MARCO News, October 2014  

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Message from the MARCO Management Board

Welcome to our most recent issue of MARCO News. This issue:

  • Announces MARCO's Course of Action to advance conservation on Submarine Canyons;
  • Focuses on MARCO's stakeholder engagement activities with the Tug and Barge industry;
  • Announces the upcoming release of public documents and planned public listening sessions for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body;
  • Showcases the Commonwealth of Virginia's efforts to combat marine debris;
  • Encourages Portal users to participate in upcoming "How Tuesday" webinars; and
  • Welcomes a new MARCO staff member to the team. 

The MARCO Management Board 

MARCO Releases Course of Action, Convenes Experts to Discuss Deep Sea Canyon Science  


In the wake of the Okeanos Explorer expedition to explore the canyons and seamounts of the Mid-Atlantic, MARCO released a Course of Action statement outlining an approach the Mid-Atlantic States will take towards conservation of the canyons off our coast.  As a first measure, MARCO assembled a group of experts on deep sea canyon science to gain insight on the ecology and economic importance of these unique and valuable features.     Read More


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MARCO Meets with the Tug & Barge Industry

The tugboat, towboat and barge industry is the largest segment of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, employing more than 33,000 American mariners aboard its vessels. On September 22, 2014, MARCO convened a meeting with leaders of the Tug & Barge industry, assembled under the American Waterways Operators in Portsmouth, Virginia.  The session provided a valuable exchange on the needs and concerns of the Tug & Barge community as the Mid-Atlantic moves into an ocean planning process.   


Read more about the meeting   


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Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body To Seek Public Comment 


On October 24th, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB) will release a series of draft documents for public comment.  The documents will include proposals for approaches to conducting a Regional Ocean Assessment and developing a Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan.  To gain further input from ocean stakeholders, the release will be followed by a series of Public Listening Sessions, one in each of the MARCO states.  These sessions will be held in early November 2014. 


To learn more or to check on the times and locations of the Listening Sessions, Read More    

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The Commonwealth of Virginia Tackles Marine Debris  


Trash in the ocean, also called marine debris, is more than about aesthetics.  Trash that ends up in the ocean, especially plastic, can be a serious survival risk for ocean wildlife.  Sea turtles often die from ingesting balloons and plastic bags, dolphins get tangled in fishing line, and some seabirds are known to feed pieces of plastic such as cigarette lighters and bottle caps to their chicks.  The Commonwealth of Virginia has responded to this growing threat by launching the East Coast's first State Marine Debris Reduction Plan to curb the flow of garbage into our ocean.

Read More about Virginia's groundbreaking plan to combat ocean trash.


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Explore Data Uses on the next How Tuesday Webinar     


Does NOAA's Okeanos Explorer recent tour of the Atlantic Coast submarine canyons and seamounts get you excited about data and the ways future planning activities and projects will benefit from it?

If so, join us on Tuesday October 7th at 2pm for our How Tuesday presentation of the Portal's powerful data visualization, reporting and drawing features that have been developed to support ocean planning efforts in the Mid-Atlantic.  Register Now


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MARCO Hires New Communications Manager 


The Management Board would like to introduce our new Communications Manager, Arlo Hemphill.  Arlo comes to us from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, one of our Mid-Atlantic region's National Estuary Programs.  Previously, Arlo provided communications direction at Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions and for Conservation International's Defying Ocean's End campaign. No stranger to regional ocean initiatives, he has served in leadership roles with the Sargasso Sea Alliance, the Forum for the Conservation of Patagonian Sea and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.  An avid SCUBA diver, hiker and paddle sport enthusiast, Arlo grew up on the Mid-Atlantic coast and credits the region for shaping his ocean ethic. 


Arlo joins the MARCO team of Kris Ohleth, Executive Director, Michelle Lennox, Program Manager and Kimberly Barber, Program Assistant. MARCO welcomes Arlo in his new role!



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 [email protected].


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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): Mid-Atlantic deep sea corals, NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program; Ships in New York Harbor, Harvey Spears/Marine Photobank; surf fisherman,Vladimer Shioshvili; discarded plastic balloon; USFWS. Footer (L-R) Fishing boat, William Sherman; Diver, Michael Eversmier; Beach scene, Chris Parypa.
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