The Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (U.C.I.) invites you to Wednesday's 12th annual 'Future of the Ocean Symposium' where they'll be discussing what actions the Trump administration and Congress need to tackle regarding the health of the ocean and coast, among other issues.

Monmouth University U.C.I. Director Tony MacDonald. (Tony MacDonald)

"Every year we try to pick a topic we think will advance the dialogue," said Institute Director Tony MacDonald who adds that they chose this topic even before anyone knew that Donald Trump would be our President-elect.

"But we knew that we'd have a new President and Congress," said MacDonald. "We thought it was a good time for us to discuss what we could do in the future for the oceans."

MacDonald says that Trump has expressed concerns over the climate, but feels they need to be added to his agenda.

The conversation inside Wilson Hall Auditorium will also feature other issues being brought to the forefront.

"We take factors into account about 'what are the challenges that we're facing?' " explained MacDonald. "We know in this region that we have a lot of issues off-shore."

MacDonald explains that one of those issues affecting a large part of the Mid-Atlantic region include off-shore drilling, which he adds is something many politicians even oppose.

"The Obama Administration did not suggest drilling in most of the Mid-Atlantic," said MacDonald. "But they've also said that they're looking to the governors of the states, and so there was some interest in Virginia in at least looking at natural gas."

It's what differentiates New Jersey to other states, MacDonald adds, and his department at the U.C.I. has put together a regional ocean action plan that he hopes passes in the coming weeks.

Off-shore drilling and climate change are just a couple of the issues many environmentalists are concerned with, and this Wednesday also presents the chance for your to add your input.

"Our institute isn't a lobbying group, so we don't advocate but we do record this and educate communities on what the priorities might be," explained MacDonald.

He adds they'll also continue working with the state on some of these ocean issues.

Panelists at the event will be Dr. Donald Boesch from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Research and Former New Jersey Governor and current U.S. E.P.A. Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

"She's been a long time leader on environmental issues of all sorts but she's been very active specifically by looking at ocean issues over the last two-years," said MacDonald.

Both Boesch and Whitman who serve on the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI) Leadership Council, will also be honored for their work in the field.

Whitman will receive honorary recognition as a National Champion of the Ocean for her work regarding the oceans as Governor, and with the EPA, JOCI, and Pew Oceans Commission.

Boesch will be recognized as a Regional Champion of the Ocean, stemming from his service to "advancing knowledge about marine environments", which include being on the national commission during the Gulf Coast BP oil spill.

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