Marine Planning
Practical Approaches to Ocean and Coastal Decision-Making


Nations around world are modifying their marine policy frameworks to address the rapidly evolving issues surrounding human uses and impacts on the ocean. In 2010, the United States enacted its first national ocean policy, providing a strategy and process for integrated management of ocean resources. The Nature Conservancy is supporting advances in and implementation of marine policy in the United States on the national, regional, and state levels, as well as in many other nations. The Policy section of this website currently focuses on U.S. policy; information for other nations will be added over time.

USA – National

Humpback whale, Stallwagen Bank Nat'l Marine Sanctuary

The U.S. ocean policy created a National Ocean Council composed of Cabinet-level officials, and this council directs Federal agencies to implement coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP). Staff members from The Nature Conservancy are serving as formal and informal advisors, and the Conservancy provides testimony, letters of comment, and technical and scientific resources. Read more…

USA – Regions

CMSP Regions

The national ocean policy subdivides the United States into nine regions for coastal and marine spatial planning. In each region, a planning body will develop and implement a CMS plan. The Nature Conservancy is contributing scientific, technical, and policy expertise. Read more…

USA – States

Maryland coastal access mapping tool

Some coastal states are already pursuing CMSP in their state waters. The approach is unique in each state. The Nature Conservancy engages in all of these state-level initiatives through a range of policy, scientific, and technical activities. Read more…


Image credits top to bottom: Whit Welles; NOAA; Maryland DNR
Marine Planning     Copyright © 2007-2011 The Nature Conservancy