Advancing Coastal Science

New five-year strategic plan and organizational realignment.

I'd like to share two recent developments from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS).

In June, we released a new five-year strategic science plan titled Advancing Coastal Science: 2017-2021. It is the product of three years of engagement with stakeholders, which enabled us to refine our understanding of the most critical issues and how our scientific expertise can best aid coastal decision-makers. NCCOS’s mission is to deliver ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies. Advancing Coastal Science outlines how we shall accomplish that mission in four priority areas: Marine Spatial Ecology, Stressor Impacts and Mitigation, Coastal Change, and Social Science.

June also marked another important milestone in the evolution of our office. On June 26, we officially completed an organizational realignment from five research Centers to an office with three divisions. Previously, NCCOS’s five Centers were based primarily on the geographic location of our staff, not on the type of science they conducted or the coastal challenges they were attempting to resolve.

The realignment consolidates research on similar topics into the same organizational units, regardless of geography. Significant change is rarely easy, often requiring tough choices and a willingness to adapt past practices to meet the current and future landscape. While we recognize that it will take some time to grow into the new structure, it better positions NCCOS to implement the priority science areas outlined in Advancing Coastal Science.

Dr. Steve Thur
Acting Director, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science