NOAA recently initiated a project called "Voices from the Working Waterfront," which will record oral histories about efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of these unique and often historic maritime communities.
Land use planners, waterfront business owners, community organizers, and fishermen are among those who will be interviewed for the project, which was funded with a grant from NOAA's Preserve America Initiative to the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM).
According to project director Kenneth Walker, an OCRM program analyst, "Working waterfronts are socially and culturally integral to their communities and their 'sense of place.' The project will preserve oral histories that showcase successful community efforts to preserve these waterfronts through the implementation of tools such as land-use planning, historic preservation, and financing mechanisms. Oral histories give interviewees the opportunity to share information about how their community is working to preserve their working waterfront, with the goal of fostering similar success among their peers."
"Voices from the Working Waterfront" also builds on work recently funded by the Economic Development Administration, NOAA's sister agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2010, a diverse team of partners, including the National Sea Grant Law Center and Maine Sea Grant, received funding to develop a Sustainable Working Waterfront Toolkit. As a means of sharing successful models for preserving these waterfronts, the toolkit includes case studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of a variety of preservation tools (financial, regulatory and policy, planning, community engagement, etc.) in maritime communities across the nation.
Other partners in the oral history project include the National Sea Grant Law Center and Maine Sea Grant.
Where to Listen:
The recordings made for "Voices from the Working Waterfront" will be archived in Voices from the Fisheries, an oral history database maintained by NOAA Fisheries that documents the human experience of U.S. fisheries. They will also be linked to the website of the National Working Waterfront Network. Other partners in the oral history project include the National Sea Grant Law Center and Maine Sea Grant.