The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s 1.6 million grant to Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) is supporting work on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal, an online toolkit and resource center to support ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The grant supports UCI’s work with several academic, government, private and public sector partners to implement the project. In addition to UCI, the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal team includes investigators from the Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, The Nature Conservancy, and Point 97.
The work is being done in collaboration with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). MARCO is a regional ocean partnership established by the governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia for shared action to improve health and contribute to the high quality of life and economic vitality in the region. The Portal consolidates best available data and enables state and federal agencies and the public to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitats and offshore wind energy areas.
The Ocean Data Portal serves as a platform for working collaboratively with ocean users and stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Portal organizes the complex ocean data related to the region in one place and puts essential information and state-of-the-art mapping and visualization technology into the hands of the states, agencies, industry, community leaders, and the public.
“We are extremely grateful to the Moore Foundation for this support, which enables Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute to continue this important work in collaboration with other partners on issues of critical importance to the state and region. This is an excellent example of how science and technology can be coupled with public engagement to inform important ocean policy and management decisions,” said Monmouth University President Paul R. Brown, Ph.D.
The grant enables the Portal Team to coordinate efforts with MARCO to:
- effectively engage ocean stakeholders across the region;
- continue the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal to deliver a state-of-the-art data platform and the tools and features necessary to meet the needs of the region;
- collaborate with ocean users, scientists, and local experts to develop a regional ocean assessment, and improve understanding and awareness of the importance of Mid-Atlantic ocean resources to the region’s economy and environment.
UCI Director Tony MacDonald said, “This generous grant provides the support the Portal team needs to actively engage MARCO and stakeholders in regional planning and identify ways to improve socio-economic information and to develop visualization tools that reflect the diverse human use and ecosystems relationships, and enable us to avoid unnecessary conflicts.”
While the activities funded by this grant significantly enhance data, information and stakeholder input to ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic region, continued engagement and expand commitment of time, energy, and resources of state, federal partners and private sector partners will be critical to success.