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Coastal Impact Stories

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The short stories provided here illustrate how coastal management programs are addressing coastal issues.

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Restoration Dollars Bring Six Times the Return on Investment

A 2020 follow-up study confirms 2011 projections by calculating that a NOAA habitat restoration investment of $10 million is powering up the local economy by at least $57 million, with more benefits every year.

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Related to: Other, Conservation, Data and Tools, Economics, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Michigan

Redesigned Parking Lot Improves Stormwater Management

When flooding caused parking and runoff issues, the Florida Coastal Management Program stepped in to fund a parking lot redesign with irrigation, a rain garden, and porous pavement that allows rainwater to pass into the ground below.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, Florida

Washington Coastal Resilience Project Ups Hazard Readiness

New sea level rise projections and guidance are informing community policies, plans, development, and funding projects, with help from NOAA programs and grants.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, Grants, Training and Education, Washington

California Opens Up Public Access in a Big Way

Adventurers now exploring 1,000-plus miles of land and waterway trails owe much to the three agencies of California’s coastal zone management program.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, California

South Carolina Produces Award-Winning Report on Living Shorelines

Data, case studies, and a decision tree will improve regulations, the permitting process, and the ability of homeowners to select effective treatments for various shoreline conditions.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Research, South Carolina

A Road-Flooding Fix Is Coming to California State Park

Park visitors and bayside neighbors will enjoy a safer, more accessible area because a group organized by NOAA’s Science Collaborative studied and rated various adaptation options.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, Research, Training and Education, California

Role-Play Workshops Accelerate County’s Adaptation Action

Officials and residents in South Carolina’s Georgetown County practiced working through adaptation-related decisions and trade-offs with the help of a South Carolina research reserve and NOAA’s Science Collaborative program.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, Training and Education, South Carolina

New Hampshire “Green Credits” Process Okayed by Two Regulators

“Credit for Going Green” provides a strategy for earning regulatory credits by installing natural buffers, plus a way to calculate buffer pollution-removal rates, with support from four national estuarine research reserves and NOAA’s Science Collaborative program.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island

Community Leadership Paves the Way to Promising Erosion Treatment

A project that mimics aspects of cobble sand beaches virtually stopped the erosion of shoreline uplands in pilot studies aided by NOAA and Washington State’s coastal zone management program.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Data and Tools, Economics, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Washington

Estuary Education Goes Virtual

NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System provides online tours, activity books, and more to teachers and students.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Training and Education, California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Virginia

Officials and Tribal Groups Restore Wisconsin Point

This revitalized Lake Superior peninsula—a win for cultural, ecological, and recreational reasons—was made possible by $1.5 million in grants administered by Wisconsin’s coastal zone management program.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Wisconsin

Hudson and Harbor Day Offers Hands-On Estuary Education

Thousands of students equipped with waterproof waders and chemistry kits, sketch pads, and data sheets record estuary wonders with the help of New York’s Hudson River Research Reserve.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Research, Training and Education, New York

Historic Pollution Settlement Awards $1 Million to Nurdle Patrol

The Mission-Aransas Research Reserve’s Nurdle Patrol documented plastic pellet pollution, evidence used to help reach an unprecedented $50 million settlement of a Clean Water Act lawsuit.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Conservation, Data and Tools, Training and Education, Texas

Ohio Efforts Enhance Lake Erie Ecology and Economy

Two NOAA-supported projects bring together wetlands restoration and research with landscape conservation strategies.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Economics, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Ohio

New Program Enriches 25 Years of Environmental Education

A stewardship program for older schoolchildren soon will join a popular, two-day field trip for fourth graders at Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Research Reserve.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Training and Education, Maryland

Wetlands Restoration Is Fulfilling a Community Vision

Heʻeia’s restored wetlands on Oahu are already providing benefits such as increased food security, water quality, and native species.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Natural Infrastructure, Partnership, Hawaii

Filtration System Keeps Saipan Lagoon Cleaner

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ coastal program made the system feasible by updating environmental regulations and fining those who don’t comply.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Eye in Sky Monitors Resource Threats

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s an unmanned aerial vehicle used by a Pacific commonwealth’s coastal program to spot natural resource dangers.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Coral Reef Conservation Program, Conservation, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Wild Rice Initiative Will Restore Native Coastal Wetland Species

A NOAA-supported project to map Lake Superior locations of wild rice and foster its cultivation preserves the cultural legacy of the region’s Native Americans.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Digital Coast, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, Partnership, Training and Education, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan

Targeted Outreach Tackles Invasive Eucalyptus Threat

The Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve’s approved plan to remove some invasive eucalyptus and replant with native species will leave a healthier, more diverse ecosystem.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Training and Education, Conservation, California

Veterans Benefit from Nature’s Power to Heal and Teach

Programs help military veterans adjust to civilian life through on-the job training and outdoor activities.

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Related to: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserve, Conservation, Training and Education, Partnership, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, Puerto Rico

Parasite-Host Findings Aid Knowledge of Temperature Impacts

Research reserve data from seven states contributed to one of the first U.S. studies to quantify how temperature-parasite interactions affect the survival of both parasites and their hosts.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Research, Partnership, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia

NOAA Expands Coastal Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Creating sign language for “estuary” and other coastal terms, and trails that accommodate wheelchairs and the needs of the visually impaired—these are just two of the contributions from research reserves and coastal zone management programs.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserve, Top Stories, Grants, Partnership, Alabama, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia

Learning about Estuarine Ecosystems in American Sign Language

Three New England research reserves, the Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf, and Boston University create an immersive instructional experience for educators of the Deaf, aided by a NOAA grant.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Training and Education, Grants, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island

Nature-Based Shoreline Workshops Given Top Marks

An overwhelming majority of Lake Erie shoreline engineers, designers, and landowners surveyed intend to apply what they learned.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserve, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, Ohio

Creating a Flood-Ready Community

A leadership training, now in its fifth year, has taught one hundred-plus participants ways to lessen local flood risks by enacting practical plans, codes, and ordinances.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Training and Education, Delaware

NOAA Rehabs Puerto Rico Reefs,Trails, and Flood Maps

The agency joined with partners to reattach more than 7,000 coral reef fragments, restore a research reserve’s entire trail system, and provide flood-risk maps and training.

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Related to: Top Stories, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Coral Reef Conservation Program, Digital Coast, Puerto Rico, Conservation, Data and Tools

San Diego County Benefits from Adaptation Strategy

Fourteen adaptation planning initiatives are taking place in nine cities with the help of a NOAA grant and a local research reserve.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Partnership, California

NOAA Advances “Blue Carbon” Approach to Conserving Wetlands

Happenings include research reserve tools and workshops and the addition of coastal ecosystem carbon to the U.S. greenhouse gas inventory.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Digital Coast, Top Stories, Conservation, Economics, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Training and Education, Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington

Tool Reduces Ocean Conflicts

Offering a cohesive approach to offshore management, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Ocean Action Plan aids industries connected to offshore energy, tourism, undersea cables, and marine traffic.

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Related to: Digital Coast, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia

Tide Station Data Can Be Lifesaving

Near-real-time data, plus research reserve expertise, helped a Maine fire chief decide to evacuate residents during a fierce nor’easter.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, Training and Education, Maine

Three Reserves Beat Back Green Crab Threat

Early detection and action (more than 192 traps at 83-plus sites) stops this predator from wrecking the shellfish industry.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Research, Partnership, Alaska, Oregon, Washington

First-Ever National Marsh Assessment Tool

Research reserves determine methodology for calculating sea level rise impact on the marsh and test it in 16 locations. Methodology standardizes the effort and creates a national approach.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Research, California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Nationwide

Storm Preparations Pay Off

Emergency permitting program helped state return to normal, faster, after Hurricane Mathew.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Economics, South Carolina

Games at Three Research Reserves Supercharge Estuary Education

These interactive games, co-developed with 140 University of Delaware students, help users understand how specific actions can help, or hurt, wetland creatures and habitats.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Data and Tools, Grants, Research, Training and Education, Delaware, Florida, Texas

First-Ever Coral Recovery Plan Gets Buy-In

Hawai‘i and the NOAA Coral Program’s cooperative agreement made this possible. Network of no-take zones and fishery management areas represent top two recommendations.

