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Addressing Coastal Issues

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

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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, 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: 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

Reserves Advance “Blue Carbon” Approach to Conserving Wetlands

Through guidance, tools, and workshops, the research reserves aim to make wetland conservation profitable by leveraging the carbon stored in this ecosystem.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Conservation, Partnerships, Research, Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, 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, Pennsylvania, Virginia

Tide Station Data Can Be Lifesaving

A nor’easter’s sudden wind changes can push storm surge and floods into unexpected areas, defying regional predictions and catching emergency response crews off-guard. In January 2018 at Wells, Maine, the fire chief avoided that frightening...

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

Federal Contracting Vehicle Benefits State and Local Efforts

Local, state, and federal agencies are getting faster and easier access to the nation’s top geospatial firms through a streamlined process developed by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. The contract also can process task orders rapidly...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Economics, Nationwide

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

Towns Will Cut Flooding While Boosting Public Access and Compliance

Guidance will help thirty-seven of Virginia’s coastal communities address important local needs and regulatory requirements while identifying the best potential sites for wetland restoration, living shorelines, and other nature-based infrastructure...

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Related to: Other, Economics, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Virginia

Chesapeake Bay Initiative Educates Hundreds of Virginia Students

Over three years, a project to expand Chesapeake Bay watershed education has reached 800 Virginia ninth graders in four counties and boosted teacher literacy in climate science through field trips, trainings, and use of real-time data....

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Related to: Digital Coast, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Training and Education, Virginia

Environmental Monitoring Benefits Ecosystem, Economy, and Citizens

The National Estuarine Research Reserves document environmental change by monitoring water quality, water temperature, weather, biodiversity, land use, and habitat. People use these data to understand current conditions, spot trends, and...

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

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

Reserve Data Help Safeguard Community and Watershed Health

Of the 32 largest cities in the world, 22 are located on estuaries. In the U.S., the National Estuarine Research Reserves System’s environmental monitoring program sounds the alert when water-quality conditions pose potential dangers to people...

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

Reserve Findings Fortify Coastal Communities

Coastal wetlands represent the strongest natural defense against rising flood, storm, and sea level rise impacts, preventing more than $625 million in property damages during Hurricane Sandy and reducing property damages throughout the Northeast...

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

Multimillion-Dollar Shellfish Economy Depends on Research Reserve Data

U.S. estuaries are the lifeblood of commercial shellfishing. Total fish catch in estuaries contributes $4.3 billion annually to the national economy, and estuaries are nurseries to more than 75 percent of all the fish and shellfish harvested...

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

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

Training Exercise Yields 450 Miles of Vulnerability Information

Oregon’s coastal managers not only must prepare for sea level rise but also for the potentially catastrophic scenario of an earthquake and resulting tsunami. New mapped information identifies more than 90 community assets along shorelines...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Data and Tools, Education and Training, Oregon

NOAA Training Graduates Are Safeguarding Coastal Communities

A survey of Digital Coast Academy graduates shows an overwhelmingly positive response to its instructor-led and online courses, as 96 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I gained knowledge and skills that I will apply...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Coral Reef Conservation Program, Digital Coast, National Estuarine Research Reserves, Top Stories, Training and Education, Nationwide

Trainees Learn to Guide Collaborative Meetings to Finish Line

A recent survey showed that “Planning and Facilitating Collaborative Meetings” was the most-popular training offered by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and the following stories from graduates show why:

  • Two workgroups improved...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Training and Education, Nationwide

Adaptation Training Brings On-the-Ground Results

A recent survey showed that the “Adaptation Planning for Coastal Communities” course was one of most popular trainings offered by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, and several course graduates explain why:

  • Information gathered...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Training and Education, Nationwide

Green Infrastructure Trainees Put Principles into Practice

Several graduates of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management training, “Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience,” say their newfound skills are improving resilience in their own backyards:

  • An Oregon official is...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, Nationwide

Course Connects Dots between Planning and Measurable Results

Participants in the “Planning Effective Projects for Coastal Communities” course from NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management credit their training with on-the-ground successes:

  • An Ohio agency staffer used his new skills to create...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Training and Education, Nationwide

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

Teacher Workshop Makes Estuary Science Come Alive

Dozens of fourth-through-sixth-grade educators experienced the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem firsthand during the “Estuary Science for Elementary and Middle School Teachers” workshop. They collected water temperature data, pulled a “seine...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Training and Education, Virginia

