Hazards Planning Research Center

Coastal Zone Management

APA's Hazards Planning Research Center and the Coastal States Organization (CSO), which represents the interests of governors from the 35 coastal states, commonwealths, and territories, are both current members of NOAA's Digital Coast Partnership.

NOAA's Coastal Services Center, creator of Digital Coast, is sponsoring a fellow to work with APA and CSO in producing a Coastal Zone Management PAS Report. The report will examine the nature and extent of state technical assistance available to community planners, as well as compare coastal management legislation across the U.S. The report will also identify best practices in the use of geospatial technology for managing coastal hazards, climate change threats, environmental quality, and other issues relevant to coastal zone management.

In 1972 the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) created the National Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program. The CZM Program allocates funds to the 35 coastal states and territories through specific programming areas ranging from enhancing public access to mitigating coastal hazards. The diverse coastal regions throughout the U.S. deeply vary in their priorities and use, from conservation to tourism to industry. While this report will outline the differences between various state strategies, it will also point to comparisons among coastal regions prioritizing similar uses.

Coastal zone management is continually becoming more complicated. Climate change effects — particularly sea level rise — threaten coastlines, and is a politically volatile topic. The PAS Report will explore the role of coastal zone management in adapting to and mitigating climate change, building off the CSO survey and report on sea level rise. Technology is important now, more than ever, to help manage these increasingly complex coastal regions.

In the findings from the 2010 APA Digital Coast Needs Assessment Survey of members working in coastal communities, the majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that there is strong support for geospatial technology within their organization (64 percent) and that their organizations are very aware of the capabilities of such technology (69 percent). However, only 28 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization provides/pays for all the needed training, and only 25 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization funds sufficient investment in geospatial technology. This disconnect between acknowledging geospatial technology as beneficial and actually supporting an investment in it will be explored in the PAS Report.

Geospatial technology is becoming more accessible and affordable. NOAA's Coastal Services Center and the Digital Coast Partnership offer a growing array of freely available online Digital Coast tools, resources, and training specific to coastal zone management. These tools will be directly incorporated into the report, in addition to best practices and case studies detailing the use of technology in coastal zone management.


APA Hazards Planning Research Center

Combining original and past research, the collaborative center focuses on supplying planners and the general public with information on how to build resilient communities. Activity areas include research, outreach, education, and policy.

Coastal States Organization (CSO)

Representing the 35 coastal states, commonwealths, and territories, CSO provides information, updates and alerts that keep states attuned to developments in Washington, D.C. CSO's updates enable states to respond to legislative, regulatory and policy developments as they occur to ensure the sound management of coastal, Great Lakes, and ocean resources. Work groups focus on coastal water quality, coastal hazards, coastal zone management, ocean policy, and island affairs.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM)

OCRM provides national leadership to state and territory coastal programs and estuarine research reserves to keep America's coasts healthy and resilient. The Coastal Management Program is a partnership between OCRM and the coastal and Great Lakes states, territories, and commonwealths. The partnership works to preserve, protect, develop and, where possible, restore and enhance the nation's coastal zone resources.

NOAA Coastal Services Center

The center provides the technology, information, and management strategies used by local, state, and national organizations to address complex coastal issues. The center's core areas of expertise include geospatial technologies, training, and social science. Products and services developed by the center include data, tools, training, and technical assistance. The Digital Coast, which was developed by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, is the delivery mechanism for many of the center's web-based products.