The Governors of California, Oregon and Washington recently launched an historic action plan to address challenging ocean and coastal management issues along the West Coast. This significant step comes on the heels of another precedent-setting state-driven ocean conservation action, with the passage into law of the Massachusetts Ocean Act of 2008.
The West Coast Governors' Ocean Action Plan is the result of a 2006 agreement signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire. The regional agreement forged a long-term partnership to tackle obstacles facing the Pacific Ocean and its coastal communities.
The action plan commits the three states to 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 ocean and coastal resources; reducing adverse impacts of offshore development; increasing ocean awareness and literacy among citizens; expanding ocean and coastal scientific information, research and monitoring; and fostering sustainable economic development throughout diverse coastal communities.
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.