In June 2012, the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS) Region of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued an interagency agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct the Pacific Regional Ocean Uses Atlas project (PROUA). The Energy Policy Act of 2005, an amendment to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), granted BOEM lead management authority for marine renewable energy projects on federal offshore lands, and other projects that make alternative use of existing oil and natural gas platforms. The specific objectives of the PROUA are to enhance ocean planning for offshore renewable energy development in U.S. waters. This is to be achieved by documenting at specific geographies, scales and resolutions, patterns of existing and emerging uses of the ocean off Oregon; and, identifying potential use interaction, and/or potential for conflict between anticipated renewable energy activities and other potentially concurring ocean uses.
The PROUA project is designed to document where coastal communities use the ocean across a full range of typical human activities and sectors. The project was conducted using participatory mapping techniques and is intended to inform proactive planning in the U.S. by providing innovative spatial data, products and tools to assist planners, managers and stakeholders to understand patterns and implications of existing and emerging uses of America’s oceans. The PROUA project is intended to provide BOEM with comprehensive, broad-scale baseline ocean uses information that can be considered in conjunction with other data sources like the Coast Guard, Department of Defense, and other studies of the OCS, in its decision making process. As applications for offshore renewable energy projects are received by BOEM, the PROUA data will help BOEM to understand the ocean uses context of the proposals, direct BOEM analysts to the uses they will need to consider and evaluate in more detail, and identify key stakeholders within specific areas of the OCS. Although the data gathered may assist BOEM as it responds to these prospective lease requests, the PROUA is not intended to fully address the potential site-specific impacts of any individual renewable energy project.
The PROUA report and map books can be found on BOEM’s website at http://www.boem.gov/Pacific-Completed-Studies/. Downloadable PROUA data, web mapping services, and metadata are available via NOAA’s Digital Coast and the Marine Cadastre (search for “PROUA”). Summary use layers can also be viewed on the Marine Cadastre National Viewer.
The study authors are grateful to all who contributed knowledge, expertise, time, and support to this important effort and hope that you will share these PROUA products with your community, peers and colleagues.