Governance Role of Local Authorities in Marine Spatial Planning: a Legal Assessment of Prospects and Problems (Regional)

Primary tabs

Project Type: 
Project Number: 
Inception Date: 
Completion Date: 


John Duff University of Massachusetts - Boston Principal Investigator

Students Involved:

Hannah Dean University of Massachusetts - Boston

Recent efforts to employ marine spatial planning to improve coastal and ocean resource stewardship are underway, but an understanding of the challenges faced by local governments is not well understood. Duff will examine how federal, state, and local authorities are working together with stakeholders on existing coastal and marine spatial planning in the northeast states from Maine to New Jersey. The factors that played a role in developing authority-sharing arrangements will be documented and analyzed. The results will help identify and address the problems and legal questions that may arise when using various ecosystem-based approaches to facilitate management in the future.



Sea Grant informs stakeholders about coastal and marine spatial planning legal issues at local, state and federal level
As the capacity to map ocean resources and interests at finer scales improves, and as use-use and use-environmental conflicts increase in U.S. waters and shoreline areas, more localized planning authority may replace larger scale ocean and coastal planning duties. Three workshops were held in Maine to inform stakeholders of the scope of legal authority at local, state and federal level and legal mechanisms to accommodate local influence in coastal and marine planning efforts, particularly among private and public communities. The detailed results of this research will be broken up into several individual sections and submitted to journals for publication.


Stakeholders Informed of Legal Mechanisms to Accommodate Local Influence in Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Efforts
Poster, panel, seminar and workshop presentations given during 2012 have garnered interest from state, local and federal officials engaged in regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts. That interest serves as the foundation for subsequent project tasks including solicitation of comments and inquiries related to the research as it develops. This iterative approach is designed to elicit and integrate local concerns and objectives related to larger (state and regional) planning efforts.