Do you love the beach?  Who doesn’t, right?  Well, now you can get involved in protecting your favorite beach by participating in the process of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).  If you use the beach and ocean for anything from family excursions to tow-in surfing, then we encourage you to speak up!

Washington State is seeking public comment on the recently released draft goals and objectives for MSP, which is the process of mapping uses and resources of the marine environment so that they can be intelligently managed and new uses can be evaluated with better information.  In addition, a crucial part of MSP is involving stakeholders and the public in the process, and that’s why your input is so valuable.

This spring and early summer Washington SeaGrant convened local, state, and federal agency staff with members from the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council to develop goals and objectives that will guide decisions regarding MSP, resulting in the draft that is now open for public comment. MSP is currently focusing on the coastal waters of Washington, ranging from Ilwaco to Port Angeles and includes the estuaries, such as Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, up to the tidal mean high water mark.

Coastal recreators should be interested in this process because it can offer better protection of the ocean and beaches that we use for walking, clamming, surfing, kayaking, bird watching, and escaping the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Please take time to read the draft goals and objectives for MSP and provide any comments.  Your time investment will pay off in the future when your favorite beach is protected!  You can find the draft (called the “scoping document”), and comment cards here: http://www.msp.wa.gov/public-comment-period-open-for-marine-spatial-plan/

In addition to any issues you find, we recommend making the following suggestions:

  • Suggest adding this overarching goal: “Protect and preserve existing sustainable uses.”
  • Convey how important protection and access to recreational areas are to coastal communities who economically benefit and to the general public as a whole whose quality of life is enhanced by playing outside.
  • Emphasize the importance of protecting the marine ecosystem including important habitats, biodiversity, and ecological functions

Please email your comments to mspcomments@ecy.wa.gov by September 23, 2013.  Your voice is very important in helping shape the future of our valuable coastline.  Now is your chance to be heard!

More information about MSP can be found here: http://www.msp.wa.gov/ and http://surfriderwashingtoncoast.blogspot.com/p/marine-spatial-planning_5.html