NCGA RESPONDS TO WHITE HOUSE PLAN FOR MANAGING OCEANS

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managing the oceans, outlining a strategy that aims to coordinate the work of more than two dozen agencies and reconcile competing interests including fishing, offshore energy exploration and recreational activities. The National Oceans Policy was created …">

(Posted Fri. Apr 19th, 2013)

Apr. 19: The White House on Tuesday issued its final plan for managing the oceans, outlining a strategy that aims to coordinate the work of more than two dozen agencies and reconcile competing interests including fishing, offshore energy exploration and recreational activities.

The National Oceans Policy was created by an Executive Order from President Obama on July 19, 2010. This week’s publication of the implementation plan comes on the heels of more than two years of outreach to various stakeholders, including engagement with USDA and farm groups.

The National Corn Growers Association issued the following statement in response:

"The National Corn Growers Association appreciates the administration’s outreach to the agriculture community during the development of the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. We welcome the Plan’s emphasis on voluntary conservation programs and nutrient trading pilot opportunities, as well as expanded research to better understand the complex causes of hypoxia. We can work together to grow the economies of coastal and farming communities while preserving water quality for years to come."

The plan states at the outset that it “does not create new regulations, supersede current regulations or modify any agency’s established mission, jurisdiction or authority.” The appendix focuses on specific actions pertaining to agriculture and undertaken by USDA:

  • Establishing an interagency monitoring, modeling, and assessment partnership in priority watersheds to better evaluate the effectives of land treatment practices (2013).
  • Develop quantitative performance measures to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration efforts and systems of conservation practices for mitigating hypoxia and other water quality impairments through watershed nutrient loading reductions (2013).
  • Implement environmental market pilot projects between federal and regional partners for nutrient and sediment reductions (2013).
  • Develop a protocol for carbon sequestration as an ecosystem service that can be incorporated into existing federal policies (2015).
  • Initiate a showcase project linking healthy watershed protection to estuary or Great Lakes water body protection, and evaluate the success in protecting and conserving high-quality coast waters (2017).
  • Protect 2 million acres of lands identified as high conservation priorities, with at least 35 percent being forestlands of highest value for maintaining water quality (2025).