|-Maximize Federal Coastal Program Leverage and Coordination
||-Coastal America Partnership and Coordination
- fostering collaboration since 1992
|-Enhance public awareness and stewardship
||-Coastal America Learning Centers
-22 Centers spanning the U.S.
|- Engage corporate and nongovernmental parties in
restoration and protection activities
|-Corporate Wetland Restoration Partnership
-275 corporations, 150 nongovernmental
|-Encourage and transfer examples of outstanding leadership in collaborative problem-solving
||-Coastal America Recognition Awards
-Recognizing excellence in leadership
Working together we are making a difference. The Coastal America process joins the efforts of Federal agencies with those of State, local, and private alliances to collaboratively address environmental problems along our Nation's coasts. Our collaborative interagency structure enables projects to be identified, regional plans and strategies to be developed, and national policy issues to be identified and resolved, leading to implementation of multi-faceted on-the-ground projects.
Federal partners include those agencies with principle responsibilities for the stewardship of coastal resources, or infrastructure development and maintenance, and/or those whose activities impact coastal environments. The challenge has been to integrate the capabilities of existing Federal authorities and resources with State, local and nongovernmental efforts to address specific local problems by sharing information, pooling resources, and combining management skills and technical expertise. The challenge has been addressed by bringing the partners to the table with a broad, problem-solving orientation, enabling the partnership to efficiently identify and implement local projects to protect the coast.
How Does Coastal America Operate?
The Coastal America Partnership uses national, regional, and project teams to bring key participants together at each level. This collaborative approach enables the Partnership to identify and resolve national policy matters, develop and implement regional plans, and complete local projects quickly and cost-effectively.
The Principals Group, charged with establishing overall policy for the Coastal America Partnership, is the senior decisionmaking arm of Coastal America. The Group consists of senior policy officials, including Under or Assistant Secretaries,from federal agencies in the COP structure. As of August 2007, the Interagency Committee on Ocean Science and Resource Management Integration (ICOSRMI) serves as the Coastal America Principals Group. The Group is actively engaged in Coastal America Partnership activities, and meets to review progress and help chart the course for future actions.
The National Implementation Team (NIT), directly under the Principals Group, is composed of senior-level representatives from the headquarters of federal partner agencies. The NIT meets monthly to implement the directives of the Principals, encourage collaboration among the partner agencies, and develop new initiatives for consideration by the Principals. As of October 2008 the Subcommittee on Integrated Management of Ocean Resources effectively operates as the Coastal America NIT.
A key focus of Coastal America is to identify and remove potential policy or regulatory barriers to coastal restoration and protection. National policy issues identified by regional interagency teams are forwarded to the national team, composed of senior-level representatives from the partner agencies. The National Implementation Team forwards consensus recommendations to the Principals group, a policy committee composed of subcabinet-level representatives from each of the Federal signatory agencies. This organizational structure enables early identification of policy issues and conflicts at the local, regional, and national levels and encourages timely resolution of these issues by senior-level policy makers.
The Regional Implementation Teams (RITs) are the keystone of the Coastal America process. The RITs carry out the Partnership's mission by making projects happen on the ground. Comprised of senior regional staff of federal partner agencies, along with state representatives, the RITs identify projects, develop restoration strategies, and craft site-specific coastal restoration, protection, or education projects for collaboration. Within each region, site-specific coastal problems are identified and a working list of priority projects is maintained. Regional teams identify issues of concern as they implement projects locally; if necessary, these issues are brought to a national senior-level Coastal America team for review. This team makes recommendations to the Coastal America Principals Group, comprised of subcabinet-level representatives from each federal partner agency. The process of exchanging information on agency plans encourages the early identification of collaborative opportunities to restore the environment.
Local Project Implementation Teams are created to implement specific Coastal America projects. The teams consist of federal, state, local, non-governmental, and private-sector members including education institutions, public citizen groups, and others. These local teams are formed to achieve a specific objective, and they work closely with the RITs to ensure that the project mission and goals are realized.
Coastal America's time-tested cooperative approach to project implementation promotes cost-effective, creative solutions and results that no single organization could accomplish alone. Working in partnership, Coastal America projects restore and protect hundreds of thousands of wetland acres, reduce pollutants entering coastal waterways, protect marine life, and educate the public about the importance of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes conservation and stewardship.
Guiding the Process
The Coastal America Partnership takes on a wide array of initiatives across the nation and across sectors with critical guidance and tactical oversight provided by the Principals Group. In recent years, discussions at the Principals level led to the development and implementation of the Coastal America Strategic Assessment, which continues to direct Partnership efforts, improve efficiency, and monitor progress. The Principals have also helped the Partnership develop strategies to increase attention and involvement in ocean and coastal directives of the U.S. Ocean Action Plan.