Monday, May 26, 2008

USGS National Coastal Program Plan

A Plan for a Comprehensive National Coastal Program" describes a comprehensive National Coastal Program that responds to critical regional needs while addressing national issues associated with coastal change, including nutrient enrichment, oxygen depletion, harmful algal blooms, chemical contamination, diseases in marine organisms, and fish kills; shoreline erosion, the increasing susceptibility of coastal communities to natural hazards and sea level rise, increasing demands on non-living resources (including groundwater, sand and gravel, and energy resources); and declines in living marine resources, habitat loss, loss of biodiversity, and invasions of non-indigenous species.

These issues reflect the growing impact of human activities on coastal systems and the increasing vulnerability of expanding populations to coastal change. The interdependencies of these issues in complex coastal systems requires multidisciplinary and integrated science to provide the information and tools essential to sustain the environmental health of coastal communities and resources; maintain and enhance the contribution of coastal systems to the Nation's economy and well-being; and ensure the safety of coastal populations threatened by natural hazards and human-driven change.

The overall goal of this Program is to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to natural and human-driven changes.

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