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Nicholas School of the Environment

Marine Planning Process

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About the course

The MPP curriculum, derived from global best practices and featuring interactive and innovative educational styles, is designed for professionals with interest in Coastal Management at all experience levels in the practice of coastal and marine planning.

Program Description

Marine and coastal resource managers are challenged to address key ocean challenges, give states and communities greater input in governmental decisions, streamline federal and international decision-making, save taxpayer dollars, and promote economic growth. Marine Planning is a key tool to achieve these goals. While there is a wealth of information describing the need for Marine Planning, including the U.S. National Ocean Policy, few resources exist on how to conduct Marine Planning in detail. In response, a team of marine planning professionals developed an accelerated short course for coastal decision makers. The original Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning – Advancement Training (CMSP-AT) serves as the basis for the current Marine Planning Process workshop, which actively popularizes the use of Marine Planning ithrough the development and delivery of a highly-interactive curriculum for coastal and marine professionals.

The regional on-site MPP and MPP-Online Course Curriculum Highlights Include:

  • Defining the Planning Area
  • Stakeholder Identification
  • Ocean Visioning
  • Management Goals and Objectives
  • Mapping Uses of a Planning Area
  • Identification of Outside Factors
  • Identification of Emergent and Future Uses
  • Characterization of Resources
  • Addressing Conflict and Compatibility
  • Selecting Management Strategies
  • Crafting Regulatory Language
  • Developing Progress Indicators
  • Plan Implementation
  • Plan Evaluation and Adaptation
  • Developing Decision Support Tools and Coastal Web Atlases
  • Developing Spatial Allocation Plans and Alternatives

As a Participant You Will

As a Participant

Engage and learn from the Marine Planning Curriculum that includes region-specific modules, interactive game-theory based activities and other innovative educational approaches.

Network with coastal management professionals in an educational setting.

Build the peer-to-peer network of coastal professionals in the local regions and join the national peer-to-peer network, developed during our past trainings.

About Us

MPP regional in-person courses and the MPP-Online Course will accelerate the use of coastal and marine spatial planning in the United States through the development and delivery of a curriculum for professional coastal managers in the U.S., derived from domestic and international best practices, processes, experience, and lessons learned.

Region-focused curricula will be provided for on-site courses, while the MPP-Online Course will have a broader, national focus. Each will feature collaborative and interactive problem solving activities and incentives for continuing MPP education and networking.

The original CMSP-AT curriculum was produced by Battelle Memorial Institute and was made possible through generous funding provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Conservation Initiative.

Online and Regional, place-based Course Details


The Regional Course will require two (2) or four (4) days of on-site participation. The 4-day program includes one field session; the majority of all the sessions are interactive classroom lecture, activities, and discussion.

The Online Course will be provided in weekly 90-minute interactive synchronous sessions, supported by weekly assignments to be completed as per the participant’s schedule. The course is 8 weeks in length.

Please note: Weekly webconference times are based on instructor and student availability, and will be elicited by student survey approximately 3 weeks prior to course start. (Last year webconferences were held Tuesdays 5:00-6:30 pm Eastern U.S. Time.)

Trust the experts

Michael Barrett

Mike Barrett is striking a balance between pursuing his own research, and enabling the research of others. As a project manager and Director at the world’s largest non-profit Research and Development firms, Mike gets to do just that. At 23, Mike became the youngest and “least educated” person to...


Barbara Garrity-Blake

Barbara Garrity-Blake, cultural anthropologist, teaches Marine Fisheries Policy at the Duke University Marine Laboratory as well as a Marine Planning training workshop. She has participated in numerous advocacy and public scholarship projects with the National Park Service, NOAA, Carteret Catch, ...


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