Partner Spotlight: Capitol Hill Ocean Week

Join the (U.S.A.) National Marine Sanctuary Foundation at Capitol Hill Ocean Week

Every World Ocean Day since 2001, scientists, policymakers, scholars, businesses, conservation leaders, and people like you and me who are passionate about the environment, have come together in Washington, DC for Capitol Hill Ocean Week (fondly known as CHOW), convened by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. What began as a small, daylong gathering twenty years ago has now blossomed into the nation’s premier annual ocean conservation conference, attracting thousands of people each year for lively discussions of how to address the most pressing conservation, science, and management issues facing our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

For the past two years, Capitol Hill Ocean Week pivoted to a virtual format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This gave us the opportunity to reflect on how to best reach today’s audience and uplift diverse voices from all around the world in conservation conversations. We know that achieving bold and lasting change requires us to listen and learn from the experiences, perspectives, and values of all people. CHOW 2021 focused on centering justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our ocean and Great Lakes. The Foundation is committed to centering the voices of diverse communities who have a stake in the future of our ocean and Great Lakes and continuing to integrate that knowledge and wisdom into programs and policies to sustain our waters for current and future generations.

This year’s conference, on June 7 and 8, will build on the lessons learned from the past two years and connect with people around the world in-person in Washington, DC and through virtual programming. The theme of this year’s conference is “Sea: The Future” and will celebrate 50 years of ocean and coastal conservation and the Save Spectacular campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

A series of events in the 1960s and 70s laid the groundwork for the modern environmental movement in the United States. In 1962, writer and marine biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, which outlined the issue of pesticide pollution and its impact on wildlife. We saw our planet from space for the first time in the iconic 1968 Earthrise photo, which highlighted both the scale and the fragility of our one blue planet. A year later, the Santa Barbara oil spill caused destruction along the California coastline and the Cuyahoga River burned in the heartland of our country, drawing national media attention to the ongoing environmental crisis. A wave of landmark legislation enacted in 1972 – the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act- marked a turning point for the modern environmental movement to protect our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2022 will look back at the beginning and forward to the future of how these Acts fundamentally changed how the United States manages marine, Great Lakes, and coastal environments and chart a course for the new policies and actions needed to shape our future. CHOW 2022 will feature more than 50 experts, policymakers, Indigenous and community leaders, and stakeholders in eight high-level plenary sessions that will dive into a broad array of topics, from water quality and sustainable seafood to renewable energy and ocean exploration. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Capitol Hill Ocean Week remains free and open to the public.

Now we want to hear from you! We are crowdsourcing short videos (less than a minute long) about the future of our ocean. Share your vision for the future of our ocean and what you’re doing to make a difference, and you might see your video featured at Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2022 (and beyond!) You can submit a video to the CHOW 2022 Capsule at

We hope to see you at CHOW 2022!