Significant progress over the past two years has occurred through the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council (WCMAC) and the State of Washington’s development of a marine spatial plan (MSP). As numerous studies are being finalized, there are a number of opportunities to engage in the near future, and much work remains to finalize the plan by the end of 2016.


A Quick Refresher on MSP

In 2013, Washington State passed MSP legislation and invested $3.7 million in implementation funds for a two-year period. This funding will allow the state to: establish management goals and objectives; define the plan area; map existing – and identify potential future – uses and resources; establish a set of ecosystem indicators; assess areas of conflict and areas of compatibility; finalize management strategies; produce a spatial plan and accompanying implementation plan. The stated goal of marine spatial planning in Washington State is to ensure a resilient and healthy marine ecosystem on Washington’s coast that supports sustainable economic, recreational, and cultural opportunities for coastal communities, visitors and future generations.

Surfrider is involved in MSP by representing coastal recreation through involvement with the Washington Coast Marine Advisory Council and coastal Marine Resource Committees. We are fortunate to have a great representative for recreation thru Casey Dennehy, who is the Surfrider Pacific Coast Program Manager. You can watch a short film on some of the reasons why we believe protecting our favorite beaches and special places is important to the recreational community and the State of Washington. Additionally, we have partnered with Point 97 and State Agencies to initiate a study on Non-Consumptive Recreational Use along the Washington Coast. This survey has been designed by Surfrider staff and Point 97 to document where you play on the beaches and in the waters of the Washington coast and how much you spend getting there, eating, renting equipment, and other things. Having accurate information on where people use the coast and the associated economic contribution to our State will help in efforts to ensure that these special places are protected for present and future enjoyment. We are in the last stages of producing the final report from the study, look for upcoming presentations with your local WA Surfrider Chapter, and other groups like Visitors Bureaus, Coastal Marine Resource Committees, and others. If you’re interested in scheduling a presentation, please contact WA Policy Manager Gus Gates at

Surfrider member Matt Spencer locked in on a Westport peak during the annual Clean Water Classic. Photo credit Mathew Marino

Surfrider member Matt Spencer locked in on a Westport peak during the annual Clean Water Classic. Photo credit Mathew Marino

Other Upcoming MSP Events:

April 20 – Marine Spatial Planning Open House

3-6pm, Log Pavilion 1401 Sargent Bld. Aberdeen, WA

Our ocean is a busy place! Come learn about existing uses and how to plan for potential future uses on the Washington Coast. Join Washington Sea Grant and other planning staff to learn more about the marine spatial planning process, ocean data, and new and existing ocean uses. Stop by the Rotary Log Pavilion in Aberdeen anytime between 3:00-6:00 to ask questions and talk with planning staff about marine spatial planning activities.
April 22 – Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council Meeting

9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, Port of Grays Harbor Commission Chambers Room, 111 S. Wooding Street, Aberdeen, WA 98520

The Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council’s next meeting is Wednesday, April 22nd at Port of Grays Harbor. The meeting is open to the public. Visitors for this event should park in the large lot across the street from the Port’s offices. The meeting agenda is on the Council’s webpage 
April 23 – Ecological Indicator Presentation

6 pm, The Furford Gathering Center, 104 S. Chehalis St. Aberdeen, WA
Join Washington Sea Grant and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center for a presentation on ecological indicators for the Washington Coast. Fisheries research biologist, Kelly Andrews from NOAA will present the work of his team on developing ecological indicators. The presentation will take place at the Grays Harbor Coalition of Infrastructure and Citizens for a Clean Harbor combined meeting at the Furford Gathering Center in Aberdeen.