At coastal conferences, one of the most frequent questions heard by those staffing the company exhibit is, "How can my organization work with the Center?"
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center is a leader in efforts to protect the nation's coastal resources and communities. This work is accomplished with local, state, and nonprofit organizations committed to the same goals. Since 1994, the Center has worked with these constituent groups and provided them with the data, tools, and services that might otherwise be unavailable.
Because the range of products and services is so broad, confusion about how to best access the Center is understandable. The following outlines the most common ways constituents and the Center find themselves working together.
Use the Tools and Services Available on the Website
Here are a handful—land cover data for the developed coastline; a visualization tool used to "see" potential waterfront permitting scenarios; community risk and vulnerability assessments; benthic data; elevation data; training; historical hurricane data; easy access to applicable ocean laws and policies; and survey and needs assessment assistance.
Hundreds of products and services are available at www.csc.noaa.gov. Each was developed in response to a specific need by the client community, but all were developed so that the broader audience of users could take advantage of the results. These products are available on the website free of charge.
Apply for a Grant
Most years, the Center is able to offer grants to organizations undertaking work that furthers NOAA and Center goals. The total amount varies year to year, from $2 million to $38 million depending on congressional appropriations. Announcements are published in the Federal Register primarily during July and sometimes in January, posted on Grants.gov, and archived on the Center's website.
Awards have ranged from $50,000 to $10 million and can be for multiple years. The number of awards has ranged from nine to forty, and the scope of each project can vary greatly. Successful applications have involved environmental education, ocean observing systems, oceans and human health initiatives, and spatial technology, to name a few.
Work through Your Membership Organization
While the Center continues to work with individual organizations to assess needs and develop projects, for the past few years a greater emphasis has been placed on working with national and regional membership associations. These membership groups are those that the Center's primary constituents belong to, such as the Coastal States Organization, Association of State Floodplain Managers, and National Association of Counties. These associations provide an effective way to prioritize constituent needs and develop products that a greater number of people can use.
Organizations that see a need the NOAA Coastal Services Center might fill can contact their member associations. Together, the Center and these associations can work to address common needs of the coastal resource management community.
For additional information, contact Donna.McCaskill@noaa.gov.