WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) invites the public to join us for a symposium and policy discussion which never took place during the election — coastal and ocean priorities for the next administration and Congress.
The 12th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium will be held on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wilson Hall Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.
The panelists, former New Jersey Gov. and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Dr. Donald Boesch, will offer their views and recommendations on critical actions that the administration and Congress should take to ensure that our coasts and oceans are healthy, productive and support sustainable economic development.
Among their many other accomplishments and qualifications, Whitman and Boesch serve on the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) Leadership Council, a national organization dedicated to marine policy reform. JOCI soon plans to release a nine-point action plan for the Trump administration and the new Congress. UCI Ocean Policy Fellow and Monmouth University President Emeritus Paul G. Gaffney II also serves as a member of the JOCI Leadership Council.
“The oceans are going through unprecedented changes, including sea level rise, shifting currents and weather patterns, ocean acidification, and ecosystem destruction,” Whitman said. “These changes are a mounting threat not only to marine ecosystems, but to coastal communities and economies. We must confront these issues with a bipartisan approach from policymakers in Washington and at all levels of government.”
“Robust federal investments in science and research can spur innovation, address important national and global challenges, create new economic sectors, and ultimately save lives,” Boesch said. “If our ecosystems and livelihoods are to be sustained for the future, we’ll need to pair such financial commitments to research with concerted action on policies based in science.”
“The Future of the Ocean Symposium provides a unique forum for students, faculty and the public to engage nationally recognized experts in discussions on the pressing ocean issues of our time,” said UCI Director Tony MacDonald, who will moderate the panel. “As a coastal university, we are also pleased to honor a group of Ocean Champions whose work has so directly impacted lives here on the Jersey Shore and beyond.”
Immediately following the symposium, the UCI will hold its Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are required for the luncheon. The cost is $150, with proceeds to benefit student research and UCI programs.
Whitman will be honored as a National Champion of the Ocean for her work as a leading voice for the oceans as governor and with the EPA, JOCI and Pew Oceans Commission. Boesch will be recognized as a Regional Champion of the Ocean for his work advancing knowledge about marine environments, including his work as a member of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
In addition, two New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) officials will receive State, Coastal and Ocean Leadership Awards for their roles in restoring New Jersey’s beaches, supporting innovative major Rebuild by Design projects, and improving coastal planning and communities’ resilience to coastal storms after Superstorm Sandy. The honorees are NJDEP Assistant Commission of Engineering and Construction David Rosenblatt and NJDEP Assistant Director of Coastal and Land Use Planning Elizabeth Semple.
About the Urban Coast Institute
The Urban Coast Institute was established in 2005 as one of Monmouth University’s “Centers of Distinction.” The UCI’s mission is to serve the University and the public interest as a forum for research, education and collaboration that fosters the application of the best available science and policy to support stewardship of healthy, resilient and productive coastal ecosystems and sustainable communities.