Measuring Success | Performance Measurement

Measuring Performance

Coastal development, habitat protection, port vitality, sea level rise, and public access to beaches are a few of the issues facing the nation. To address these issues, coastal managers must be able to: assess the status and trends of coastal resources and communities effectively and efficiently; set goals for the protection, maintenance, and improvement of resources; and monitor the success of management strategies. Performance measurement systems provide a framework for integrating these activities with program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Strategic planning is an important part of performance measurement systems. Strategic planning is done to establish goals and performance objectives for addressing critical management issues. The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) requires federal agencies to write strategic and annual plans with performance measures that show agency results over time. The NOAA Strategic Plan establishes these goals and objectives, guides agency management decisions, and provides a consistent framework for NOAA programs. Ultimately, performance measurement is a tool for evaluating our effectiveness in addressing the challenges of coastal management.

How Are We Measuring Performance?

Strategic Planning

The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) contributes to the NOS Strategic Plan and performance objectives. OCRM created a strategic plan (2007-2012) to communicate priorities and to guide activities through 2012. The plan outlines goals and objectives to highlight OCRM cross-program priorities and to facilitate cooperative support of our partners. The strategic plan bridges the broad programmatic mandates contained in the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Marine Protected Areas Executive Order, and the Coral Reef Conservation Act.

OCRM programs have also developed program specific strategic plans in cooperation with our partners:

In addition to program specific strategic planning, the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) is developing performance measurement systems in cooperation with our partners that are tailored to the unique aspects of each program.

CZMA Performance Measurement System

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) Performance Measurement System tracks national indicators of the effectiveness of Coastal Management Programs (CMP) and National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) in achieving CZMA and strategic objectives.  The system consists of a suite of contextual indicators to provide information on environmental and socioeconomic factors influencing program actions and performance measures to assess how well states are achieving CZMA objectives. 

The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management partnered with CMPs and NERRs to develop a performance measurement system that provides flexibility and accommodates varying management structures and differing coastal priorities across coastal states. 

Quantification of management outcomes directly responds to Congressional requests for performance measures to assess the national impact of CZMA programs and to recommendations by the Office of Management and Budget that CZMA programs develop outcome-oriented performance measures to demonstrate program effectiveness. In addition to improving program accountability, the CZMA performance measurement system will also facilitate adaptive management, enhance communication, and inform planning and resource allocation decisions by federal and state coastal managers. 


Evaluating the Effectiveness of the National System of MPAs

The NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center focuses on forging partnerships and serving as a resource for information about the nation’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The MPA Center works closely with the Department of the Interior and other federal agencies, states, commonwealths, territories, and tribes to achieve this goal.

Monitoring and evaluating management effectiveness is a key component of an effective National System. To this end, the MPA Executive Order calls for “practical, science-based criteria and protocols for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of MPAs.” In response, the National MPA System’s approach to this requirement will include technical and scientific support for fostering sound monitoring and evaluation programs at the participating MPA site or system level, as well as a set of standards and protocols for assessing broader National System effectiveness.

The natural and social science data currently collected and used by MPA sites and systems to moni­tor and evaluate their own effectiveness will not only help in their adaptive management efforts, but also contribute to the analysis of the National System’s success in meeting its goals.

With advice from the MPAFAC, the Steering Committee, National System MPA partners in the re­gions, and science and management experts, the MPA Center will develop and publish guidance for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the National System. These guidelines will provide an integrated approach for monitoring the biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance elements of the National System and include a set of indicators and performance measures for assessing its effectiveness, including the benefits provided to participating MPA sites and systems.


Coral Reef Conservation Program Reprioritization Initiative
In June 2009, after eight months of collaborative efforts, the Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) released two reports outlining the twenty-year strategic goals and five-year objectives the CRCP will work towards to effectively address each of the top three threats to coral reef ecosystems, both on domestic and international fronts. These documents provide strategic guidance on the CRCP priorities for FY 2010-2015. They are the end product of a reprioritization process that began with an external program review.

The development of the CRCP Goals and Objectives is one step in a multi-step process. Using the Goals and Objectives as the keystone, the CRCP is engaged in concurrent efforts to assess jurisdictional governance and capacity gaps, improve performance measures, and develop an education, outreach, and communication strategy. This information will further inform what specific work needs to be done to accomplish the Goals and Objectives.



Coastal Indicators Information Exchange — This website offers a number of tools to guide practitioners in choosing and using coastal indicators.

National Coastal Condition Report — This report describes the ecological and environmental conditions in U.S. coastal waters.

For additional information, contact Laurie Rounds.