MARCO News, January 2021   

MARCO Image Header

Mid-Atlantic Aquariums Join MARCO/MACO Balloon Release Reduction Campaign

puffin swimming with balloon attached
Credit_ Jill Fraser-Smith
Through a grant from NOAA's Marine Debris Program to MARCO, the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean's (MACO's) Marine Debris Work Group, is creating a Balloon Release Reduction Campaign. The Marine Debris Work Group is pleased to announce the participation of three aquariums in the Mid-Atlantic: New York Aquarium, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and the National Aquarium as well as the national Aquarium Conservation Partnership (ACP).

Life in the Deep Sea Canyons Webinar Series Concludes

Marine Life in Deep Sea Canyon
Credit_ Steve Ross

Throughout the fall 2020, MARCO partnered with top scientists to explore the deep sea canyons through a webinar series, "Life in the Deep Sea." Studying these fragile habitats and the hidden and unusual species that live in them is important to understanding how our decisions and daily behavior can impact little known areas of the ocean far away and unseen. 

Offshore Wind Transmission Webinar Series

NROC and MARCO Logos

MARCO is pleased to announce that the program and registration are now available for the Offshore Wind Transmission Webinar Series, which is hosted in partnership with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) on January 29, February 5, and February 12, 2021 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. EST.
This series is intended to increase understanding of this important planning issue by providing an opportunity to hear from experts in the electricity transmission field about the cable installation process, best practices, the role of offshore wind in meeting state decarbonization goals, the need for transmission planning to meet potential electricity generation from offshore sources, the roles of regional organizations in operating the grid, and regulatory considerations for transmission planning. The webinars will also include panel discussions about potential considerations and research questions related to habitat, protected species, and fisheries interactions.
Registration and the agenda for the February webinars are available via the NROC website.
The January 29 webinar, "Bringing Offshore Transmission to Shore: How It's Done and Stakeholder Considerations," provided an understanding of the physical features of marine cable installation and repair, environmental and marine use considerations, industry best practices for mitigating risk, and perspectives on offshore transmission planning on the east coast. The recording will be made available on the NROC website.

Hooked on Ocean Acidification

Hooked on OA flyer
Are you curious about what ocean acidification (OA) is? Are you curious about what a more acidic ocean could mean for the fish you target? Would you like to learn how seagrass plantings can buffer changes in water chemistry and help with oyster reef restoration? Are you eager to try out a new app that provides short-term forecasts for pH and hypoxia in coastal waters?

Come join us for the "Hooked on Ocean Acidification" mini-series on Thursday evenings, from February 18 to March 11. All four sessions will be held virtually, via ZOOM, from 6:30-8:00 PM. For information about speakers and registration Read More

MARCO Portal Update: Virginia Wind Turbine Infrastructure and Other Upgrades
The locations of two active wind energy turbines off the coast of VA Beach_ VA
The locations of two active wind energy turbines off the coasts of Virginia Beach

The first two offshore wind turbines in U.S. federal waters off the coast of Virginia are now producing power for 3,000 homes. Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal users can now see where they are. Learn more about this new map and news about other data additions and site enhancements.

Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean Activities

The Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO) is planning the 2021 Ocean Forum to be held virtually again this year. This planning, as well as in the other activities of MACO, incorporates a commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ), and strives to address the needs of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and industries.

MARCO State Spotlight: New York

march plants
Marsh planting Long Island Sound NY Credit_ NY DOS
New York's Advancement in Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

New York State is a leader in climate mitigation and adaptation. Most recently, New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) set nation-leading climate targets for clean energy and reductions in GHG emissions. The Climate Act includes several environmental justice considerations, helping to ensure that disadvantaged communities receive no less than 35% of the benefits of state climate programs.

The passage of the Climate Act also expanded the climate hazards considered in the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (2014), which mandates consideration of climate hazards in agency decision making. In addition, the Community Risk and Resiliency Act established state-adopted sea level rise projections and delivered associated guidance on consideration of risk in smart growth, model local laws for resilience, state flood risk management, and natural resilience measures to reduce risk (Community Risk and Resiliency Act).

To further our understanding of the benefits, including risk reduction, that natural resilience measures provide in New York State, the Department of State (DOS), with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), led the development of a statewide monitoring framework to capture the ecological, hazard mitigation, and socio-economic benefits of shorelines. The monitoring framework was a collaborative effort that included considerable stakeholder engagement and reflects a prioritized framework of monitoring parameters, metrics, and protocols. DOS is supporting a next phase, which includes additional protocol refinement, as well as continued data collection at pilot sites in the coastal region.

News from MARCO States:

New Jersey
New Jersey released a Global Warming Response Act: 80 x 50 report in October for climate mitigation. The objective of the 80x50 Report (reduce the emissions fueling climate change by 80% by 2050) is to communicate the ability and limitations of existing policies and programs in reaching the 80x50 goal and to provide options in order to craft new initiatives to bridge the emissions reductions gap. Read more:

Plastic Carryout Bag Ban
Credit_ DNREC
Plastic Carryout Bag Ban Effective on Jan. 1, 2021
Consumers and some businesses in Delaware will no longer be able to use or distribute single-use plastic carryout bags at point-of-sale starting January 1.
Reefing the John S. Dempster
The F/V John S. Dempster Jr. is a 180 foot menhaden fishing vessel. She now joins the Del-Jersey-Land artificial reef 26 nautical miles off the Indian River Inlet providing habitat for black sea bass, flounder, bluefish, bluefin tuna and shark as a part of DNREC's Artificial Reef Program.

Credit_NOV Inc.
Dominion Energy is moving ahead on construction of a jack-up vessel to be used for build out of Virginia's commercial lease area. Dominion also submitted its Construction and Operation Plan to BOEM for its commercial lease area in December 2020. Construction is expected to begin in 2024 and to produce 2,640 MW (2.6 GW) of electricity by 2026 - enough to power 660,000 homes.


Photo Credits: Header (L-R): Coral, NOAA-OER/BOEM; Wind turbines, Ralf Hettler; Kayaks, Raul Rosa; Shipping container, Dan Barnes; Schooling fish, Jet Chen Tan; U.S. Naval ships, Gina Addison. Body. Footer (L-R) Fishing boat, William Sherman; Diver, Michael Eversmier; Beach scene, Christie Mazzeo-Pfoertner

Established in 2009 by the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, MARCO provides a forum for our coastal Mid-Atlantic states to collaborate on shared regional priorities related to marine habitats, renewable offshore energy, climate change adaptation, and ocean water quality. MARCO initiated and oversees the  Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal to assist the region with ocean planning efforts. For more information about MARCO, visit our website, .  


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