From 1970 to the present year, the number of people living in U.S. coastal counties rose 46 percent. Today, more than half of the nation's total population lives in just 673 coastal counties. By mid-century, this coastal population is expected to increase by another 7.1 million people.
Fifty-seven percent of our nation's gross domestic product is generated just within these coastal counties along our oceans and Great Lakes. Our nation's ports that drive our economy are in these areas. Our fisheries and most popular tourist destinations are here.
So how are our coasts holding up under this unprecedented human pressure? How do increasing populations and heavy economic use along our coasts relate to water quality, pollution, invasive species, and coral reef health? What effects might climate change pose to these vulnerable areas?
The National Ocean Service is dedicated to answering these questions and finding solutions that work by partnering with state and local coastal resource managers—the men and women who work on the frontline around the country to protect our fragile coasts.
A key way that NOS supports coastal managers is through formal training.
Many people in the field of coastal resource management are trained scientists whose management skills were developed on the job. The NOAA Coastal Services Center offers formal training in a wide range of areas, including project design, conflict management, needs assessments, and negotiations.
Coastal managers need a basic book of knowledge to successfully perform their jobs. The NOAA Coastal Services Center offers courses on topics such as the Public Trust Doctrine, visitor use impacts, and community planning and development to help build baseline skills.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System also offers a Coastal Training Program for individuals who make decisions that affect coastal resources. Courses offered by the reserves focus on issues such as stormwater management, community development, restoration science, and land use planning. A calendar of training opportunities is available online.
Technology-oriented classes from the NOAA Coastal Services Center focus on geographic information systems and remote sensing. Courses range from seminars for managers on the technologies that make the most sense for their organizations to courses geared towards the technologist who wants to learn how to apply spatial technologies to coastal management issues.
The NOS Office of Response and Restoration provides workshops for spill responders, contingency planners, and coastal managers. Through these courses, NOS shares its knowledge and capabilities in effective spill response that it has learned while working with other federal and state agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector partners.
In addition to these workshops, emergency responders and planners can build their knowledge of spill and chemical accident response at their own pace with OR&R's Self-Study Resources.