Initiatives | Community Development Partnership

The Coastal Community Development Partnership

What is the NOAA-EPA Coastal Community Development Partnership?

Both NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have long been involved in the implementation of environmental management laws (e.g., Coastal Zone Management Act, Clean Water Act) that support state, territorial and local governments, and regional planning agencies to better address growth and development impacts, especially impacts to natural resources. The continuing growth in coastal areas is frequently cited as an issue requiring the attention of all levels of government involved in land and water use issues. While each agency has different authorities and responsibilities, greater collaboration is needed to protect and preserve coastal communities, their natural assets and their economies while promoting safer and smarter development. Consequently, NOAA and EPA have formalized a Coastal Community Development (“Smart Growth”) Partnership to more effectively deploy the technical assistance, training and policy advice provided by individual programs within each agency.

photo of coastline

The Coastal Community Development Partnership brings together NOAA and EPA offices to better support state and local governments as they promote safer and smarter development along the coast.

Since 1999, several key offices and programs in EPA and NOAA, including the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, have worked together as opportunity allowed pooling their interests, talents and, in some cases, shared resources, on an informal basis to address coastal community development issues. Topics addressed ranged from transportation and housing, to neighborhood issues such as “walkability,” to meeting environmental program requirements, such as those addressed by the Clean Water Act Phase II stormwater rules. Constituencies from both agencies reached out to one another for additional help to address policy issues, develop new management tools and training, conduct workshops, implement demonstration projects, and provide technical assistance. The authorities and responsibilities of both NOAA and EPA led to more frequent collaborations and ultimately the development of a more formal partnership through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

In January of 2005, NOAA and EPA signed a MOA to formally establish the Coastal Community Development (CCD) Partnership to better support state and local development innovations. The EPA-NOAA Partnership addresses community needs for training, information, policy advice, best practices, and technical assistance by providing:

Why is this Interagency Collaboration Promoting Smarter and Safer Coastal Growth Important?

Populations and built environments in coastal watersheds are growing rapidly, with 55 percent of the U.S. population already living within 50 miles of the coast. The environmental impacts of development directly affect the ability of communities to balance natural resource protection with sustainable economic growth in their decision-making. The pressures of coastal growth profoundly affect the ability of NOAA and EPA and our state and local partners to achieve national goals for managing coastal resources sustainably and protecting human health and the environment.

One key approach to addressing this challenge must be more integrated and coordinated partnerships among all levels of government. Independent recommendations, including the most recent from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, consistently call for more effective management of the coasts. To realize the goal of economic and environmental progress, our governmental and non-governmental partners at regional, state and local levels need more capacity to plan and guide growth in an integrated, comprehensive and coordinated manner.

Combining the strengths, resources and expertise offered by NOAA and EPA in a coordinated and focused manner will ensure the best and most effective use of federal resources.


Announcing the Partnership - NOAA Magazine article announcing the Coastal Community Development partnership with EPA.

NOAA-EPA Coastal Community Development Partnership — Main EPA webpage providing an overview of the partnership and a link to the Memorandum of Agreement.

Smart Growth Technical Assistance Opportunities — Summary of technical assistance opportunities sponsored by EPA’s Smart Growth Program in partnership with other entities, including NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Office.

Sea Grant Coastal Communities and Economies Theme Team — Main page for the Coastal Communities and Economies Theme Team in Sea Grant. The Coastal Community Development Program and many Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials programs operate within this theme team.

Coastal Community Development Bulletins — Information factsheets on coastal community development and smart growth topics developed and distributed by Sea Grant through the NOAA-EPA CCD Partnership.

Coastal and Waterfront Smart Growth Elements -- The guidelines offer ten coastal and waterfront-specific principles to help communities balance development with the environment and the economy.

For more information, contact Randall Schneider .