About / Organization


Jeffrey L. Payne, Ph.D


Dr. Jeff Payne is the Senior Executive Service director of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. Under his leadership, the nation’s coastal management activities are coordinated to address the significant challenges affecting our coastal communities. All activities focus on constituent needs, creativity, effectiveness, equitable service delivery, and a commitment to a partnership approach to doing business.

Before becoming the Office for Coastal Management director in 2014, Payne served as the deputy director of NOAA’s Coastal Services Center for 16 years. In 2019 he served as the acting National Ocean Service deputy assistant administrator. He also established and led, for eight years, the NOAA Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team, a NOAA-wide effort to improve the value of NOAA services to the Southeast region states, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

From 2009 to 2010, Payne served a year as the deputy chief of staff for NOAA. He was deputy director of NOAA’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning in Washington, D.C. and served in the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President as the budget examiner for NOAA and the Marine Mammal Commission. He also served a year in the U.S. House of Representatives as the American Geophysical Union Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.

Payne is well respected among coastal and ocean science and management practitioners and serves as a subject matter expert on natural resource, community resilience, service equity, and climate adaptation issues. His current interagency leadership appointments include the Science for Disaster Reduction Working Group, Flood Resilience Interagency Working Group, Federal Floodplain Management Task Force, Recovery Support Function Leadership Group, Mitigation Framework Leadership Group, and U.S.-Mexico Good Neighbor Environmental Board Federal Advisory Committee.

Payne received a doctorate in geophysical oceanography from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in geology from West Virginia University. While at Texas A&M, he was employed by the Geodynamics Research Institute as a research associate. Payne has conducted extensive ship-based geological and geophysical research and consulting work, with 380 days logged at sea. He has published on multiple scientific, technical, coastal management, and public policy topics.