ICYMI: Baldwin-Murkowski Digital Coast Act Passes Congress
Bipartisan Legislation Aids Shoreline Communities by Delivering Next Generation Coastal Data
Recently, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) passed the United States Senate. The Digital Coast Act will help shoreline communities along the Great Lakes and ocean coasts better prepare for storms, cope with varying water levels and strengthen economic development efforts. Following today’s action, the bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Wisconsin’s Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life and also for our long-term economic security,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud that this bipartisan legislation has passed both chambers of Congress to strengthen our shoreline communities, which face a variety of challenges to keep their harbors open, their waters clean and their beaches ready for visitors. This bipartisan bill ensures that our Great Lakes communities have the resources and tools they need to adapt to changing environmental conditions, maintain healthy shores, and make smart planning decisions to support their local economies and way of life. I’m looking forward to the President signing this bill into law.”
“With more than 46,000 miles of shoreline - more than all the Lower 48 states combined - measures to improve coastal mapping and development through research and analysis are critical to Alaska. The Digital Coast Act will help ensure coastal managers and developers have readily accessible and up-to-date tools to inform their decisions on emergency weather preparation and response, coastal restoration, and economic development. Coastal communities rely on these data sets to make informed decisions on issues such as coastal erosion, sea level rise, ecosystem restoration, and storm surge. I am hopeful the President will quickly sign this bill into law, helping to deliver accurate and relevant data to our coastal communities,” said Senator Murkowski.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) currently assembles and hosts the Digital Coast Project, a collaborative online database of the most up-to-date coastal information, and makes it available to both the public and private sectors. Digital Coast also provides tools for coastal communities to decipher and use the high-tech mapping data to make accurate decisions and smart investments in coastal communities.
The Digital Coast Act authorizes the next phase in coastal mapping at NOAA, delivering local leaders essential information for responding to bluff erosion, high lake levels, and economic development needs. The bill supports further development of the current project, including increasing access to uniform, up-to-date data to help communities get the coastal data they need to respond to emergencies, plan for long-term coastal resilience, and manage their water resources.
Supporters of the bipartisan Digital Coast Act include Quantum Spatial, Inc., The Nature Conservancy, Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors, Association of State Floodplain Managers, U.S. GEO, National Society of Professional Surveyors, National States Geographic Information Council, MAPPS (a national association of geospatial firms), American Planning Association, Coastal States Organization, National Association of Counties, and the Digital Coastal Partnership Advocacy Coalition.