There are numerous indicators initiatives throughout the northeast region, all of which are tied to a specific management situation, policy driver, and/or funding source. Because there is potential overlap in the regional indicator programs’ goals, indicator programs have expressed interest in strengthening collaboration between programs, specifically in the categories of data use/access and the reporting/communication of indicators. Enhanced collaboration among programs could advance the understanding of which indicator programs and specific indicators are best suited to (1) answer specific management questions and (2) assess the overall health of socioeconomic and ecological systems in the region.
On March 30th and 31st, 2011, COMPASS and MOP are convening an Ecosystem Health Indicators Conference to bring together regional marine and coastal indicator initiatives to strengthen coordination and communication methods. This conference is responding to a need identified by regional indicator programs to convene and share the details of their programs and discuss potential ways to work together. This conference also fulfills an action item from the 2010-2012 Work Plan of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health Committee. The development of this conference was guided by recent interviews with various indicator programs, as well as a year-long steering committee process.
Role in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning
Indicators are essential tools for measuring progress and communicating with ocean stakeholders. Improved coordination among regional indicator initiatives will facilitate indicator selection and reporting on status and trends for MSP initiatives in the northeast.
Challenges & Applications
This initiative supports the NROC’s Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem Health Committee Work Plan and can be transferable to other regions.
Indicator initiatives are established and funded to report on a specific management question for a specific geographic area. This mandate can be a challenge to coordination efforts.