Throughout the first year of the National Ocean Council's work, one of our driving goals has been to provide opportunities for the public, stakeholders, non-federal members of the ocean community and beyond to provide your thoughts on implementing the National Ocean Policy.
We opened a public scoping phase in January of this year to get initial thoughts on strategic action plans for the nine priority objectives highlighted in the policy. Throughout June, we held public regional listening sessions to hear directly from you on outlines for these plans and other aspects of the policy implementation. June also saw the opening of a web-based public comment period on the outlines. In late June, we kicked off activities to initiate coastal and marine spatial planning with a national workshop that included a day of public participation. Through all of these efforts we have received very valuable input from you.
We are now very pleased to let you know of a different sort of opportunity to become involved in the National Ocean Council's work. The Council's formal advisory committee, the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), is seeking nominations for members.
As an official Federal Advisory Committee, ORAP provides advice to the Council on policies, procedures, and other responsibilities relevant to implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Current ORAP members include representatives of the National Academies, ocean industries, State governments, academia, and others, including eminent individuals in the fields of marine science, marine policy, and related areas such as ocean resource management. Six seats will become vacant in the summer of 2012, and the goal is to balance ORAP membership to the extent possible to capture a range of geographic and sector representation and experience.
Anyone (including any organization) may nominate qualified individuals (including oneself) for membership on the panel. The deadline is September 15, 2011. The Federal Register notice provides all the details you need to officially submit a nomination.
We hope you will consider this opportunity to contribute to the expert advice the Council seeks as we move into our second year of improving our Nation's economy, environment, and future through the National Ocean Policy.
Jay Jensen is Associate Director for Land and Water Ecosystems at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
Steve Fetter is Principal Assistant Director for Environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy