Draft plan released for US national ocean policy

A draft plan for implementing a national ocean policy for the US was released for public comment in January by the interagency National Ocean Council. The draft plan comprises more than 50 action items, with each action including milestones, responsible agencies, and the expected timeframe for completion. The structure is designed to provide a clear layout of what will be accomplished when, and by whom.

The draft plan is the latest step in the National Ocean Council's effort to develop – and to assist federal, state, and local agencies with implementing – a national ocean policy consistent with priorities set by President Barack Obama in 2010 (MEAM 4:1). The comment period for the draft implementation plan ends on 27 February 2012. To view the draft plan or provide comments, go to: www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans

New website helps conservation organizations create more effective partnerships

The Nature Conservancy has launched an online resource center to help conservation practitioners learn how to create and manage more effective partnerships for greater conservation impact. With lessons drawn from The Nature Conservancy's own experience, as well as the experience of partners and experts both in and outside of the conservation community, the website leads users through six interactive lessons, addressing such questions as "Do I need to partner?", "How do I negotiate a partnership?", "How do we implement our joint work most effectively?", and more. The resource center also provides a searchable library of reports, case studies, and sample documents on how to put partnership concepts into action. The Conservation Partnership Center is at: www.conservationpartnerships.org

Report: Analyzing cumulative impacts of activities

A new report provides maps and analysis of the cumulative impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems in the northeastern US state of Massachusetts. Combining a survey of ecosystem scientists with spatial information on ecosystems and human stressors, the study examines which areas are most vulnerable and which human uses (alone and in combination) are likely putting the most stress on marine ecosystems. The findings are intended to help clarify ocean planning decisions, highlight areas of potential conflict among ocean users, identify areas that may merit conservation, and assess ecological values of particular places. The report Mapping Cumulative Impacts of Human Activities on Marine Ecosystems is available at: www.seaplan.org/ocean-planning/tools-to-inform-decision-making/cumulative-impacts/project-summary

Report: Greening the marine economy

A brief new report outlines ways to reduce the environmental impact, and improve the sustainability, of traditional and emerging ocean-oriented economies. Co-produced by UNEP, FAO, and several partner institutions, the 24-page report Green Economy in a Blue World highlights how shipping, fisheries, tourism, and other industries can transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient stance. The report is at: www.unep.org/pdf/green_economy_blue.pdf