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Academic Units - Universities, Colleges and Programs

College of Coastal Georgia

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: Founded in 1961, the College of Coastal Georgia is a four-year state college within the University System of Georgia, located in Brunswick, Georgia, that includes an off-campus instructional site (Camden Center) in Kingsland, Georgia. The College of Coastal Georgia experienced a 4% increase in its fall 2017 enrollment (3,663 students) and achieved a full time equivalency of 3,078. he College of Coastal Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. The Colllege is classified as a Baccalaureate/Associate's College by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Links: College of Coastal Georgia, Department of Natural Sciences

Georgia College and State University

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: Due to the lobbying efforts of Julia Flisch, an Augusta journalist in Augusta, in 1889, the Georgia Normal & Industrial College was chartered as a two-year college for women emphasizing teacher training and business skills and become coeducational in 1967. Today, Georgia College serves more than 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students in four colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences, the J. Whitney Bunting College of Business, the John H. Lounsbury College of Education and the College of Health Sciences -- with a faculty of more than 300. In addition to the Milledgeville campus, Georgia College provides some graduate programs at Robins AFB and online courses.

Links: Georgia College and State University, College of Arts and Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a top-ranked public college and one of the leading research universities in the USA. Georgia Tech is located in Atlanta, Georgia and provides a technologically focused education to more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students in fields ranging from engineering, computing, and sciences, to business, design, and liberal arts. Georgia Tech was founded in 1885 as the Georgia School of Technology as part of Reconstruction plans to build an industrial economy in the post-Civil War South. Initially, it offered only a degree in mechanical engineering. By 1901, its curriculum had expanded to include electrical, civil, and chemical engineering. In 1948, the school changed its name to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a larger and more capable technical institute and research university. Georgia Tech is organized into six colleges and contains about 31 departments/units, with emphasis on science and technology. Georgia Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

Links: Georgia Institute of Technology, Department of Biology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Engineering

Georgia Sea Grant/Marine Extension Service

Description: The Georgia Sea Grant College Program is part of a national network of 33 Sea Grant programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, Lake Champlain, and Guam. These programs serve as a core of a dynamic university-based network of over 300 institutions involving more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, educators, students and outreach experts. The network engages with academia and a wide variety of partners to address issues related to the coasts, oceans and marine resources. In 1971, UGA received its “Coherent Area Program” status to conduct Sea Grant activities in the area of salt marsh ecology. Following the development of marine advisory service and non-traditional educational programs by Marine Extension, UGA earned the title of “Sea Grant Institution” in 1974. Due to demonstrated excellence in research, education and extension services, the Department of Commerce, under section 207 of the National Sea Grant Program Act, designated UGA as the nation’s 15th “Sea Grant College Program” in 1980. Sea Grant is a program of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the U.S. The Georgia Sea Grant program is headquartered at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

Through its three programmatic areas - applied research, education, and outreach - MAREX serves a diverse coastal constituency. It educates student and adult groups about Georgia's marine resources and the importance of being good environmental stewards. It provides assistance to marine industries by finding ways to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and encourages the development of new industries that do not degrade the environment.The coordinated programs of applied research, advisory services and education carried out from offices in Athens and Atlanta and from facilities on Skidaway Island, Savannah and Brunswick extend economic and cultural benefits throughout the state and region.

Links: Georgia Sea Grant, National Sea Grant

Georgia Southern University

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: Georgia Southern University is a public university with campuses in Statesboro, Hinesville, and Savannah. Founded in 1906, it is part of the University System of Georgia and is the largest center of higher education south of Atlanta, offering 142 academic majors in a comprehensive array of baccalaureate degrees and master's and doctoral programs. The university is the fifth largest university in the University System of Georgia, with a fall 2018 enrollment of 27,000 students, Georgia Southern is classified as a Doctoral and Research University (2006) by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and as a regional university by the University System of Georgia.

Note: Armstrong State University is now Georgia Southern University. For details about the consolidation, visit consolidation.georgiasouthern.edu.

