New York Ocean Action Plan: Managing coastal, marine, and land-based activities

Rachel M. Gregg
Posted on: 2/17/2017 - Updated on: 6/18/2021

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Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

The New York Ocean Action Plan (OAP) is a collaborative effort to manage the state’s coastal, estuarine, and ocean waters, from New York City to Montauk Point out to the edge of the outer continental shelf. The geographic scope of the plan includes the estuarine waters of the Peconic Estuary, Hudson River Estuary, and NY/NJ Harbor Estuary, Long Island Sound, Great South Bay, Jamaica Bay, Moriches Bay, Hempstead Bay, and Shinnecock Bay. Four main goals guide the OAP’s priorities:

  1. Ensure ocean ecological integrity
  2. Promote sustainable economic growth, coastal development, and use
  3. Increase resilience to climate-related impacts on ocean resources
  4. Empower the public to act as stewards of the ocean and participate in decision-making.

With respect to Goal #3, the objectives are to conduct vulnerability assessments, adopt long-term climate-informed strategies, and to implement ecologically sustainable management options for inshore and offshore sediment. The plan includes several actions specific to climate change; examples include:

  • Identify essential ecosystem services in the New York Bight and assess their vulnerability to impacts from human activities and climate change.
  • Assess and predict the vulnerability of the coastal areas to climate change.
  • Identify, assess, and prioritize flood-prone areas at risk due to climate change.
  • Examine the impacts of increased coastal flooding and sea level rise on wastewater, stormwater and other vulnerable infrastructure in New York City and Long Island.
  • Update current community planning practices to include coastal resiliency strategies that effectively minimize the impacts of extreme weather events and sea level rise.

For example, the plan requires that sediment management plans consider the effects of climate change. The availability of sand for dune and beach renourishment projects to limit erosion is essential under changing climate conditions and related effects on sea level and storminess. The existing state dredging schedule for the state’s barrier islands is deemed by the plan to be inadequate, particularly due to the recent increased frequency and intensity of coastal storms in the region. Finally, even though the OAP is focused on coastal and ocean waters, it also explicitly acknowledges the need for land-based activities to be managed appropriately in order to limit negative impacts on these systems.


Gregg, R.M. 2017. New York Ocean Action Plan: Managing coastal, marine, and land-based activities. Summary of a project from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2017)


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