About this Site

Within that narrow strip of land and water we call our coast, there is a nationally-significant story to tell. Our well-being as a nation depends on a suite of benefits that flow from healthy coasts: food, clean water, jobs, recreation, and protection from hurricanes. But the ability of our coasts to deliver these benefits is being eroded by the extensive environmental alterations we have made to coastal ecosystems. In some cases, these benefits are being further eroded by the changing climate. Whatever the cause, these changes threaten to compromise the environmental health and economic well-being of our coastal communities and the benefits that the coasts bring all of us as a nation.

To help tell that story and encourage the need to better understand, manage, and protect our natural resources, NOAA has developed this State of the Coast (SOTC) Web site: a clear, simple, and engaging Web destination that will foster an increased awareness of the crucial importance of healthy coastal ecosystems to a robust U.S. economy, a safe population, and a sustainable quality of life for coastal residents.

To this end, the SOTC Web site first offers quick facts and more detailed statistics through interactive indicator visualizations that provide highlights of what we know about coastal communities, coastal ecosystems, and the coastal economy and about how climate change might impact the coast. This approach provides insights to the story of the coast's extraordinary benefits to our nation, but also the degraded state of our nation’s coast and the continuing threats to its health.

Secondly, the SOTC Web site offers case studies and management success stories that highlight often complex connections across the four State of the Coast themes: coastal communities; coastal ecosystems; coastal economy; and the climate. The following diagram illustrates the connections among these four themes.

                  State of the Coast Connections Image