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Marine spatial planning

Washington’s four Pacific coast counties account for 331,000 acres of marine waters and more than 3.7 million feet of shoreline. Coastal communities, including coastal Indian tribes, have a rich history and maintain a unique relationship to coastal resources. Yet, there are increasing demands on these resources including new uses that create potential conflicts.
We lead a marine spatial planning process to ensure a resilient and healthy marine ecosystem on Washington’s coast that supports sustainable economic, recreational, and cultural opportunities for coastal communities, visitors, and future generations.

Our role in marine spatial planning

We are leading the development of a Marine Spatial Plan through an interagency team, including key partners such as the Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife, and Natural Resources.

What is marine spatial planning?

Marine spatial planning focuses on future uses that will likely compete for ocean resources and space. We have been leading a state effort to plan and prepare for potential new coastal uses. Together with the Washington departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources, the state has created new science-based guidance for making decisions about the most appropriate locations for different types of projects and uses.

The state’s proposed marine spatial plan would establish a process for coordinating among local and tribal governments, as well as with state and federal agencies to ensure interest groups and the public have opportunities to weigh on future projects.

The plan integrates existing marine resource management and addresses emerging issues, like renewable energy, dredging disposal, mining, marine product harvesting, military uses, and offshore aquaculture operations. marine renewable ene 
Creating a plan now provides an opportunity for all users to have input through a public planning process while determining the most appropriate strategies to guide and evaluate new ocean uses in the future. This planning allows for coordination between all ocean and coastal users, draws upon the best available science, and creates an inclusive decision-making process that carefully considers economic, social, ecological, and cultural interests.

Learn more and get involved

Community members have many opportunities to be involved in the planning process. Visit our marine spatial planning website to view these opportunities. Participate in making Washington's coast a resilient and healthy marine ecosystem that supports our existing needs and future generations.