Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Friday, January 28, 2011

Shipmate of the Week – Dr. John Oliver

Posted by: LTJG Stephanie Young

A majestic lighthouse on the Great Lakes. A sustainable fish hatchery along the Atlantic coast. A marine sanctuary off the Olympic Peninsula. An industrious port in the country’s heartland.

America’s coastal environments are all vastly different, yet they remain connected in ways that influence everyone. With the ocean touching every aspect of our lives, preserving the coastal environment is of the highest importance.  The Coast Guard’s Dr. John T. Oliver has become intimately involved in ensuring that our nation preserves these vital ecosystems.

Developing a strategy for the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes became a national priority when President Obama announced America’s first national ocean policy in June 2009.

As a result, Dr. Oliver, Senior Ocean Policy Advisor, now represents the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security on the country’s first National Ocean Council. Oliver, leading a team of subject matter experts, is tasked with developing and implementing plans for the ocean, our coast and the Great Lakes in which a growing number of uses – economy, energy, security, cultural, recreational – are expanding at a rate that challenges our ability to effectively plan and manage ecosystems.

Appreciating the fact that local decisions regarding personal, recreational, or commercial use of a waterfront are often made with little regard to how they can impact hundreds of miles of coastline and the nearby marine environment, Oliver knows that we cannot continue down this path.

“This new approach to ocean management will promote the Coast Guard’s safety, security, and stewardship missions,” said Oliver. “Having the information so that you really know what is going on in the ocean and along our coasts, and making management decisions based on what is best for the entire ecosystem, is critical to restoring the health and maximizing the economic productivity and enjoyment of our bountiful and beautiful maritime domain.”

Addressing the impacts these competing demands can have on a marine ecosystem is known as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Oliver is looked to as one of the nation’s leading experts on effective CMSP.

Developing a CMSP policy is no easy task, and one of the biggest hurdles is ensuring every stakeholder has a voice. To consider all of the key issues, the Task Force has reached out to stakeholders representing the maritime shipping industry, commercial fishing interests, the recreational fishing, boating, and yachting community, coastal tourism boards, port and waterway experts and specialists in national and homeland security.

“Dr. Oliver’s remarkable efforts have ensured that the Coast Guard will play a leadership role in the National Ocean Council and in the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning process,” said Rear Adm. Brian Salerno, Deputy Commandant for Operations. “We could not have achieved all that we have without his extraordinary work.”

Whether you work in a port complex or sail on a freshwater lake, the oceans and coastal areas all play a key role in the lives of every American. While each ecosystem has connections with others that are both complex and intricate, Dr. Oliver and his colleagues are at the forefront of change aimed at preserving our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes for future generations.

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