Dee Freeman, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources addresses partners within the South Atlantic Alliance.
On October 19, 2009, NOAA joined Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and other supporting partners as the states announced an agreement to work together to better manage and protect ocean and coastal resources, ensure regional economic sustainability, and respond to disasters such as hurricanes.
These four states share a rich array of ocean and coastal resources providing economic, environmental, and social benefits for each of the states and the region as a whole. Pollution, declining fisheries, degraded coastal habitats, vulnerability to natural hazards, and an explosion in population growth and development are all putting stress on coastal and ocean resources.
The Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance will bring Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina together to address these issues and more. The mission of the Alliance is to significantly increase regional collaboration among the four states with support from federal agencies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, regional organizations, private businesses and the public. Initially, the Alliance will focus on four priority areas:
NOAA was designated a federal co-chair to support the Alliance, along with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Paul Sandifer has been named as NOAA’s senior representative on the team.
The formal announcement of the Alliance was held during the annual Coastal States Organization meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. Jack Dunnigan, NOS Assistant Administrator, was recognized along with Bill Ross, former North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, for their leadership and support during development of the Alliance.
NOAA continues to play a key role on the Executive Planning Team. The states are currently conducting workshops funded through an engagement grant submitted by NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Team and facilitated by the Coastal Services Center. Results of these workshops will be the foundation of the Alliance’s Action Plan.