On December 18, President Donald Trump signed into law the Digital Coast Act (S. 1069). Championed by NACo, the Digital Coast Act officially codifies the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Digital Coast program. The bipartisan legislation passed the House by voice vote and was unanimously approved by the Senate.
Digital Coast is an online resource that houses data, tools and training to help coastal counties protect county-owned infrastructure, residents and businesses against hurricanes, earthquakes, drought, tsunamis and other disasters. However, without codification, the program was not guaranteed funding to be a permanent resource to counties.
Counties work closely with NOAA, as NACo is part of NOAA’s Digital Coast Partnership. In June 2018, NACo testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard in support of NOAA’s Digital Cost program. Appearing on behalf of NACo, Mr. Paul Barnes, Geographic Information Services Director for Harrison County, Miss., discussed the importance of Digital Coast for county governments in preparing for and responding to natural disasters.