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Mission

To collaboratively and effectively conduct and coordinate relevant, credible, and efficient regional monitoring and research of wildlife and marine ecosystems that supports the advancement of environmentally responsible and cost-efficient offshore wind power development activities in U.S. Atlantic waters.

Organizational Chart

As described in the RWSC Governance Structure, the RWSC is collaboratively led by four Sectors with equal representation on the Steering Committee. The RWSC is hosted by the two Regional Ocean Partnerships on the Atlantic coast, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, with support from the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation. Expand the accordions below to learn more about the RWSC organization.

Hosts

The Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) and Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), supported by the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation (CSSF) as their fiscal agent, are the hosts of RWSC and have responsibility for the programmatic, contractual, staffing, fiscal, and legal oversight of the entity. As such, NROC and MARCO support the RWSC Steering Committee in implementing the RWSC mission. NROC and MARCO are responsible for the hiring of a Director in consultation with the Steering Committee. NROC and MARCO provide appropriate oversight of the Director’s work to manage the RWSC budget, contracts, grants, and staffing to ensure that RWSC has sufficient capacity such that regional wildlife and offshore wind research, grant and contract, and fiscal administrative objectives can be met.

CSSF, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, serves as RWSC’s fiscal agent, consistent with Memoranda of Understanding with NROC and MARCO. In practice this means that CSSF is the vehicle through which staffing, contracts, and grants for RWSC are executed and managed. CSSF will receive and remit payments on behalf of RWSC for services rendered and funds received. This includes:

  • Providing a vehicle to maintain operating funding – funds received by members for
    implementing the RWSC Annual Work Plan
  • In selected cases, accepting and pooling funds from multiple sources for research
  • Procure and contract for research as needed

RWSC Staff

Director

Emily Shumchenia, PhD is the Director of the RWSC. She also manages the Northeast Ocean Data Portal.

Coordinator

Avalon Bristow is the RWSC Coordinator. She is also Program Director for MARCO.

Senior Advisor

Nick Napoli is Senior Advisor to the RWSC. He is also the Executive Director of NROC and Senior Advisor to MARCO.

Steering Committee

The RWSC Steering Committee contains equal representation of the four Sectors. Representatives are elected by the members of each Sector Caucus. The Steering Committee provides governance and oversight on the processes and procedures of the RWSC. This includes:

  • Quarterly virtual meetings
  • Liaise with existing and related science efforts that Steering Committee members may be part of
  • Establish and maintain two-way communication with sectors on RWSC progress, development, and direction
  • Provide guidance to the Director on refining near-term objectives for the RWSC
  • Provide criteria for how and what kind of research the RWSC supports
  • Provide oversight on the establishment of funding of the operations of the RWSC
  • Establish roles and approaches to membership for Subcommittees
  • Based on Subcommittee recommendation, approve plans to align research with gaps and needs assessment
  • Provide input on cross-cutting issues like data standardization, stressors and impacts as needed

2022 Steering Committee Members

  • States
    • Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
    • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
    • Maryland Department of Natural Resources / Maryland Energy Administration
  • Federal agencies
    • BOEM
    • NOAA
    • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Offshore Wind Industry Caucus
    • Orsted North America
    • Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind
    • Equinor
    • Shell (alternate)
  • Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations
    • Natural Resources Defense Council
    • National Audubon Society
    • The Nature Conservancy

Sector Caucuses

There are four RWSC Sectors: federal agencies, states, environmental non-governmental organizations, and the offshore wind industry. View the full RWSC Sector Caucus membership lists (August 2022).

Sector Caucuses provide input to the Steering Committee to ensure progress on strategic research on offshore wind and wildlife topics. Sector Caucuses also:

  • Select three (3) members from their Caucus to represent the Caucus on the Steering Committee. Each Caucus addresses Steering Committee membership individually and may have different criteria or methods for designating Steering Committee members.
  • Identify and sustain an approach to provide funding for the operations of the RWSC.
  • Provide a forum for all sector members to:
    • Engage, share, learn, and keep abreast of RWSC work.
    • Identify sector opportunities, issues or concerns that can be raised to the Steering Committee via Steering Committee sectoral representatives.
    • Allow Steering Committee representatives to pose questions, issues, and ideas from the Steering Committee to the sectors.

The RWSC Governance Structure includes frameworks for each Sector Caucus that specify considerations for membership, leadership, and contributions to RWSC.

Annual Work Plan

The RWSC Annual Work Plan outlines the broad bins of responsibilities of NROC, MARCO, and CSSF staff in launching and implementing the RWSC.

RWSC Annual Work Plan FY2023 (includes milestones achieved in FY2022)