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Washington's Ocean Resources

State Ocean Caucus

The Governor's Office and state agencies are acting on the recommendations in Washington’s Ocean Action Plan, including involving local and tribal governments, stakeholders, and the general public. The State Ocean Caucus (SOC) provides a way for state agencies to work together to prioritize activities and solve problems related to the ocean environment.

Who is on the State Ocean Caucus?

The following state agencies participate on the State Ocean Caucus:

  • Department of Agriculture
    • Serves as state lead for Spartina elimination, and invasive pest species control.
  • Department of Commerce
    • Works with local businesses to retain or expand their employment and operations in Washington. Includes: energy policy, economic development, and growth management.
  • Department of Ecology
    • Protects, preserves and enhances Washington’s environment, and promotes the wise management of our air, land and water for the benefit of current and future generations. Includes: water quality, pollution control, oil spills, shoreline management, coastal erosion, flood management, watersheds, and wetlands.
  • Department of Health
    • Ensures fish and shellfish are safe to eat, beaches are safe for swimming, and on-site sewage systems are properly managed. Includes: biotoxins (Harmful Algal Blooms) and contaminants in fish and shellfish, water quality at recreational beaches, and wastewater treatment.
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
    • Conserves fish and wildlife and their habitats to promote biodiversity and ensure sustainability into the future. Includes: fish and shellfish harvest (commercial and recreational fishing), derelict fishing gear, marine wildlife, aquatic invasive species, and ballast water.
  • Department of Natural Resources
    • Works on behalf of the people of the state to make sure that the state's aquatic lands are productive, healthy, and sustainably managed. Includes: derelict vessels, aquatic reserves, nearshore habitat, harbors, and aquatic land leases.
  • Military Department’s Emergency Management Division
    • Works to minimize the impact of emergencies and disasters on the people, property, environment, and economy of Washington State.
  • Office of Financial Management’s Executive Policy Office (Governor's office)
    • Develops proposals to support policy and legislative goals and initiatives of the Governor and executive branch agencies; coordinates interagency activities related to ocean management issues, and interagency activities with coastal communities; and reviews and analyzes legislation. Includes: representing the state in regional and international partnerships such as the Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council and West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health.
  • Puget Sound Partnership
    • Acts as the lead state entity for Puget Sound including policy, funding, and action agenda implementation.
  • State Parks and Recreation Commission
    • Manages Seashore Conservation Area along the Washington Coast and numerous marine access parks on the Washington’s Coast and in Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and San Juan Islands; provides marine interpretation, education, and conservation programs to the public.
  • Washington Sea Grant
    • Supports university-based research, outreach and education - funds marine research, shares university resources and expertise with local communities and stakeholders, offers graduate fellowships and K-12 program support, and communicates information to strengthen understanding of the marine environment.

Coastal Marine Resources Committees are also invited to send their chair or elect an alternate to attend regular state ocean caucus meetings. Contact information for State Ocean Caucus representatives.

What does the State Ocean Caucus do?

The State Ocean Caucus’ tasks include:

  • Develop and implement a detailed work plan to act on the recommendations in, "Washington's Ocean Action Plan: Enhancing Management of Washington State's Ocean and Outer Coasts."
  • Communicate and coordinate with local, tribal, and regional governments, federal agencies, business and environmental interests, academic institutions, and the general public including hosting outreach meetings in coastal communities and soliciting feedback on state activities.
  • Advise state activities and execute the work plan.
  • Identify and recommend necessary budget resources.

For more details on the State Ocean Caucus, please review the attached document which further outlines the mission, goals, and the purpose of the group (Mission and Goals). The documents section provides updated materials from state ocean caucus activities, including the work plan, reports, and presentations.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Hennessey, 360-407-6595

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