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Supporting science-based decision-making in the Arctic Region

Summary: 
The National Ocean Council is making available a wealth of data for successful planning and management in the Arctic.

Today, we are pleased to announce a significant step in ocean stewardship for the Arctic Region. Through ocean.data.gov, the National Ocean Council is making available a wealth of data for planning and management in the Arctic, including information on biological, physical, oceanographic, habitat, and human use in the region. By making information more easily and widely accessible to local decision makers and stakeholders, the United States will be best positioned to lead in an ever changing Arctic environment.

The United States has broad interests in this region, from national security and territorial sovereignty to sustainable management of domestic energy and living resources, environmental protection, cultural heritage, and scientific research, all of which must be addressed in the context of rapidly changing conditions. The Nation, the State of Alaska, Tribal governments, and coastal communities are faced with critical decisions about how best to enhance natural resources and manage sustainable human activities in this region. The data and information made available through ocean.data.gov will help to inform future actions and decisions. 

Right now and ready for use through ocean.data.gov, you will find information on Arctic fisheries, marine mammals, near-shore impacts, bathymetry, salinity, temperature, and much more. Ocean.data.gov is the National Ocean Council’s portal for data, information, and tools to support people engaged in planning for the future of the ocean, our coasts, and the Great Lakes. This portal provides easy access to many tools for the implementation of ecosystem-based management including models to evaluate ecosystem services and visual tools to create maps of human use and marine habitat.  We are just getting started and look forward to hearing from you about additional data and tools to include.  

A cornerstone of the National Ocean Policy is developing and implementing ecosystem-based management to promote more effective and sustainable stewardship of our Nation’s ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. This whole-system approach considers the full range of activities taking place within an ecosystem to understand how they impact each other, and to develop a responsible management plan that balances those interests. This effort to make Arctic data and information available is an initial step in implementing ecosystem-based management in the region. These domestic efforts will also support collaboration on ecosystem-based management with our international partners on the Arctic Council.

We will continue to build this information resource by adding more data sets and tools in the near future. Please join the community, tell us what you think, and help us support you in your Arctic stewardship efforts.

Deerin Babb-Brott is Director of the National Ocean Council Office