NARRAGANSETT – Rhode Island Sea Grant Extension Director Jennifer McCann recently received an award for Outstanding Outreach Achievement from the Northeast Regional Sea Grant Consortium.
McCann, who also serves as director of U.S. Coastal Programs for the Coastal Resources Center, won the award for her work in building the capacity of practitioners locally and globally in marine spatial planning.
Rick DeVoe, director of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, nominated McCann for the award.
DeVoe cited McCann’s work in not only helping to create the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or Ocean SAMP, but also brining lessons learned from the project to practitioners in the United States and around the world.
Extension Leader of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program Darren K. Okimoto, Senior Environmental Planner at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Newport Christopher G. Tompsett, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council Grover Fugate, and Darren Williams, manager of Ocean Policy and Planning for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, also wrote letters of recommendation on McCann’s behalf.
McCann said she knew she was nominated for the award, but didn’t know she had received it until she was recognized at a meeting of the Northeast Regional Sea Grant Consortium last month.
“Basically people around the country recognized the value of offering this capacity building,” she said Thursday in a phone interview.
The type of capacity building McCann so often speaks of in marine spatial planning came about in 2007 through the Ocean SAMP.
“The Ocean SAMP is a way of proactively planning our offshore waters the way the people of Rhode Island want them to be protected and developed,” she said. “The Ocean SAMP allows the state of Rhode Island to remain in the driver’s seat as far as how our waters are being used.”
She said the process used in Ocean SAMP has been recognized all over the world as a success.
“It’s because the results or decisions made from Ocean SAMP were based on science, as well as stakeholder input from fishermen, sailboat racers, people in the marine trades industry, municipalities, people in the tourism industry, they all had a seat at the table and were responded to,” McCann said.
She said this Outstanding Outreach Achievement award recognizes the work that she and her team at the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant have done with Ocean SAMP.