How National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Supports Military and Community Compatible Use

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) studies and predicts changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts. It also supplies environmental information, stewardship services, and applied scientific research around the world. Its FY22-26 strategic plan, Building a Climate Ready Nation, focuses on climate resiliency and economic development, incorporating environmental stewardship and equity throughout the planning and implementation stages. As communities and military installations prepare for long-term sustainability in response to climate change, NOAA's scientific capabilities and observational and forecast data are valuable assets for modeling and strategic planning purposes. NOAA grants and programs support continued community and military partnerships in these efforts and enhance the ability to assess shared vulnerabilities and strengthen critical infrastructure, programs, and services, while considering an installation's unique resilience requirements.

Compatibility Factors relevant to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Biological Resources, Land Use, Marine Environments, Water Quality, Scarce Natural Resources

Relevant Programs and Plans

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program


The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) grants allow state and local governments to purchase or obtain conservation easements on threatened coastal and estuarine lands. More than 110,000 acres have been protected so far, with another 16,000 acres added through in-kind contributions. Property selection considers how the following goals are met:

  • Protect coastal ecosystems, wetlands, corals, and natural shorelines
  • Preserve natural features that provide storm protection, such as dunes and barrier islands
  • Minimize loss of life and property by directing development out of high-risk areas
  • Safeguard coastal water quality
  • Preserve historic, cultural, and archaeological features
  • Protect aesthetic coastal features and scenic vistas
  • Provide opportunities for public access to the coast

Conservation easements can be used to deter encroachments on military installations and areas critical to mission readiness. While the REPI program is most closely linked to defense communities, CELCP properties may be another way for communities to leverage multiple federal resources to support compatibility. Local governments can partner with military installations and state and local partners to identify areas with overlapping objectives.

National Coastal Zone Management Program


National Coastal Zone Management Program: Authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972, the program is a partnership between the federal government and coastal and Great Lakes states and U.S. territories. Among its enhancement goals are restoring, improving, or creating wetlands, addressing coastal hazards, enhancing public access, dealing with marine debris, supporting special area management planning, ocean and Great Lakes resource management, energy and government facility siting, and aquaculture. Maryland's coastal zone includes all 16 counties bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Potomac River to Washington, D.C., Baltimore City, and all jurisdictions within the 16 counties. Many Maryland military installations rely on these coastal areas as training routes and encroachment buffers.

Maryland's coastal zone management program is managed by the Department of Natural Resources and coalitions of local, state, military, and federal partners can apply for aid to ensure that environmental preservation, public access to coastal resources, and mission readiness can work in tandem. Learn more about coastal management organizations in Maryland on NOAA's state profile.

National Estuarine Research Reserves Program


The National Estuarine Research Reserves Program includes 30 coastal sites around the country designated for studying estuarine ecosystems. The Chesapeake Bay-Maryland National Estuarine Research Reserve is one these and is actively managed through a partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The reserve has three components, including Otter Point Creek, which is in Harford County, west of the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Otter Point Creek offers boating, hiking, and educational opportunities and seeks to protect and manage diverse Chesapeake Bay estuarine habitats.

Digital Coast


Digital Coast is an online tool managed by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management and provides coastal data, tools, and training materials to tackle coastal resiliency issues and meet the changing needs of the coastal management community. Information available through the Digital Coast can help communities and military installations with resiliency planning by providing data about current and future environmental challenges and ways to translate that data so that it is understandable and useful.

National Coastal Resilience Fund


The National Coastal Resilience Fund, like the National Coastal Zone Management Program, is another federal program that helps advance the overlapping benefits of coastal preservation and restoration, while preventing encroachments on military facilities. The National Coastal Resilience Fund is a partnership between NOAA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and other private and government partners; including the Department of Defense. It funds and executes projects to restore wetlands, dunes, coral reefs and other coastal features with a goal to restore, improve, and strengthen natural infrastructure that helps absorb storm impacts. Find examples of coastal resilience success stories, applicant resources, and other information on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's program dashboard.


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