MEDIA ADVISORY: Capitol Hill Ocean Week returns in-person and virtually to Sea: the Future

Silver Spring, Md. – June 1, 2022 – The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation welcomes members of the ocean and Great Lakes community, environmental advocates, government and industry leaders, members of Congress, and philanthropists to a hybrid presentation of Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), the nation’s premier ocean and Great Lakes policy conference.   

When:  June 7-9, 2022, 9:00 am to 5:30 pm ET  

Where:  The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC and Virtually via 

Who: The conference will feature more than 50 experts, policy makers, community leaders and stakeholders. The conference is convened by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. CHOW will offer eight high-level plenaries along with virtual partner breakout sessions and in-depth discussions. 

What: Capitol Hill Ocean Week is an opportunity for people who are passionate about the environment, specifically ocean and Great Lakes conservation, to gather and discuss the most pressing issues in our field. The theme for CHOW 2022 is “Sea: the Future.” This year, CHOW is part of the Save Spectacular campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.  

For those attending CHOW virtually, all plenaries will be streamed through our virtual conference platform, along with partner breakout sessions. It will also be available through the Capitol Hill Ocean Week mobile app, which will allow both virtual and in-person attendees to ask audience questions and participate in polling features.   

The Ocean Awards Gala, held annually to recognize ocean and Great Lakes conservation leaders and champions, will follow the CHOW conference the evening of Tuesday, June 7th. In 2022, the gala will recognize and celebrate Dr. Marcia McNutt with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Eric and Wendy Schmidt and the Schmidt Ocean Institute, 11th Hour Racing, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, and the Schmidt Family Foundation with the Conservation Innovation Award; and Diving With A Purpose with the Sanctuary Wavemaker Award. 

Agenda, Session Descriptions, and Speakers (and see below) 

Covid-19 Guidelines 

Travel Information 

CHOW is a free event, made possible by the support of our funding partners, and is open to the public. Registration is now open for Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2021 here:  

Find more information on speakers, panels and other CHOW features and frequently asked questions, visit

For information on covering CHOW as a member of the media, access to panelists or sessions, or any other questions, please contact Chip Weiskotten,, 518-669-3936.

In 1972, the United States enacted a wave of legislation—the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act and amendments to the Clean Water Act—to sustain our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. 

Today, 50 years later, we face new challenges. Climate change and biodiversity loss are fundamentally changing our ocean and Great Lakes. Coastal development increases pressures on ecosystems and communities. Multiple demands on resources and space lead to challenging policy and regulatory questions regarding how to best manage uses and sustain livelihoods. At the same time, coastal communities face a multitude of other issues, including migration and displacement, loss of culture, and ensuring equitable access to nature and resources.

These challenges all share a common solution: people.  

The decisions that we make today will have long-term impacts on the health of our blue planet.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at CHOW 2022

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion, equity, justice, and belonging. Achieving bold, lasting change in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes policy requires us to listen to and learn from the experiences, perspectives, and values of all people and communities. Our responsibility is to integrate that knowledge and wisdom into conservation programs, science, and policy to sustain our waters for current and future generations. Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) offers a place to convene people who care about our blue planet to have meaningful conversations and build allies in pursuit of equitable policy, an inclusive ocean and Great Lakes conservation movement and supporters for justice. The Foundation commits to including a diversity of speakers and will dedicate resources to ensure inclusion at CHOW.


Capitol Hill Ocean Week Agenda


CHOW Opening Plenary – Sea: The Future Sponsored by: Marine Mammal Commission

Tuesday, June 7 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am ET

In 1972, the United States enacted a wave of legislation to protect our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. Fifty years later, we face new challenges as we work together to conserve our ocean and Great Lakes for future generations. This plenary session will explore how these Acts fundamentally changed how the United States manages marine, Great Lakes, and coastal environments and what needs to happen in the future.

Fishing, Swimming and Drinking: Why Clean Water Matters

Tuesday, June 7 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm ET

Water quality is essential to healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems. Pollution-related stressors have a significant cumulative impact on the health of marine ecosystems. The plenary will highlight the importance of water quality and watershed management to sustaining our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes and protecting human health.

Food from the Sea Sponsored by Hawk Eye360

Tuesday, June 7 from 1:15 pm to 2:30 pm ET

We rely on our ocean and Great Lakes for food and culture. This plenary will explore how we manage food from the salt and freshwater seas and what role they play in global and national food security and protecting cultures in the future.

Wind, Water and Waves: Marine Renewable Energy

Tuesday, June 7 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET

The U.S. set an ambitious goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. To achieve this goal, the U.S. will need to substantially grow renewable energy. How do we grow blue energy to power communities, protect our ocean and Great Lakes, and manage multiple uses?  

Expanding Ocean Understanding 

Wednesday, June 8 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am ET

Roughly 80 percent of the ocean is unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored. Only an estimated 10–25 percent of marine species have been described globally. Baseline data and long-term monitoring are necessary to track the status of both species and habitats. This plenary will focus on how Indigenous knowledge and wisdom, community science and technology can expand our understanding of the ocean in the face of climate change.

The Underwater Industrial Revolution

Wednesday, June 8 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm ET

Industrial activity in the ocean is growing rapidly. The ocean represents one of the planet’s largest and last areas for expansion to support economic growth – as a source of food, material, and space. How do we plan for economic growth while protecting habitats and species critical for a thriving ocean? How do we value ocean resources and measure sustainable development? 

Wild Waters  Sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Wednesday, June 8 from 1:15 am to 2:30 pm 

America the Beautiful strives to voluntarily conserve at least 30 percent of US lands and waters by 2030. This plenary will explore the actions the U.S. needs to take locally and globally to protect biodiversity protection and how to measure progress.

The Path Forward

Wednesday, June 8 from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm ET

What path do we take individually and collectively for a thriving ocean and Great Lakes? This plenary will focus on solutions and actions we can take moving forward to address the issues discussed at CHOW 2022. 

The agenda will also include Virtual Breakout Sessions, available on the virtual conference platform and mobile app, hosted by partner organizations during select time slots on both days.  For a full list of virtual breakout sessions, visit the Agenda page.


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications