The MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), as directed by the MA Oceans Act of 2008, held a series of regional Public Hearing to compile reactions to the Draft MA Ocean Plan.
The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership provided technical and logistical support for the five Public Hearings held in the fall of 2009, including event notification, public relations and archival video webcasting.
Role in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning
To be effective, coastal and marine spatial planning must be an inclusive, responsive and transparent process. These Public Hearings provided multiple opportunities for formal public/stakeholder comment on the Draft Plan.
Challenges & Applications
A required component of the formal planning process, regionally inclusive Public Hearings are time intensive and require significant financial resources for transcription, webcasting and other public relations support.
Broad-based public and stakeholder input are essential to effective coastal and marine spatial planning—making the effort to listen to the public builds significant social capital, good will and ultimately improves the final Plan.