...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders
NOAA evaluates RI’s coastal program
June 24, 2019, Wakefield – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spent a few days in Rhode Island last week to evaluate the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program, part of a periodic review the NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) performs of all US coastal programs.
A team of three representatives from NOAA, as well as a fourth representing another state’s coastal program – in this case, a member of the California Coastal Commission – evaluated the CRMC and its program Tuesday, June 18, through Thursday, June 20, 2019. The team met with a number of stakeholders with which the CRMC has working relationships, including Save The Bay, The Nature Conservancy, University of Rhode Island, other state agencies, municipal leaders, and environmental consultants. A group took the evaluation team to the Quonochontaug salt marsh in Charlestown, the site of a recent CRMC salt marsh restoration and elevation enhancement project. The team also spoke with the stakeholders CRMC staff on a variety of topics, including the Beach and Ocean Special Area Management Plans, habitat restoration, wind energy development, coastal resilience and coastal hazards, and program administration.Section 312 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) requires these periodic evaluations of federally approved state and territorial coastal programs. The process includes one (or more) public meeting (CRMC held theirs on June 18), consideration of written public comments, and consultations with interested federal, state, and local agencies and members of the public. During the evaluation, NOAA considers the extent to which the state has met national program objectives, adhered to the management program approved by the Secretary of Commerce, and adhered to the terms of financial assistance under the CZMA. Once the evaluation is completed, NOAA’s OCM will make the final report findings publically available, as will the CRMC. Written comments must be received by NOAA before June 28, 2019, and must be directed to Carrie Hall, Evaluator, Planning and Performance Measurement Program, Office for Coastal Management, NOS/NOAA, 1305 East-West Highway, 11th Floor, N/OCM1, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, or email them to Carrie.Hall@noaa.gov.