Integrated Ocean Planning

Effectively managing the world’s oceans and coasts requires considering the myriad resources, ecosystems, users, and services it supports and how they overlap and connect. Our ocean and coastal governance frameworks are often fragmented, with resources protected on an individual basis, users managed in isolation, and agencies operating in silos. ELI works to support the development and implementation of integrated ocean and coastal planning systems that better protect marine ecosystems and the people that depend on them.

Ocean and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach that considers entire ecosystems, including people. By considering the connections within and among ecosystems, EBM addresses the cumulative impacts of multiple activities across space and time. This comprehensive, ecological approach strives to ensure the continuance of services people want and need by maintaining healthy and productive ecosystems.

ELI advances the implementation of ocean and coastal ecosystem-based management through development of law and policy tools. Drawing upon the experience of scientists, managers, and stakeholders, ELI has developed guidance materials that offer a spectrum of concrete ways to implement EBM.

Marine Spatial Planning

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a tool that can be used to implement ecosystem-based management. It can help protect, maintain, and restore ocean ecosystem health; reduce user conflicts; and foster sustainable development.

To support implementation of MSP, ELI has analyzed existing legal authorities that can be used to develop MSP systems in the United States. We have also worked with domestic and international partners to assess options for expanding EBM and MSP approaches to ocean governance in existing and proposed legal frameworks.