MARCO News, June 2019

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MARCO Celebrates Ten Years during National Ocean Month

June has been proclaimed by the White House as  National Ocean Month, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) couldn't be more excited to spend these 30 days honoring the critical resources that the Mid-Atlantic ocean provides to our region. In addition to celebrating National Ocean Month, June 2019 also marks 10 years since the Governors from the five-state Mid-Atlantic region, encompassing New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, signed a partnership to collaborate on ocean priorities, thus officially creating MARCO. In honor of this anniversary and National Ocean Month, we'd like to share how MARCO is working toward several important objectives for the Mid-Atlantic Ocean's ecosystems and economy, including:
  • Continuing to share important ocean-related data through MARCO's Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal, which not only makes ocean-related data publicly accessible, but it also provides a visually stunning and user-friendly way to view data in map form. MARCO invites you to take a free guided tour of the Portal tool at our "How Tuesday" webinar on June 18 at 2 p.m. The session will be great for both new users and returning users who'd like an update on the latest data and tool additions. 
  •  Working to reduce marine debris in the Mid-Atlantic through a collaborative work group that was established in August 2016. The group is currently implementing a 3-year grant from NOAA to change the behavior of people who use balloon releases to celebrate important events to less environmentally harmful options (please click here for more information about this project). The Work Group is convening at the 2019 Marine Debris Summit in Arlington, VA on June 17-19, where they will explore additional solutions to reduce marine debris and to consider creating a Marine Debris Reduction Plan for the Mid-Atlantic region.
If you want to learn more about the ocean in celebration of National Ocean Month, check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) 30 Day Ocean Countdown.

Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean
As it looks toward the future, MARCO is also pleased to announce the establishment of the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO), which is dedicated to engaging the diverse interests in the region and enhancing the vitality of its ocean ecosystem and economy. MACO is a committee of Mid-Atlantic states, federal agencies, tribal entities and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC). A web page was recently created on MARCO's website as a hub for information about MACO, and MARCO is pleased to offer the following updates:
  • The MACO Steering Committee has been confirmed and consists of three MARCO state representatives, three federal representatives, one tribal representative, and one representative from MAFMC. Members include Laura McKay, Virginia (Chair); Kevin Hassell, New Jersey; Mike Snyder, New York; Darryl Francois, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Roselle (Henn) Stern, USACE; Darlene Finch, NOAA; Kelsey Leonard, Shinnecock Indian Nation; and Jessica Coakley, MAFMC. We thank the Committee members for their commitment to this effort. 

   Editor: A previous version misstated the number of Federal agency representatives. We

   apologize for the error. The three representatives are correctly named. 

  • MACO convened the first in an anticipated annual series of Mid-Atlantic Ocean Forums in March at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. Videos of the sessions and presentation files can be found here.
  • MACO's Framework has been amended based on feedback received at the Forum and through other avenues. You can view the document here.
MARCO Management Board Chair Transition
Kisha Santiago-Martinez
MARCO is very pleased to welcome Kisha Santiago-Martinez as MARCO's new Management Board Chair as of July 1, 2019. The MARCO Chair is a two-year position that rotates among the five-member states and is responsible for convening MARCO board meetings, building consensus and providing leadership on vision and programmatic direction. As Deputy Secretary of State for Planning, Development, and Community Infrastructure at New York Department of State, Kisha Santiago-Martinez oversees a wide range of federal and state grants and programs that, through planning and implementation, drive sustainable and equitable growth in ways that balance competing land and water uses while increasing the resilience of New York communities. These programs include but are not limited to the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Brownfield Opportunity Areas, South Shore Estuary Reserve, Ocean and Great Lakes, as well as administering the New York State Coastal Management Program and the state's coastal consistency review authority of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). Ms. Santiago-Martinez coordinates with other State agencies in meeting the Governor's wide range of priorities and goals such as the Clean Energy Standard and strategic economic empowerment and development through the Regional Economic Development Councils. MARCO is thrilled to have Ms. Santiago-Martinez's leadership as the Management Board Chair.
MARCO wishes to recognize Liz Semple for her leadership as MARCO Chair, July 2017 - April 2019, and to thank Kevin Hassell for stepping in to lead MARCO for the remainder of New Jersey's term as Chair from April - June 2019.
MARCO Welcomes New Program Manager
Avalon Bristow

MARCO also welcomes Avalon Bristow as its new Program Manager. As Program Manager, Avalon will work closely with the Management Board Chair and other members to advance programmatic efforts and planning priorities. She will lead work groups, represent MARCO at conferences, build relationships with stakeholders, and conduct research in support of existing or new focus areas. Avalon joined MARCO in mid-May 2019 after spending 3 years at the National Wildlife Federation, where she helped manage and grow their conservation programs across a 9 state region.

New Resources    

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,  


Thank you for your continued interest in MARCO. We welcome questions and feedback you may have, including content for upcoming issues of MARCO News. To provide comments or suggestions, or to join our email distribution list, please click "Join Our Mailing List" below, or contact us at


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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 (top-bottom): MARCO-MARACOOS Workshop, Karl Vilacoba; MACAN Workshop, Katie Liming; ERA  Workshop, Kate Morrison; Indicators Workshop, Kaity Goldsmith; NCR Workshop: Doug Simpson;; Footer (L-R) Fishing boat, William Sherman; Diver, Michael Eversmier; Beach scene, Chris Parypa.