In Media: NYSG Featured in NYSDEC's State of the Ocean 2023 Report
Ocean Action Plan - Press Release

Report Summarizes Advancements of First Five Years of New York's Ocean Action Plan

Note: Please see "More Info" section below for NYSG-cited efforts in the report.

Albany, NY, June 8, 2023 - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released the State of the Ocean 2023 (PDF) that provides an overview of actions taken to advance the New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP). The report highlights partnerships and achievements from the first five years of the OAP, including enhancing ecological integrity, promoting sustainable growth, adapting to change, and empowering public stewardship.

"New York State's ocean environment plays an irreplaceable role in maintaining healthy and diverse marine life, supporting coastal communities and local economies, and building resiliency as we adapt to the reality of climate change impacting our shores," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "The State of the Ocean report highlights progress being made to implement New York's Ocean Action Plan and DEC is pleased to provide an update on priority issues and key actions over the first five years of implementation and applaud the hard work of everyone making it happen."

The OAP is a coordinated and inclusive effort focused on improving the health of our ocean ecosystems and their capacity to provide sustainable benefits to New Yorkers through four interconnected goals. New York strives to achieve these goals to promote healthier ocean ecosystems that will benefit people, communities, and the natural world. Through 61 pointed actions to reach long-term goals, the OAP helps guide State funding, research, management, outreach, and education efforts.

New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "As a co-author of the Ocean Action Plan, the Department of State is proud of our shared progress in protecting ocean ecosystems and promoting sustainable and ecologically-responsible shoreline development, offshore wind, and community resiliency to sea-level rise and flooding. We are working hard to maintain and expand New York's leadership role in protecting and restoring our precious ocean ecosystems."

The State of the Ocean 2023 summarizes activities that advance the OAP's four interconnected goals: ensuring ecological integrity; promoting sustainable growth; adapting to change; and empowering public stewardship. The next phase of OAP implementation will focus on undertaking long-term actions, continuing to investigate the effects of climate change to ensure effective management, and empowering communities to take proactive approaches toward enhancing resiliency.

Ensuring Ecological Integrity

Three objectives identified to ensure ecological integrity include: protecting and restoring sensitive habitats; improving the management of important species; and evaluating the ecological integrity of the ocean ecosystem. Projects that accomplish this goal include developing a comprehensive ocean-indicators system, funding a research grant program, supporting various monitoring efforts, and proactively managing marine invasive species.

Promoting Sustainable Growth

The second goal of the OAP is to promote economic growth, coastal development, and human use of the ocean in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with maintaining ecosystem integrity. Activities that support this goal include enhancing the Geographic Information Gateway, ensuring New York meets ambitious energy goals responsibly, and creating and advancing the State's Artificial Reef Program.

Adapting to Change

Increasing resilience of ocean resources to impacts associated with climate change is another goal of the OAP and is supported further by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) that commits New York State to an ambitious clean energy and climate agenda. The State of the Ocean summarizes efforts to monitor coastal changes, promote living shorelines, and investigate species-specific responses to the changing climate that support this goal.

Empowering Public Stewardship

Active public stewardship of marine resources is essential to enhancing the health of both the ocean ecosystem and surrounding coastal communities. This goal aims to increase stakeholder participation in resource management and offshore planning, advance ocean outreach and education, and support local and regional stewardship programs. This work is supported through partnerships to develop education and outreach materials and engage and empower the public to practice safe, responsible, and sustainable ocean use.

Many actions in the plan are supported by Ocean and Great Lakes annual appropriations through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in enacted State budgets. In the FY 2024 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program's history. The EPF also provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda. The highlights in this report are brief summaries, and more information on various projects can be found on DEC's OAP website.

More Info: New York Sea Grant-Cited Efforts in the Report

New York Sea Grant is a partner in a number of the projects cited in the State of the Ocean 2023 report, including ...

Supporting Ocean Research (p. 12) — "DEC provided approximately $570,000 in funding to research grants by partnering with New York Sea Grant (NYSG) to administer an ocean research grant competition. Grants were awarded to three investigative teams." 

NYSG related news item: "NYSG and DEC Announce Nearly $570,000 in New York Ocean Research Grants" (January 2019)

Implementing Living Shorelines (p. 18) — "NYSDEC published tidal wetlands guidance ... that emphasizes natural and nature-based solutions to erosion control. This guidance encourages the appropriate use of natural shoreline protection measures, such as oyster reefs, in place of hardened approaches, like bulkheads, to maintain habitat quality and control coastal erosion. Additionally, it provides information on types of living shorelines; reviews how permit standards relate to living shorelines; and addresses proper siting, maintenance, and monitoring considerations." 

NYSG related news items include: "On YouTube: Living Shorelines - What Are They and Are More NY Communities Embracing Them?" (July 2019); "On YouTube: Monitoring New York State’s Natural & Nature-Based Shoreline Features" (March 2019); "Raising Awareness on Nature-Based Shorelines" (January 2019)

Tackling Marine Debris (p. 19) — "OAP marine debris goals are being addressed through participation in the Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Work Group by New York representatives. Membership enables New York to work with the other Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia to address the problem of marine debris." 

NYSG related news items include: "On YouTube: Preventing Harmful Balloon Debris Along New York’s Marine Coast" (March 2019); "On YouTube, In Photos: Cleaning Up and Surveying Balloon Debris on Jones Beach" (November 2019); "NYSG & Mid-Atlantic Partners: Preventing Balloon Debris" (March 2020)

Supporting Local Initiatives — Marine Small Grants (p. 20) — "Implementation of the OAP is dependent upon partnerships with different agencies and organizations, including collaboration between DEC and NYSG. This partnership has increased ocean ecosystem literacy, as called for in the OAP. One success from this partnership can be seen in the recently completed Marine and Coastal District Conservation, Education, and Research Grants, funds for which were provided through the sale of the Marine and Coastal District-branded license plates. These projects focus on recreational fishing and connecting stakeholders to ocean resources." 

NYSG related news items include: "Small Grants, Big Impacts: Making NY’s Coastal Resources Accessible for All" (May 2022); "License Plate Funds Support Small Fishing and Environmental Projects With Big Impacts" (May 2022)

More Info: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine in a single-agency all-state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment. The agency consists of a Central Office in Albany and an office in each of its nine regions that serve the communities within that region. The department has 24 divisions and offices and a total of approximately 3,000 staffers working in the central and regional offices. More at

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County on Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly.

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website is supported through a partnership between New York Sea Grant and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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