Master Plan Covers 367-Mile Texas Coast

About 6.5 million people with total wages topping $37 billion reside along the Texas coast, as do bustling ports, military installations, 25 percent of the nation's refining capacity, and most of the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Top Stories, Economics, Natural Infrastructure, Texas

Collaboration Aids Fishermen and Offshore Wind Management

With the advent of offshore wind energy interests, Virginia’s fishing communities needed help identifying and safeguarding fishing areas vital to their livelihoods. State and federal representatives partnered with these communities to develop fine...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Economics, Data and Tools, Virginia

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

Marine Debris Campaign Lauded as Nationwide Model

Approximately 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources. With that statistic in mind, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program established the first East Coast plan focused on reducing marine debris statewide. Virginia is also first...

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

Living Shorelines Move from Plans to Reality

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

In 2015, 203 of the state’s real estate professionals and 162 landscape architects, engineers, and marine contractors attended living shoreline workshops...

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

World’s Most Successful Eelgrass Restoration Project

The largest and most successful eelgrass restoration project on the planet is now growing on the very spot where, for five decades, eelgrass had been rooted up and destroyed by disease and successive hurricanes. Located on the Atlantic...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Top Stories, Conservation, Natural Infrastructure, Virginia

Gardens Combat Coral-Harming Pollution

Coral Reef program co-leads volunteer effort to plant native vegetation that absorbs runoff.

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Related to: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Conservation, Natural Infrastructure, Training and Education, American Samoa

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

Beachsite’s Natural Infrastructure Helps Protect Corals from Runoff

At Playa Tamarindo on Culebra Island, runoff from sediment and cars driving on the beach imperils coral reefs and a local waterway.

Partners addressed the problem by planting vegetation in bare soil, installing a gravel parking lot to absorb...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Coral Reef Conservation Program, Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Natural Infrastructure, Puerto Rico

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

Study on Coral-Harming Chemical Spurs Corrective Action

A study from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and a team of international scientists showed that oxybenzone, a common chemical found in over 3500 sunscreen products, greatly increases the vulnerability of juvenile corals to bleaching...

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Related to: Coral Reef Conservation Program, Conservation, Research

Reserves Grow Business Partnerships

NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserves contribute to coastal economic stability. For instance, a Florida reserve offers information and assistance to local ecotourism boat operators; a Puerto Rico reserve provides an ecotourism certification...

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

Standardized Environmental Assessments

NOAA scientists developed a standardized approach, the first of its kind, for assessing how changing environmental conditions impact tidal marshlands. This methodology allows communities to compare and contrast results from different...

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

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: Costal Zone Management, Top Stories, Grants, Natural Infrastructure, Connecticut, New York, 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

Digital Coast Informs National Hurricane Center Work

Hazard-preparedness tip sheets provided by NOAA’s Digital Coast for the National Hurricane Center are being used by emergency managers nationwide, and Digital Coast elevation data sets were used to improve the hurricane center’s Potential Storm Surge...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Partnerships, Nationwide

Digital Coast Saves U.S. Taypayer $50,000

The Department of Energy found it made economic sense to use Digital Coast data for a study on sea level rise impacts to energy infrastructure.

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Economics, California, Florida, New York, Texas

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

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

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

Designing the Post-Invasive Species Forest

The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve is working with the City of Superior to study the impacts on local forests of an invasive beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer. This beetle has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Research, Training and Education, Wisconsin

Offshore Renewable Energy Planning

To encourage offshore renewable energy projects in areas that pose the least conflict with existing ocean uses and natural resources, Oregon developed a marine spatial plan. This new chapter of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan identifies...

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

Land Use Guide for Tsunami Preparedness

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, located 50 miles off the Oregon coast, can produce earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 and higher. A major earthquake along this fault line, a one in three chance within the next 50 years, could result in a tsunami...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Oregon

Coastal Hazards Resilience Network

Despite Washington’s rich history of progressive policies that promote balanced shoreline management, the state’s diverse programs were not optimized to help local planners develop long-term strategies for coastal hazards. Through a NOAA...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Data and Tools, Washington

Lake Superior Reserve Works toward Regional Stewardship Goals

Since its designation in 2010, the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, through the efforts of staff members and academic researchers, has supported the mission of long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education...

