The Need

Comprehensive regional ocean planning is essential for supporting healthy marine ecosystems and the economies of our coastal communities.  A regional approach is necessary because ocean resources are ecologically and economically linked across states and what happens in one state can impact or benefit all.  The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) is committed to providing the tools and resources necessary for an accessible, scientifically-informed and adaptive approach to ocean management.

With competing demands on our oceans at an all-time high, finding ways to engage all stakeholders in coastal and marine planning has never been more important.  MARCO recognizes that a robust ocean data and information management system that includes a wide range of human use, environmental, socioeconomic and regulatory data will provide the building blocks for multi-use, regional-scale ocean planning.

 

The Solution

The MARCO Portal is an online toolkit and resource center that consolidates available data and enables state, federal and local users to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitat areas, and energy sites, among others.

The Portal serves as a platform to engage all stakeholders in ocean planning from the five-state Mid-Atlantic region—putting all of the essential data and state-of-the-art mapping and visualization technology into the hands of the agencies, industry, and community leaders engaged in ocean planning.

 

About MARCO and the Portal Project Team

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) is a collaboration among the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia working to secure a balanced use of ocean resources in the Mid-Atlantic region that ensures ocean health and a robust economy. As part of their 2009 action plan, the five MARCO states agreed  to develop a regional, web-based portal for ocean planning.

The MARCO Portal Project team develops and improves this portal using funds provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Regional Ocean Partnership funding program.  The team is represented by Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute, Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School and Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, The Nature Conservancy, The University of Delaware’s Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy, and Ecotrust.