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Related to: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Conservation, Hawaii

Citizen Scientists Catch Eels—and Valuable Data

Over 700 people participate in this catch, count, and release effort. Data collected helps further our understanding of habitat losses or gains, shifts in the food web, and other ecosystem changes.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Research, New York

NOAA-Funded Helicopter Tool Tracks Shifting Sands

New technology approach, funded through a coastal management grant, provides information helpful for addressing an annual $3 million problem associated with sand movement and resulting dredging needs.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Economics, Illinois

Living Shorelines Move from Plans to Reality

A new accomplishments report proves that the state’s living shorelines strategy is bearing fruit.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, North Carolina

Habitat and Ecotourism Flourish at Lake Erie Bluffs

Coastal Zone Management leadership and NOAA grants helped purchase a 600-acre site that is good for wildlife, good for the public, and good for the environment.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, Ohio

Partnership Increases Impact, Saves Money

The Rookery Bay Research Reserve and Florida International University make resources go farther by sharing staff, facilities, and other assets.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Economics, Partnership, Research, Training and Education, Florida

Assessment Reveals Estuary’s Economic and Social Value

Research reserve study says area households would be willing to pay millions for restoring estuary health, reaping rewards for fisheries and quality of life.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Economics, Grants, Research, New Hampshire

NOAA Assesses Tidal Marsh Resilience

In a first, NOAA scientists standardized a multi-measurement assessment of tidal marsh resilience to sea level rise.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, Research, Nationwide

Superstorm Sandy NOAA Disaster Relief Appropriations

The $2.4 million award emphasized partnerships and region-based, multifaceted solutions. The projects, many focused on natural infrastructure, frequently led to changes to local and state ordinances.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Top Stories, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey

NOAA Funding Benefits Massive Flood-Control Initiative

A NOAA grant was used to assess natural infrastructure performance after Hurricane Sandy. Also developed: a web-based tool used to analyze natural infrastructure investments and identify parcels likely to provide the most benefits.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Data and Tools, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, New York

Imitating Nature to Decrease Future Flooding

A $450,000 NOAA grant was used to ID alternative erosion-control approaches and where sea level rise is mostly likely to impact salt marsh.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Data and Tools, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, New Jersey

City Planning Includes Updated Resilience Strategies

A $425,000 NOAA award provided the resources needed to identify vulnerabilities and develop evacuation plans, revise stormwater management plans, and implement living shorelines. Also created—a vulnerability index map for all 239 coastal municipalities.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Data and Tools, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, New Jersey

Clean-Water Turnaround for Northern Lake Erie Coast

A project aimed at lessening flooding and improving water quality through stormwater reduction resulted in water-absorbing plants and other “best practice” methods being installed in various spots across Lake Erie’s northern coast.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Natural Infrastructure, Research, Ohio

Offshore Renewable Energy Planning

The Oregon Coastal Management Program will help ensure that ocean uses and natural resources are considered in wave energy plans.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Partnership, Research, Training and Education, Oregon

Project Rescues Wetlands from Sea Level Rise

The restoration also expands otter habitat and safeguards a super-efficient “blue carbon” source, with help from the Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, California, Economics, Coastal Zone Management, Grants

A Future for Native Oysters along the Pacific Coast

Data and tools from three West Coast research reserves allow officials to choose restoration “sweet spots” for bringing back declining oyster grounds.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, Grants, Research, California

Adaptation Planning Paid Off for This Community

NOAA tools were used to adjust building codes and land use policies, implement nature-based solutions, and incorporate climate change. Actions paid off when Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy hit.

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Natural Infrastructure, Connecticut

Getting City Kids to the Shore

More than 10,000 kids see the beach for the first time and learn about coastal stewardship through this Coastal Management Program-funded effort.

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Training and Education, Georgia