...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders
Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), as amended in 1990 and 1996, establishes a voluntary coastal zone enhancement grants program to encourage State and Territory Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) to develop program changes in one or more of the following nine enhancement areas: Wetlands, Coastal Hazards, Public Access, Marine Debris, Cumulative and Secondary Impacts, Special Area Management Planning, Ocean/Great Lakes Resources, Energy and Government Facility Siting, and Aquaculture. Under this program, the Secretary of Commerce in authorized to make awards to states and territories to develop and submit for federal approval, program changes that support the attainment of one or more of the enhancement area objectives. Section 309 further requires that the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) review, in close cooperation with CMPs, their priority management needs and evaluate proposed strategies.
The Marine Resources Development Plan, presented to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council by Kenneth Payne, Rhode Island Senate policy director, was designed to guide the fuller use by the CRMC of its authority under Chapter 46-23 of the Rhode Island general laws and under the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act.
In 1971, the Rhode Island legislature established the CRMC to plan for and manage the state’s coastal resources, and the Council quickly became a national leader in allocating areas of the state’s coastal zone to different uses and then managing development within those areas through permitting. Rhode Island, however, has changed extensively since the CRMC was created, and its management of sensitive coastal areas needs to reflect those changes.
The vision of the MRDP includes properly functioning bay and lagoon ecosystems; abundant and sustained fishing and fisheries resources; successful coastal places; and marine-based economic development. The plan outlines strategies for improving the health and functionality of the state’s marine ecosystem, and for providing appropriate marine-based economic development.
The MRDP lists strategies for CRMC to promote the public’s use and enjoyment of the state’s marine resources, as well as Council program leadership and coordination roles, responsibilities and capabilities. The plan also outlines implementation activities for the next five years.