The Dominican Republic is one of 13 Caribbean nations in which IPO is facilitating watershed management to address land-based sources of marine pollution.
While NOS focuses efforts on the communities, economies, and ecosystems situated and dependent on America's 95,000 miles of shoreline and 3.5 million square miles of coastal, Great Lakes, and deep-ocean waters, the world ocean itself, of course, knows no human-made bounds. The President’s Ocean Policy Task Force calls for the United States to cooperate and provide leadership internationally in the protection, management, and sustainable use of the world’s ocean and coastal regions.
NOS’s International Program Office (IPO) coordinates NOS’s International Coordination Council, which promotes multidisciplinary and integrated engagement to foster economic prosperity, protect marine biodiversity, and safeguard food supplies, both at home and abroad.
IPO promotes multidisciplinary actions that protect marine biodiversity. Hardwood mangrove trees, which grow at the intersection of land and sea across the the Caribbean, support a great variety of animal and plant species.
IPO and NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program co-manage the NOAA International Coral Grant Program. This program supports the development of national marine protected area (MPA) networks, capacity building for MPA and watershed management, and socioeconomic assessments and monitoring in four main regions – the Wider Caribbean, Micronesia, Southwest Pacific, and the Coral Triangle (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste).
In recent years, the program supported socioeconomic monitoring in the Caribbean, studied the impacts of land-based pollution sources on coral reefs in Southern Belize, improved watershed management in Mexico and Brazil, and strengthened MPA networks in Colombia.
This aerial photograph of coastal Belize shows burgeoning development in the Caribbean -- the U.S.'s "third border."
NOS’s International Coordination Council developed a new regional strategy to lead its extensive Caribbean portfolio in the U.S.’s “third border.” As part of an ongoing partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, IPO is facilitating watershed management to address land-based sources of marine pollution in 13 countries throughout the region – at national, regional, and/or local scales. IPO and NOS’s Office of Coastal and Ocean Resource Management recently conducted a workshop on coastal management in Trinidad and Tobago, and IPO and other NOS offices periodically offer MPA training for resource managers across the region.
IPO, together with NOS’s Office of Coast Survey, National Geodetic Survey, and Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, are collaborating with other NOS offices and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center to establish an observation framework for the region. The Inter-American Development Bank is funding the project.
IPO discussed MPAs and marine conservation at a training on maritime security in Cartagena, Colombia. The participants are displaying a TED (turtle exclusion device), which prevents sea turtles from getting caught in fishing nets.
Back on the home front, IPO and other NOS offices represent NOS at major international conferences and events and partner with other U.S. federal and state agencies, international organizations, and academia. IPO also helps prepare personnel from other NOS offices when their jobs require them to travel abroad.
All of NOS’s work supports an informed community that understands the role of the ocean, coasts, and atmosphere in the global ecosystem – making it possible for people beyond our national borders to make the best decisions not only for “their” ocean, but for everyone else’s, too.