In 1991 the Oregon Legislature amended ORS chapter 196 to establish the Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) made up of a variety of ocean stakeholders, local governments, and state agencies, and charged it with providing the governor and state agencies with policy advice on ocean matters. The legislation gave the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), which includes the state’s federally-approved coastal management program, primary responsibility for ocean planning and providing assistance to OPAC. One of OPAC’s basic duties was to prepare a Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) for managing the resources and activities in the state's territorial sea. Click here to view the folder Oregon Territorial Sea Plan .

Click the "read more" button below to learn more about the history of the Territorial Sea Plan.

A Dynamic Plan for a Dynamic Environment

The TSP is not a static plan and as new ocean uses arise the plan has been amended to accommodate their presence. This amendment process first occurred with the arrival of trans-ocean fiber optic cables on Oregon’s shores during the 1990s. Because these cables cut across the continental shelf and the territorial sea before connecting to the cable system onshore, they had the potential to conflict with other ocean uses, most importantly fishing. Through the Oregon Ocean Policy Council, a process was conducted to develop recommendations for amending the TSP by adding a new chapter to address seafloor cables. This effort resulted in Part Four: Uses of the Seafloor, which was adopted by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) through an administrative rule in 2001. At the same time, LCDC also amended Part Three: Rocky Habitat Management Strategy, inserting a new section to deal with the protection and use of the Cape Arago complex of rocky habitat. That amendment also established the basis for future amendments of Part Three.

Adoption of Part V

The need to amend the TSP arose again in 2007, when a number of wave energy companies submitted preliminary permit applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to develop energy production facilities within ocean fishing areas off the Oregon Coast. At the same time, a system of marine reserves was being proposed for the territorial sea. The resulting high degree of concern in coastal communities and among the fishing industry culminated in a meeting between coastal legislators, fishing industry representatives and Governor Kulongoski. On March 26, 2008, the governor issued Executive Order No. 08-07 directing agencies to “Protect Coastal Communities in Siting Marine Reserves and Wave Energy Projects”, and DLCD to “seek recommendations from OPAC concerning appropriate amendments to Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan, reflecting comprehensive plan provisions on wave energy siting projects.”

On that same day, the State of Oregon and FERC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “coordinate the procedures and schedules for review of wave energy projects in the Territorial Sea of Oregon and to ensure that there is a coordinated review of proposed wave energy projects that is responsive to environmental, economic, and cultural concerns while providing a timely, stable, and predictable means for developers of such projects to seek necessary approvals”. In the MOU, FERC agreed to “consider the extent to which the proposed project is consistent with the Oregon plan” when issuing a permit or license and to “consider any terms and conditions that are recommended by Oregon under section (10)(a)(3) of the FPA [Federal Power Act] to ensure consistency with the Oregon Plan”. So it became important for Oregon to complete the plan directed by the governor.

In October 2008, the LCDC authorized the creation of the TSP Advisory Committee to consider and propose amendments to OAR 660, division 36 (Ocean Planning) and to amend the TSP for marine renewable energy generation facilities in state waters. This was achieved, in part, with the adoption by LCDC of Part Five: Use of the Territorial Sea for the Development of Renewable Energy Facilities or Other Related Structures, Equipment or Facilities, in November 2009. Part Five Section B.1 (a) established the siting of areas designated for MRE facilities in state waters by referencing maps that will be incorporated into Part Five as Appendix B, by this amendment. However, this amendment did not address the location or spatial aspect of marine renewable energy development, which would require a subsequent amendment of the TSP.

The second phase of amending the TSP for marine renewable energy development took over three years to complete and required an extensive public outreach and involvement process. The public advisory and review processes that were conducted over that was complex, iterative, comprehensive, and thorough in scope and content. OPAC, through its Territorial Sea Plan Work Group (TSPWG), conducted regular public meetings as it formulated a draft plan framework. In addition to its own meetings, the TSPWG conducted two separate series of public review work sessions at various coastal and inland locations, to inform and gather public input on the summary overlays of mapped data and information developed by DLCD, ODFW, NOAA, researchers, technical consultants, local advisory organizations and several NGOs. At the same time, DLCD staff made formal presentations or met informally with local advisory groups and committees, as well as city councils and county commissions, to discuss the progress of the TSP amendment and collect feedback.

Although this chapter was originally adopted by LCDC in January of 2013, and by NOAA the following fall, the rule change was invalidated by the Court of Appeals.  Following the invalidation, DLCD staff led OPAC and LCDC through the process to make the required revisions, and to re-adopt Part Five in 2019.  To learn about the changes made to Part Five during the re-adoption process, view the presentation to OPAC from December 2018.  

Revisiting Part Three

In 2016, OPAC began the process to, once again, amend the TSP Part Three: Rocky Shores Management Strategy. This amendment will be based on the recommendations set forth in the 2001 amendment, by delineating, categorizing and combining adjacent rocky habitat resources and features into cells.

For additional information on the update visit - Updating the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy

The current Rocky Habitat Strategy was included as a chapter of the initial Territorial Sea Plan. The Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC), which stewards the plan, was given the responsibility to amend it over time as needs and conditions change, as new rocky habitat site designations emerge, or as more detailed site studies and analyses improve our knowledge. Much has changed on the coast in the years since the current plan adoption, including population changes in Oregon and along the coast, identification of new rocky habitat sites not included in the original plan, new or changing uses of habitat sites, and a growing awareness of the anticipated effects associated with climate change and ocean acidification. The OPAC has determined that it is time to assess and amend the Rocky Shores Strategy to reflect this new understanding and proactively manage Oregon’s rocky habitats for the conditions and needs of today and into the future.

This plan amendment for rocky habitats will incorporate the best available science and consider the needs, concerns, and values of Oregonians balanced with the state’s goals for a resilient coastal ecosystem that can provide enduring opportunities for its users. 

Consistent with Statewide Planning Goal 1, citizens are invited to participate during all phases of the amendment process. At the outset of this process, the OPAC will use its Territorial Sea Plan Working Group, composed of OPAC members, agency representatives, and others with relevant expertise in rocky shore management, science or education, to evaluate the latest knowledge about the rocky shores system and generate recommendations for the plan amendment. DLCD is leading and coordinating this effort. The input and assistance from the general public, resource users, coastal communities, and other interested parties is integral to the process.