, go to


Please contact Ocean Protection Council staff if you have questions.

Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.