What is the driving force behind MSP?
In 2010, Washington State Legislature adopted a state law for marine planning (RCW 43.372) in response to local and national-level issues. At the time, a number of local proposals for marine renewable energy projects raised concerns about the impacts to existing marine uses and the environment as well as the lack of a proactive plan to address how and where this new use should occur. At the national level, the President Obama’s National Ocean Policy identified developing marine spatial plans for large marine ecosystems around the country as one of nine ocean priorities. Washington’s law provides a way for the state agencies to proactively plan for potential marine uses such as marine renewable energy and to ensure that Washington’s plan and priorities are represented in any future planning efforts in the region.
In July 2012, the state legislature provided funds for the state to create a Marine Spatial Plan on Washington’s Pacific Coast. MSP development activities have included collecting data, mapping uses and resources, performing an ecosystem assessment, developing data tools, and engaging stakeholders. For information on the variety of projects funded, visit the MSP Projects page.