Change policies from watersheds to oceans, says commission

Capital Press

April 20, 2004 - The United States must change its policies that affect its oceans and coasts all the way back to inland watersheds to help get those oceans and coasts out of serious trouble, said the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy this morning.

The commission, which was mandated by a 2000 law, called for an ecosystem-based management approach that goes far beyond the political boundaries like state lines. It also aims to cut through vertically oriented government agencies to get action that treats ocean, land, air and life resources as one system.

Here are two of the 12 actions the commission listed as critical:

Strengthen the link between coastal and watershed management, and

Create measurable water pollution reduction goals, particularly for non-point sources, and strengthen incentives, technical assistance and other management tools to reach those goals.

The commission called for establishing a high-level National Ocean Council, strengthening the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, doubling U.S. investment in ocean research and putting much more attention on ocean education.

The commission released its 500-page report after two and one-half years of study, and now asked all 50 state governors for their response. The commission also presented its report to leaders of Congress today, and said it will press Congress and President Bush to establish a new ocean policy that balances use with sustainability, with a base of sound science.

Related Links:
Commission website



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