Bipartisan Digital Coast Act Passes
On December 3rd, the bipartisan Digital Coast Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Lisa Murkowski (AK), passed the Senate. This action was taken after last month’s House vote to pass this bill, after previously passing a House bill sponsored by Representatives Dutch Ruppersberger (MD) and Don Young (AK). This act will help communities along the coasts of the oceans and Great Lakes better prepare for storms, cope with varying water levels and strengthen economic development. The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“The risk of coastal floods for our most vulnerable communities is on track to triple by 2050,” says Rebecca Roth, executive director of NERRA. “The Digital Coast Act will ensure that critical information is not only available to coastal communities around the country, but also reaching the communities and people who need it so they are better prepared to manage this risk. We are deeply grateful to Senators Baldwin (WI), Murkowski (AK), Sullivan (AK), and Cantwell (WA) and to Representatives Ruppersberger (MD), Young (AK), Huffman (CA), Bishop (UT) and Gonzalez-Colon (PR) for supporting this important legislation.”
The Digital Coast, hosted by NOAA, is a collaborative and publicly accessible online database of the most up-to-date coastal data and tools. NERRA, along with seven other non-profits, are part of the Digital Coast Partnership, which ensures that its operation is of the greatest use to the NERRS and the communities we serve.
The Digital Coast Act will authorize the next phase in coastal mapping at NOAA, critical information to address bluff erosion, high lake levels, and economic development needs. The bill also supports enhancing the current database to increase access to uniform, up-to-date data to support emergency response, long-term coastal resilience, and water resource management.
“The Digital Coast Partnership is government done right,” says Roth. “It provides statutory authority for a proven approach to creating community access to data, planning tools, and training that improves the capacity and skills needed to enhance our collective resilience and better manage our nation’s estuaries.”