Coastal and Marine Planning

Coastal and marine planning science analyzes and supports the allocation of the spatial and temporal distribution of human uses in coastal and marine areas to balance social-economic and ecological objectives and uses of marine space. NCCOS supports coastal communities' needs to balance tradeoffs between use of natural resources and conservation through many research, assessment, and modeling investigations across multiple spatial scales, ranging from specific estuaries to regional marine ecosystems. The integrated coastal and marine planning portfolio results in robust scientific products to advance the principles of ecosystem-based management by addressing the full array of interactions within ecosystems.

Areas of Focus

Why Coastal and Marine Planning Matters

Competition among many users for coastal and marine resources has been on the rise for decades and will continue to increase. Coastal and marine planning is a process that brings together multiple ocean users, including ocean industries, government, conservation, and recreation sectors to make informed and coordinated decisions about how to sustainably use natural resources. Our coastal and marine planning products include innovative digital maps that identify where and how humans use coastal and marine waters, and what natural resources exist—such as habitat and associated species—to minimize spatial and temporal use conflicts. Thus, coastal and marine planning is very similar to land use planning, and our scientists continue to advance this initiative, providing coastal and marine data and information to facilitate evaluation of the benefits and consequences of management actions on both ecosystems and society.

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