NOAA's Office of Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) now offers "OCRM in Your State," a new online resource which employs the latest GIS/web technology to illustrate federal investments in coastal management programs in 34 states and territories.
If you've ever asked yourself, "What's NOAA done for my state lately?" – or even if you haven't – all you need to do to find out is fire up your laptop and take a look online. On March 7, NOAA's Office of Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) launched its "OCRM in Your State" web page, which employs the latest GIS/web technology to illustrate federal investments in coastal management programs in 34 states and territories.
You can click on any state/territory to view current federal funding and state/territory matching funds for coastal programs administered by NOAA. Thumbnail descriptions at specific locations highlight coastal management successes and link to more information about each coastal program.
Plans include updating the page annually with current funding information and adding "layers" that highlight regional stories and break down investments by Congressional district.
OCRM leads the nation's efforts to manage and conserve ocean and coastal resources by providing funding, technical assistance, and a national perspective to state and territory coastal programs. OCRM oversees the National Coastal Zone Management Program, a voluntary partnership between NOAA and U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states and territories; the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, comprised of 28 reserves established for long-term research, education, and coastal stewardship; and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, which grants matching funds to state and local governments to purchase coastal lands for preservation.
OCRM also administers the Coral Reef Conservation Program, which partners with states and territories to protect coral reefs, and the National System of Marine Protected Areas, which advances the conservation and sustainable use of the nation's vital natural and cultural marine resources.
Carefully managing coastal resources has become increasingly important as the impacts of climate change and human use threaten coastal communities and habitats. More than 53 percent of the nation's population lives in coastal counties, and that number is growing. Coastal areas also generate billions of dollars annually in jobs and revenue, including over half to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
NOAA recognizes the need to help coastal and Great Lakes communities sustain themselves both environmentally and economically. In its recently released Next Generation Strategic Plan, NOAA names "resilient coastal communities and economies" as one of its top long-term goals.
So any time you wonder what NOAA's been up to in your backyard (or, more accurately, in and near your beaches, rivers, and bays), just sign on to "OCRM in Your State" for a user-friendly update.