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Ocean Planning

Ocean planning in Oregon is focused on protecting marine resources and the ecological functions that provide long-term economic and social benefits for all Oregonians. Maritime activities, like fishing, recreation, tourism, transportation, scientific research and education, traditional cultural practices, and sight-seeing are important to the State and local economies. The ocean is a large, publicly owned area where many different uses are supported. The goal of ocean planning is to reduce conflict between these wide ranging activities and ensure that they are carried out in a sustainable manner. Ocean users, along with state and federal agencies, are faced with the challenge of maintaining the health of the ocean ecosystem. Today, traditional uses of the ocean are increasing and new potential uses, such as renewable energy development and ocean aquaculture, are emerging.

Ocean Ownership and Management

On the land, plans and use regulations apply to both private and public lands. But the seafloor of the territorial sea, which extends seaward three miles from the ocean shore, is owned by the State of Oregon and managed as a public trust resource. Beyond the state's territorial sea, the area known as the outer continental shelf, which extends out to 200 miles, is controlled by the federal government. Managing the various natural resources of the ocean is the responsibility of a variety of state and federal agencies, each with different roles and responsibilities. To learn more about ocean management boundaries, click here to access an online learning tool provided by two federal ocean management agencies. Ocean planning by state agencies follows the policies and objectives of Statewide Planning Goal 19: Ocean Resources.

The Oregon Territorial Sea Plan provides the framework for state and federal agencies, as well as local governments and others, to manage ocean resources and activities through a comprehensive, coordinated and balanced process. In addition, the state legislature created an Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC), whose members represent cities, counties, and ports, as well as recreation, fishing, and environmental and conservation interests. OPAC advises state agencies, the legislature, and the Governor's office on the management of ocean resources.

Our use of the ocean is changing, and climate change is affecting the balance of ocean communities. Therefore, the ocean that we have depended on is beginning to shift which affects important marine resources. This creates uncertainty for ocean users and coastal communities. The Oregon Coastal Management Program uses a balanced approach to decision making and considers public input, scientific research, and the results of ocean monitoring, as part of its process.

Special Topics in Ocean Planning


Andy Lanier
Marine Affairs Coordinator
Phone: 503-934-0072

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