U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Lisa Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Digital Coast Act to Aid Shoreline Communities

Bill Delivers Next Generation Coastal Information for Improved Water Resource Management, Disaster Response, Long-Term Planning and Restoration

By - Nov 25th, 2015 10:09 am

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Digital Coast Act, to help coastal communities better prepare for storms, cope with varying water levels, and strengthen coastal economic development planning efforts.

“Wisconsin’s Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life and also for our long-term economic security. Our shoreline communities face a variety of challenges to keep their harbors open, their waters clean and their beaches ready for visitors,” said Senator Baldwin. “This 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.”

“Digital Coast is a valuable tool that can be used by Alaskans across the state to aid in emergency preparedness for storms and coastal erosion, and private, public and commercial development projects. The data helps us to better understand Alaska’s and our nation’s coasts,” said Senator Murkowski. “We still have a long way to go in completing mapping and surveying Alaska, both inland and along our coasts, but this will help to prioritize Alaska and the Arctic as critical areas that must be mapped.”

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 by ensuring that communities will continue to have the data to make smart choices for economic development, shoreline management and coastal restoration. The Act 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.

“Senator Baldwin and Senator Murkowski’s leadership on coastal issues supports the work local communities do to manage risk and protect people and property from extreme weather and changing conditions. This legislation will directly improve local disaster response and hazard mitigation planning. This bill will help local communities minimize potential loss of life and damage to infrastructure, private property, and conservation areas. The Digital Coast Act is an important step for effective coastal management,” said American Planning Association President Carol Rhea, FAICP.

“Communities in Wisconsin need tools like Digital Coast to make better decisions about the safety and resilience of our coastal regions. Digital Coast empowers communities to better adapt to changing coastal conditions and identify cost effective tools to address those changes. Thank you, Senator Baldwin for your leadership,” said 1000 Friends of Wisconsin Executive Director Steve Hiniker.

The Digital Coast Act is supported by: American Planning Association, Ayres Associates, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Coastal States Organization, Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc., The National Association of Counties, The Nature Conservancy, Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS), National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), National States Geographic Information Council, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, and Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department.

Read what supporters are saying about the Digital Coast Act here.

More information on the Digital Coast Act is available here.

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