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Northeast Ocean Data Portal Newsletter • April 2020
This issue reviews the Portal’s data updates, events, and news during the first quarter of 2020 and looks ahead at upcoming happenings.

Data Updates

All of the updated data below can be viewed on the Data Explorer map. Most Portal datasets are also available in downloadable databases or map services on the Data Download page.
Marine Transportation – Navigation Channels
  • Added new map layer from US Army Corps of Engineers showing congressionally authorized navigation channels.
Learn More
Energy and Infrastructure – Transmission Lines and Substations
  • Updated map layers showing the voltage and location of electric transmission lines and substations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Learn More
Marine Life – Sea Turtles
  • Added new map layers showing annual and monthly densities of tagged loggerhead sea turtles from Florida to southern New England
  • In collaboration with NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Learn More
Marine Life – Birds
  • Added new map layers showing migration routes and winter habitats of northern gannet, red-throated loon, and surf scoter
  • In collaboration with US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Learn More

Next Anticipated Data Updates

Energy and Infrastructure

  • Ongoing updates to planning areas, lease areas, proposed projects, and infrastructure (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)


  • Updated information from Massachusetts and other states if available

Marine Life and Habitat

  • Sediment type, benthic habitat disturbance, and benthic habitat vulnerability to fishing gears from the Fishing Effects model (New England Fishery Management Council)
  • Integrated Sentinel Monitoring Network (ISMN) regional monitoring sites (NERACOOS, ISMN)
  • Seabed stress and mobility (US Geological Survey)


  • Updated maps of whale watching activity/areas
  • Updated maps of scuba areas
  • Updated maps of charter/party boat activity
  • In collaboration with local industry, stakeholders, and experts

Cultural Resources

  • Updates to Parks and Reserves map layer (The Nature Conservancy)

Portal in Action

Data Sharing for an Atlantic Canada Marine Atlas Workshop (COIN Atlantic) (March 12)
As part of a workshop for marine spatial planning practitioners in Atlantic Canada, Nick Napoli and Emily Shumchenia from the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Northeast Ocean Data Portal Working Group gave a virtual presentation with Karl Vilacoba of the MARCO Data Portal about how Regional Ocean Partnerships on the US east coast developed, maintain, and use their data portals.

Maine Fishermen’s Forum, Rockland, ME (March 7)
Nick Napoli presented in a seminar on “Fisheries Mapping & Data Portals Including Industry & User Driven Updates to the NE Data Portal”. NROC and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) are partnering to develop updated map and data products for the Portal that show the use of ocean space by the fishing industry. The goals of this project include ensuring the fishing industry has a direct voice in the development of map products that represent their knowledge, to improve fishing industry trust in regional data products and the data that are being used to inform decisions, and to develop mechanisms to ensure collaboration with industry on future data updates. RODA and NROC seek to gain input from participants in various fisheries to determine the need and potential uses for fisheries data products, to design and review draft products, and to develop documentation and communications about the appropriate application and use of final data products that are available on the Portal. The seminar included short presentations to set the content for discussions, including presentations about the data, functionality, and uses of the Portal and about the status of the current project to update its fisheries data. After the presentations, attendees participated in an interactive discussion about potential improvements to the Portal.

Boston Sea Rovers 66th Ocean Expo, Danvers, MA(March 7)
At the Boston Sea Rovers 2020 meeting, Ted Maney (Salem State University) collected feedback and distributed maps on recreational scuba diving sites in New England on behalf of Portal staff to support an update to the recreational diving map layer.

Ocean Sciences Meeting, San Diego, CA(Feb. 20)
Kelly Knee (RPS & Data Portal Working Group) presented “The Northeast Ocean Data Portal: Maps and Data for New England’s Oceans” in a session focused on “Integrating, Disseminating, and Visualizing Quality Data at the Regional Scale to Support Resilient Coastal Communities”. 

New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), Boston, MA(Jan. 28)
The Council received a presentation on the Northeast Ocean Data Portal. Representatives from the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) informed the Council about their collaboration, along with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), to update commercial fisheries data on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portals and engage industry through focus groups and other outreach efforts in the development of data products. 

Public Comment Period: Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment (Jan. 3–Feb. 18)
From January 3 to February 18, NOAA Fisheries solicited public comment on a proposed rule to designate coral protection areas on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine and to implement the measures of the NEFMC’s Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment. The Data Portal supported the public comment period, as well as development of the Amendment, by providing interactive maps of the proposed coral protection areas, which could be overlaid with maps of fishing activity and other types of data.

News Items

Updates to electric transmission lines and substations data

New layer from Army Corps of Engineers shows navigation channels

Portal maps and data support public comment period for NEFMC Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment

Webinar recording about species movement data products now available

Upcoming Portal Events

TBD: NROC Ocean Planning Committee webinar(s). See for details.

May–September: Review of Commercial Fishing data products with industry members

Contact Emily Shumchenia ( to schedule a Portal training.

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