WCMAC Chairperson and Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee Seat
Garrett recently joined The Nature Conservancy as the Washington Coast Conservation Coordinator and was appointed to the Grays Harbor County Marine Resource Committee (GHC MRC). For the decade prior he worked for the Grays Harbor County Division of Environmental Health, which included being the staff coordinator for the GHC MRC since its creation in 2009. Garrett strives to build strong working relationships throughout the coastal communities. He also serves as the WCMAC representative on the Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC).
Garrett grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and lives in Montesano with his awesome wife and four, hopefully awesome, kids.
- What does marine spatial planning mean to you?
This may very well be the key question of this planning process. My short answer would be that it is a process that gives communities the tools to apply the best available science and data to appropriately manage the human and environmental needs and uses of the marine areas. However, it needs an answer longer than that to be successful and I think long answers would notably vary amongst those engaged in Washington’s MSP process. A quick internet search of the question reinforces that assumption. Wikipedia may be the first result, but Google came up with nearly 2,000,000 possible answers including The White House and the European Commission. This may be the ultimate challenge of this planning process – that those involved appreciate the variety of perspectives on the process, goals and plan while still being able to find enough agreement to be successful.
- How did you get involved and why are you involved in the planning process?
One of my first tasks as staff for the GHC MRC was to help facilitate a forum on marine spatial planning in Aberdeen. The process has trudged along since and the MRCs have stayed involved with the goal of ensuring that the plan can have a positive impact on the communities of the coast. This involvement has included workshops, summits, The Big Chew, WCMAC 1 and WCMAC 2.
Now that I am working as the Coastal Coordinator for TNC, I have the opportunity to further assist in the planning process with the deliberate objective of having a plan, and supporting tools, that will allow all decisions on the Washington coast be as informed and comprehensive possible.
- What do you hope the WCMAC can accomplish with the Washington Marine Spatial Plan?
The WCMAC has the opportunity, or possibly obligation, to have the Plan be influenced or driven by the needs and concerns of those who are dependent on our ocean and live in our coastal communities. My hope would be that WCMAC can provide recommendations, review and insight that takes full advantage of this opportunity. This would require honesty, trust, compromise and perseverance.
And I would like to add that it is important to remember that our coast has tremendous and wide-reaching ecological and economic importance, and this is a plan of the State Government and the corresponding responsibilities will affect the plan.