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

Environmental Education Supports Tribal Harvests

Over the last decade, the unprecedented loss of wild rice to climate change factors has disrupted traditional tribal harvests of the Lake Superior Ojibwe. The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and University of Wisconsin-Extension...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Partnership, Training and Education, Wisconsin

Protecting Wetland Forests from Invasive Species

The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees in the Great Lakes region over the past decade. Natural resource managers in Wisconsin are particularly concerned about the resulting domino effect on riverine...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Conservation, Partnership, Wisconsin

Climate Trainings Started Here Impact other Coastal States

Climate change is perhaps the leading environmental issue of our time, but local officials often need help understanding potential impacts on the local level and which adaptation strategies make the most sense for their situation.

...

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

Invasive Cordgrass Eradicated in Padilla Bay

Spartina, often known as cordgrass, provides critical coastal habitat along the Gulf and East Coasts. On the West Coast, it’s a different story. Here this nonnative aquatic grass is an invasive species. Spartina overcrowds mudflat habitat...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Research, Washington

Marsh Mapping Techniques Piloted in Rhode Island

Monitoring data from the Narragansett Bay Research Reserve and the Rhode Island Salt Marsh Assessment show that rapid degradation of salt marshes in the area is likely caused by sea level rise. Resource managers and policy makers needed...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, Rhode Island

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

New Ecotourism Certification Program

Jobos Bay is an income producer for surrounding communities; this program helps people get jobs and helps visitors understand and protect the environment.

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Economics, Training and Education, Puerto Rico

Flooding Resilience Plan Developed for Hudson River Communities

Flooding from peak tides and tropical storms cost the city of Kingston, New York, millions of dollars. This led to the creation of the Kingston Tidal Waterfront Flooding Task Force and a partnership with the Hudson River National Estuarine...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Data and Tools, New York

Using Lidar to Plan for Sea Level Rise

Since the late 1800s, farmers in Oregon have been diking estuarine wetlands for their own agricultural benefit. With sea level rise imminent, knowing the location and condition of the dikes, as well as who is responsible for maintenance...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Oregon

First Tribal National Park in United States

An essential part of the coastal management effort is protecting and preserving important natural resources for future generations. The acquisition of 89 acres of old-growth forest and a quarter-mile of shoreline along Lake Superior led...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Conservation, Wisconsin

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

The First Research Reserve – South Slough

On June 27, 1974, the South Slough Sanctuary in Oregon was dedicated as the first site in what is now known as the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. South Slough is one of 28 research reserves around the country dedicated to research...

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Related to: National Estuarine Research Reserves, Oregon

Determining Tsunami Exposure

Although a potential tsunami-inundation zone had been delineated in Oregon, officials needed information about what was located in this area to determine what additional preparedness and response measures were needed.

The U.S. Geological...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Oregon

Land Cover Data used to Analyze Sedimentation

Clear-cut timber harvests contribute to excess sediment loads in streams, eventually leading to problems for estuaries. However, timber harvest records on private lands are not centralized or available in GIS format, making it difficult...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Conservation, Data and Tools, Oregon

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

Identifying Habitat Loss, Prioritizing Restoration

The nonprofit Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership—supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, the states of Oregon and Washington, and other entities—is working to preserve and restore the natural...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Conservation, Data and Tools, Oregon, Washington

Volunteer Storm Team Elevates Water Quality Issues

An elite group of volunteers quickly mobilizes during heavy rain events along the Samish River in Washington State to collect important water quality data. This information is used by the coastal officials who make decisions about commercial...

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

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

Wetlands Restoration Is Fulfilling a Community Vision

Agricultural changes to the Heeia wetlands, once known for abundant taro crops and naturally healthy fishponds, resulted in increased runoff, invasive species, and sedimentation. Concerned community members consulted with local elders and...

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Related to: Coastal Zone Management, Economics, Hawaii

Mapping the Urban Realm to Enhance Community Resilience

Tropical urban forests provide recreational benefits and a wide range of environmental services, including protection from storms, sea level rise, and coastal erosion, and protection for coral reefs and nearshore marine ecosystems. The...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Conservation, Data and Tools, Partnership, Hawaii

Comparing Differences in Tsunami Sensitivity along the Coast

Historical geological evidence shows that the coast of Washington is vulnerable to high-magnitude tsunamis. To understand the potential impacts, state and local leaders sought help developing local risk-reduction strategies.

In cooperation...

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Related to: Digital Coast, Data and Tools, Research, Washington