Marine Planning Process (MPP) Courses

Marine Planning Process (MPP) – Course Options

The MPP curriculum, derived from global best practices and featuring interactive and innovative educational styles, is designed for professionals with interest in Coastal Management at all experience levels in the practice of coastal and marine planning.


Available as a custom course, or please email for updates on future trainings. 



Please email for upcoming online course information and registration updates.



Marine and coastal resource managers are challenged to address key ocean challenges, give states and communities greater input in governmental decisions, streamline federal and international decision-making, save taxpayer dollars, and promote economic growth. Marine Planning is a key tool to achieve these goals. While there is a wealth of information describing the need for Marine Planning, including the U.S. National Ocean Policy, few resources exist on how to conduct Marine Planning in detail. In response, a team of marine planning professionals developed an accelerated short course for coastal decision makers. The original Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning – Advancement Training (CMSP-AT) serves as the basis for the current Marine Planning Process workshop, which actively popularizes the use of Marine Planning ithrough the development and delivery of a highly-interactive curriculum for coastal and marine professionals.

The regional on-site MPP and MPP-Online Course Curriculum Highlights Include:

  • Defining the Planning Area
  • Stakeholder Identification
  • Ocean Visioning
  • Management Goals and Objectives
  • Mapping Uses of a Planning Area
  • Identification of Outside Factors
  • Identification of Emergent and Future Uses
  • Characterization of Resources
  • Addressing Conflict and Compatibility
  • Selecting Management Strategies
  • Crafting Regulatory Language
  • Developing Progress Indicators
  • Plan Implementation
  • Plan Evaluation and Adaptation
  • Developing Decision Support Tools and Coastal Web Atlases
  • Developing Spatial Allocation Plans and Alternatives

As a Participant You Will:

As a Participant

Engage and learn from the Marine Planning Curriculum that includes region-specific modules, interactive game-theory based activities and other innovative educational approaches.

Network with coastal management professionals in an educational setting.

Build the peer-to-peer network of coastal professionals in the local regions and join the national peer-to-peer network, developed during our past trainings.

About Us

MPP regional in-person courses and the MPP-Online Course will accelerate the use of coastal and marine spatial planning through the development and delivery of a curriculum for professional coastal managers, derived from domestic and international best practices, processes, experience, and lessons learned.

Region-focused curricula will be provided for on-site courses, while the MPP-Online Course will have a broader, international focus. Each will feature collaborative and interactive problem solving activities and incentives for continuing MPP education and networking.

The original CMSP-AT curriculum was produced by Battelle Memorial Institute and was made possible through generous funding provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Marine Conservation Initiative. 

Online and Regional, place-based Course Details:

The Regional Course will require two (2) or four (4) days of on-site participation. The 4-day program includes one field session; the majority of  all the sessions are interactive classroom lecture, activities, and discussion.

The Online Course will be provided in weekly 90-minute interactive synchronous sessions, supported by weekly assignments to be completed as per the participant’s schedule. The course is 8 weeks in length. 

Please note: Weekly webconference times are based on instructor and student availability, and will be elicited by student survey approximately 3 weeks prior to course start. (Last year webconferences were held Tuesdays 5:00-6:30 pm Eastern U.S. Time.) 

Lead Mentors

Michael BarrettMichael Barrett is an Executive Education program instructor based in the Boston, MA area.   Mike has previous work experience at the Battelle Memorial Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and as a grantee of the National Geographic Society. Mike was part of the Battelle team the created and edited the original curricula, and has facilitated training programs since 2013. He holds a Master of Environmental Management from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, as well as certificates in Non-Profit Management and Spatial Analysis. He also holds a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Political Science from Roanoke College.


Barbara Garrity-BlakeBarbara Garrity-Blake is recognized as a creative, imaginative, and innovative cultural anthropologist. For more than 25 years, she has been a leader in collecting, preserving, promoting and writing about North Carolina coastal folk traditions, particularly the traditions of the state’s coastal fishing villages. She is widely known for her writings, music, and leadership. Her writings explore the culture and working world of commercial fishing. She is based at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC.



Prior to the course start date, you will need to complete a one-page pre-reading assignment that will be delivered via email to all registered participants.


Online courses will be held via online virtual classroom; attendance at each weekly web conference is required in order to complete the course, due to the interactive nature of the curriculum. We recommend that you use a USB headset/microphone and Webcam so that you can participate in real time with our voice over internet protocol (VOIP) software. Note: fees to acquire computer, internet connection, headset, and webcam are not included in the course tuition.

Course participants need to arrange to have reliable internet access through their local internet service provider (ISP). We encourage participants to arrange for broadband access to the internet via a cable modem, DSL, or a satellite connection. Mobile platforms or tablets are not supported for full web conference functionality in this course. Dial-up connections and some mobile apps and platforms will not work effectively for this course. We cannot provide support for your network connection, nor can we help you with any home networking equipment such as firewalls, routers, or switches. For any of those issues, you will want to contact your ISP directly.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions at (919) 613-8715 or by email at


This training program partners with the Open Channels Forum for Ocean Planning and Management for an open database of the most current resources in the field. 


Thanks for leading the successful Caribbean Region CMSP-AT workshop. It was an excellent experience both in terms of contents and techniques. There were challenging, real situations that fostered the effective engagement from all participants. All activities were carefully planned, interesting, educative, and fun. A great toolbox for coastal and marine resources managers! A big thank you!
– Ernesto Diaz, Director, Puerto Rico Coastal Management Program

The classroom role playing was very fun and very interactive and the peer-to-peer social events allowed participants a memorable experience. The CMSP Advancement Training was a success and will help coastal decision-makers remember the steps of the coastal and marine spatial planning process.
– John Knowles, The Nature Conservancy

My experience was a very constructive one, not only for the structure of the course but also the interaction with other professionals of different areas. I highly recommend the Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Advancement Training!
– Wilfredo Mas, Puerto Rico Planning Board

Being relatively new to the concept of CMSP, the CMSP Advancement Training was an invaluable experience. The interactive nature of the training gave me the opportunity to learn hands on what it takes to successfully plan for our coastlines. The week was informative, interesting, and essential to understanding how to cooperate with stakeholders during this process and develop attainable goals and objectives. It was also creative and unique, challenging myself and my fellow classmates to think outside the box. After completing the training, I believe I am better prepared to contribute and provide leadership as our state plans for the future of the Gulf Coast.
– Kristen O’Keefe, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

Thank you so much. I really needed this training to conduct and launch our state’s Marine Spatial Planning efforts in Lake Erie. Best Training Ever!
– Joe Sieber, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

You do amazing work!! Thank you for creating this training. This is the best thing I’ve done so far to further my education on CMSP. I wish these were available to more people.
– Sarah Winter Whelan, American Littoral Society

Every Regional Planning Body should take this course!
– Anonymous

Past Participants
More than 200 participants from seven regions have attended in-person or online courses.