Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
Did you know that over half of the nation’s population resides in coastal watershed counties, which is an area that only accounts for 17 percent of the nation’s total land area? Also, the population densities within those coastal counties are six times greater than that of inland counties. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coastal counties provide 58 percent of our nation’s gross domestic product. Coastal counties not only face population and economic pressures, but also natural ones such as sea level rise, frequent extreme weather events, habitat loss and coastal erosion, just to name a few. As a result, coastal county leaders, managers and residents must address a complex set of issues to remain resilient to natural and economic disasters in the future.
On October 1, 2013, NACo released “Digital Coast: Tools to Promote County Resilience.” The report provides an overview of Digital Coast, a suite of tools to analyze and communicate about coastal natural resource management issues. Developed by NOAA Coastal Services Center, with support from partnership organizations, Digital Coast offers powerful tools to assist users in accessing data on coastal vulnerability, simulating projections of impacts, creating publishable visualizations and ‘snapshots’ of potential future scenarios, and more. This report is a valuable resource for a number of stakeholders, including:
- County officials and appointees
- Managers of coastal natural resources (including coastal planners and officials)
- Private landowners and developers
- Economic development authorities
- Emergency and natural disaster responders
- Educators and students
“Digital Coast: Tools to Promote County Resilience” provides additional background on Digital Coast, highlights a recent educational forum in Mississippi, and describes specific Digital Coast tools to address needs in three main topic areas:
- Natural Resource Management and Habitat Restoration,
- Land Use and Planning, and
- Outreach and Communication.
Finally, the report closes with an exploration of emerging trends and public policy initiatives before concluding with a look at how counties can move forward with Digital Coast.
Click here to download and read the report.