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NOAA Sentinel Site Program

Sentinel Site Cooperatives
Using resources wisely to build more resilient communities.

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Have you heard the expression that the 'whole is greater than the sum of its parts?' That's the idea behind the NOAA Sentinel Site Program.  At five coastal locations, NOAA has established "Sentinel Site Cooperatives". These five Cooperatives have diverse geographies, from rocky shorelines to expansive salt marshes, and their unique geographic settings make them ideal places to study and address the effects of sea level change on coastal communities. The strength of this program is that it brings together a network of people, expertise, and resources that are focused on the common needs of specific places that people care about.

Sentinel Site Cooperatives bring together science, management, and technology to address the impacts of sea level changes on coastal communities.

Each designated Sentinel Site Cooperative includes has at least one National Estuarine Research Reserve, Marine Protected Area, or National Marine Sanctuary.  Within these locations NOAA has invested in coastal monitoring and environmental data collection and developed training and tools that enable local, state, and national resources managers to better understand their surrounding environment. The Cooperatives play an important role in facilitating the communication of scientific research and monitoring between scientists and resource managers, and educating the public about global issues that are impacting their coastal communities.

The benefits of participating in a Sentinel Site Cooperative include better understanding sea level rise and coastal inundation issues in your geography, obtaining funding for engagement with a Cooperative, training, and collaborating on projects. We invite you to become involved in the Cooperative in your area and help make your community more resilient in the face of global sea level rise.

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Geospatial Infrastructure: Informing Adaptation to Sea Level Rise (captions)

Researchers with the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve take Surface Elevation Table (SET) readings at Monie Bay in Somerset County, Maryland. Surface elevation tables—mechanical devices permanently installed in wetlands—allow scientists to measure small changes in surface elevation precisely and accurately. The SET tool allows scientists to better understand how coastal marshes will respond to sea level rise.

Working Together
Taking steps to address climate and sea level change.

Help make your community more resilient in the face of climate change and global sea level rise. Join Us!

The goal of the Cooperatives is to increase awareness of the effects of sea level rise and identify appropriate steps for communities to take in order to minimize the impact. The five Cooperatives leverage NOAA assets and other NOAA and non-NOAA infrastructure (e.g., water level stations), along with partners, research, and products to engage their communities on issues of sea level rise. The Cooperatives work with NOAA and other federal agencies, along with state and local partners. The hallmark of the Sentinel Site Program is that we are more effectively coordinating existing efforts to better achieve our common goals of coastal resilience.  

Who will use the products and services developed by NOAA Sentinel Site Cooperatives? The five Cooperative Coordinators directly engage local, state, and federal managers as part of the Cooperative team. This engagement process helps to ensure the science conducted, information gathered, and products developed are immediately used for better management.

Californians living on the coast may be used to seeing so-called "King Tides," a regular phenomenon where high tides are higher than normal on certain days of the year. Shown here: Embarcadero Waterfront in San Francisco, California. Image credit: Michael Filippoff