Marine Planning Process

Nicholas School of the Environment

What are the topics?

Nicholas School of the Environment


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Who should attend

This workshop is designed for industry, public and not-for-profit professionals who make decisions regarding coastal and marine uses and resources, as well as those seeking a better understanding of marine planning decision-making. Students and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to attend.

About the course

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 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:

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.

Course Goals

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

Region-focused curricula will be provided for on-site courses, and 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.

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.


Prior to the course start date, you will need to complete a one-page pre-reading assignment that will be delivered via email to all registered participants.


Rebecca Martone

Rebecca is an applied marine scientist working to co-create solutions that help conserve our coasts and oceans while supporting people’s livelihoods and cultural connections. Rebecca’s passion for the ocean started on the beaches and salt marshes of the US southeast, but she has fully embraced th...

Maxine Westhead

Maxine Westhead holds a B.Sc in Marine Biology from the University of Guelph and a Master of Science in Marine Biology from Acadia University. Her graduate degree focused on the ecological and community impacts of baitworm and clam harvesting on the mudflats of the Minas Basin. She has worked fo...

Ron Pelot

Ron is a native of Ottawa, Ontario, where he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. He moved to Edmonton where he obtained his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (fluids specialization) and worked there for a few years, including 14 months of “shoestring” travelling in Europe...

Rosaline Canessa

Before joining the Geography department in 2003, I worked as a marine environmental scientist in Scotland, the Caribbean and Canada. My work related to planning and environmental impact assessment for integrated coastal management, offshore hydrocarbon development, fisheries, aquaculture, marine ...

Norma Serra

Norma has been PacMARA Program, and Marxan Lead Trainer since 2011. Norma organizes and delivers Marxan and Systematic Conservation Planning training courses around the world, both in English and Spanish. She has also participated in activities related to marine ecosystem based management, marine...

Kristen Fletcher

Kristen M. Fletcher is Principal of Fletcher Coastal Consulting in Pacific Grove, California. She offers 16 years of experience in ocean and coastal law and policy analysis, research and outreach. Fletcher's work includes advancing coastal management at the state, regional and national levels i...

Allison Besch

Allison is Director of Executive Education Programs, Duke Environmental Leadership Program, Duke University. She was formerly the curator of education at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. She and her family continue to maintain strong ties to the coast and coastal issues.

Marine Planning Process at Nicholas School of the Environment

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