Coastal Indicators Information Exchange
Our growing coasts
Coastal areas are rich with natural resources and support tremendous economic and social activity. While 53 percent of the United States population lives in coastal counties, these counties comprise only 17 percent of U.S. land area, excluding Alaska (NOAA, 2004). This disparity has remained relatively stable for over three decades and is expected to become even more extreme in coming years. Because of the increasing pressure on coastal areas to support growth of population and the economy, it is critical that decision-makers, coastal managers, and the public understand the condition of the coast's resources and communities.
To address this need, government agencies and organizations at the local, state, regional, and federal levels are crafting coastal indicators. Coastal indicators are objective and quantitative measures of the environmental and socioeconomic conditions of a coastal area that, when aggregated, provide a holistic view of the area's health. Agencies and organizations use indicators in a variety of ways, including:
- Raising awareness of existing trends and emerging issues.
- Monitoring changes to determine the effectiveness of management activities.
- Informing decision-making and management strategies.
About this Web site
The Coastal Indicators Information Exchange is designed to foster information exchange among those developing and using coastal indicators. The goals of this knowledge base are to improve understanding of coastal indicators and their uses, promote data and information sharing, and encourage communication between and among indicator developers and users. The site offers a number of tools to guide practitioners in choosing and using coastal indicators, and it provides direct links to numerous parties that are implementing successful indicator systems.