Posted by & filed under MRC, WCMAC.

Casey Dennehy
WCMAC Recreation Seat
Casey is the Washington Coast Program Manager for the Surfrider Foundation. He is actively engaged in the Shoreline Master Plan updates for Grays Harbor County, is the chair of the Grays Harbor County Marine Resources Committee, sits on the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, and directs Surfrider’s Coastal Leadership Academy. Casey is an avid surfer, clammer, fisherman, mountaineer, and agate hunter. He is passionate about protecting and enjoying Washington’s coastal and marine waters.

What does Marine Spatial Planning mean to you?
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can be challenging to describe to those outside of the process but I feel that it is a pretty simple concept. The ocean is a busy and crowded place; the only way we can manage all the various uses effectively, or determine if a new use could co-exist with what’s already happening, is to characterize all the current uses and have that information in one place. MSP is the process of gathering all the data we have on ocean uses, putting it all together, and making informed decisions with that information.
How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
I became involved through the Surfrider Foundation, which advocates for MSP throughout the country. As a representative of non-consumptive recreation, I feel it is my duty to ensure that coastal recreation is valued and protected so the public can continue to enjoy the superb natural resources our state has to offer. Surfrider knew we needed information about recreational uses which did not exist, so we helped develop and launch a coastal recreational use study. We now have maps and information on where people recreate and how much money they spend. This information demonstrates the value of the coast to Washington citizens and the local economy, and provides the information to make sure areas that are valuable for non-consumptive recreation can be protected.
What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
Washington’s Marine Spatial Plan offers a great opportunity to improve the way our ocean and its resources are managed. Our governments distribute management authority to various agencies, both state and federal, who often do not share information or readily communicate. The MSP process has already made great strides in pulling useful information from governments and other entities together, bringing those governments to the planning table, and allowing them to work collaboratively. Even better, they work alongside the stakeholders on the WCMAC who bring tremendous knowledge from personal and professional experience to develop a plan for the future.

My goal is for the plan to protect the valuable resources that Washington citizens enjoy and on which coastal communities depend. I hope the plan will develop a clear process for evaluating new ocean uses such as renewable energy extraction, offshore aquaculture, or anything else that may emerge in the future. And finally, I hope the evaluation process includes a thorough review by stakeholders and the WCMAC. I think these goals will help to ensure that the ocean and its resources are managed in such a way that valuable resources are preserved for the future.
Anything else interesting about you?
Before my work with Surfrider, I was an invasive species manager with The Nature Conservancy and an active wildland firefighter with the Center for Natural Lands Management. I also spent three years performing long-term monitoring of alpine lakes and streams at Mount Rainier National Park. While I am no longer a crew leader or participant in fire operations, the leadership and teamwork I learned from my training and experiences in each of those positions is extremely useful with my work on the coast.

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