In 1972, the United States enacted a wave of legislation to protect and sustain our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes. These landmark bills included the amendments to the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Act Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act. These Acts fundamentally changed how the United States managed marine, Great Lakes, and coastal environments.

In the last 50 years, the challenges impacting the health and sustainability of our blue planet and the communities that rely on them grew and became more complex. Climate change and climate-related impacts are fundamentally changing our ocean and Great Lakes. Coastal development places increased pressures on marine ecosystems. Multiple demands on marine and Great Lakes resources lead to challenging policy and regulatory questions for managing uses. And biodiversity loss weakens ecosystems and their ability to withstand stressors, adapt to climate change and help regulate our global climate.

These challenges all share a common solution: humanity.

The decisions that governments, businesses, and communities make today will have long-term impacts on the health of our blue planet. Join us in Washington, DC or virtually for Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) from June 7 – 9, 2022, themed “Sea: The Future,” to celebrate the 50 years of progress achieved and to set a course for the new policies and actions necessary to sustain our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes and transform our future.

For information on past Capitol Hill Ocean Weeks, visit our CHOW archive.