Given the value and importance of the waters off the coasts of the USA, the US government is seeking public input on how to implement a recent federal strategy for mapping the waters of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zones.
The National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization Council (NOMEC Council) wants information “on engaging stakeholders in developing the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy, and the processes that will ensure implementation is informed by and responsive to all sectors through sustained engagement and effective partnerships.”
The NOMEC Council has begun developing the Implementation Plan and is asking for public input “to obtain information from a wide range of stakeholders, including academia, private industry, and other relevant organizations and institutions to provide input on stakeholder engagement in developing and executing the Implementation Plan.”
The council published two sets of questions it seeks answers.
In one set of questions, the council is asking:
“1. What does successful implementation look like to your organization, sector, or interest group? How do you anticipate your organization or sector will participate in the NOMEC implementation?
“2. What specific implementation actions would be of value to your organization/sector?
“3. How should the Council appropriately engage your organization and/or sector in developing an implementation plan? How should we engage your organization to get ongoing feedback throughout implementation?
“4. What activities is your organization currently undertaking, has recently undertaken, or is planning that may support or benefit from NOMEC implementation? What processes and connections would be required to realize those opportunities?
“5. What publicly accessible databases and archives does your organization offer that may house data relevant to NOMEC?
“6. Who are the additional partners that are needed to effectively plan and execute a successful NOMEC program in the future, as well as those that can help disseminate information from this work to various audiences? How could Federal agencies more effectively engage these partners? If there are barriers to this cooperation, please describe. Please do not only limit your responses to organizations that are traditionally involved in this work, but also think how we can engage other groups that can make important contributions.”
In another set of questions, the council wants to know:
“1. NOMEC Strategy Goal 3.1 ‘Identify Strategic Priorities’ describes the need for strategic ocean exploration and characterization priorities and lists some examples. What do you feel are the most important strategic national priorities for exploration and characterization efforts in the deep sea (depth >40 m)? These can be specific geographic areas within the U.S. EEZ or thematic/topical issue priorities.
“2. What are the most important questions for exploration and characterization to address?
“3. What are the most important data variables that need to be measured, and what are the most valuable physical samples to collect; to conduct baseline exploration and characterization?
“4. What novel or established tools, platforms, and technologies could advance our capability to explore, and characterize the U.S. EEZ more efficiently and effectively? To the extent innovative capabilities already exist, but are not being effectively used, what are the barriers to adopting them? How can these barriers be overcome?
“5. Deep waters within the U.S. EEZ host a wide variety of habitats and geomorphological features (e.g., continental shelves, canyons, seamounts, trenches, abyssal plains, and mesopelagic and bathypelagic zones of the water column). Which ones of these do you think are most important to explore to address the priority questions you identified above?
“6. How can artificial intelligence and machine learning be used to guide planning, execution, and analysis of exploration and characterization activities?
“7. How should the data generated by implementation of the Strategy be managed so that it is most accessible and useful (file formats, compatibility, etc.) to public and private sectors?”
You can read the government’s full Implementation Plan here.