Links: Georgia Southern University, Institute for Coastal Plains Sciences and the Applied Coastal Research Lab

Marine Institute at Sapelo Island

Resource type: Research Institution

Description: Since its beginning in the 1950s, the University of Georgia Marine Institute has focused on critical problems of marsh ecology and the transport and fate of materials brought from the upland and marsh through the estuary and into the nearshore. It attempts to address the difficult process-oriented questions that define the mechanisms by which saltmarsh ecosystems maintain themselves. In doing so, the Marine Institute fosters an atmosphere of cooperative research, employing the expertise of UGA faculty and numerous visiting scientists, and offers facilities to researchers from across the U.S. and beyond who are trying to understand the basic processes controlling the health of this important ecosystem. In addition to a strong record of research, UGAMI serves from 50 to 60 groups of university students each year who hail from multiple institutions across Georgia and beyond. The Institute also hosts workshops, professional meetings, and outreach activities.

Link: Marine Institute at Sapelo Island

Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory

Resource type: Research Program

Description: In this project, investigators are integrating high-resolution chemical analysis with bacterial gene expression measures, extending DOC process studies down to the single-compound level and bacterial activity studies to the single-gene level. The specific goals of this project are:

1. To reconstruct major components of the network linking DOC composition, DOC turnover, and bacterial heterotrophy in the coastal ocean (the composition of the DOC pool, the major bioreactive components, the bacterioplankton taxa mediating transformations, and the bacterial genes and pathways responsible).

2. To test hypothesized network linkages for selected DOC compounds using a simplified system that queries individual DOC compounds against a complex natural microbial community.

3. To test hypothesized network linkages for marine bacteria using a simplified system that queries a single generalist heterotroph against a complex natural DOC pool.

4. To verify predicted DOC-gene linkages that are most informative about heterotrophic activities of bacterioplankton.

SIMO's investigators include: Mary Ann Moran, Jonathan Amster, Ford Ballantyne, Patricia Medeiros, and William B. Whitman. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Link: Sapelo Island Microbial Observatory

Savannah State University

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: Savannah State University (SSU) is the oldest public historically black college or university in the state of Georgia and the oldest institution of higher learning in the city of Savannah. The school was established in 1890 as a result of the Second Morrill Land Grant Act, which mandated that southern and border states develop land-grant colleges for black citizens. Later that year, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation creating the Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youths, which served as Georgia’s 1890 land-grant institution until 1947. Today, the 201-acre campus hosts nearly 4,900 students and offers 30 baccalaureate majors and degrees including six graduate degrees. The University is part of the University System of Georgia and is a member-school of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Links: Savannah State University, Department of Department of Marine & Environmental Sciences

Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

Resource type: Research Institution

Description: The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography is a multidisciplinary research and training institution located on Skidaway Island near Savannah. The Institute was founded in 1968 with a mission to conduct research in all fields of oceanography. In 2013, the institute was merged with the University of Georgia. Located 16 miles southeast of Savannah, The Institute sits on the banks of the Skidaway River, with access to a diverse range of estuarine and coastal habitats. Its remote pristine location, convenient to coastal and ocean waters, guarantees a constant influx of visiting scientists and students seeking access to state-of-the-art research facilities, accessible research locations, and opportunities for collaboration with Skidaway Institute's interdisciplinary and internationally-recognized research faculty.

Link: Skidaway Institute of Oceanography

University of Georgia

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: When the University of Georgia was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly on January 27, 1785, Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university.The university was established in 1801 when a committee of the board of trustees selected a land site in Athens on the banks of the Oconee River. Today, UGA sits on 762 acres and is composed of seventeen schools and colleges.

Links: Odum School of Ecology, Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, Department of Marine Sciences

University of West Georgia

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: Founded in 1906, UWG grew from a district agricultural and mechanical school to a two-year institution and then a four-year college in 1957. UWG achieved university status in 1996. UWG is located on 645 acres of land in rural Carrollton, Georgia. With an enrollment of 13,520 (Fall 2017), UWG is the state’s sixth largest public university and offers over 88 fields of study, including bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral programs as well as post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificates. UWG is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is classified as a Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Link: University of West Georgia

Valdosta State University

Resource type: Academic Institution

Description: VSU is one of the three regional universities in the University System of Georgia. It is located on a 168-acre campus in the City of Valdosta, Georgia. VSU serves over 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offers classes at Moody Air Force Base north of Valdosta in Lowndes County, and Kings Bay Naval Base in Camden County. Degree levels offered at Valdosta State include: Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Education Specialist, and Doctoral. The university comprises the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Arts, and Nursing. The Graduate School also includes the Divisions of Social Work and Library Science.

Link: Valdosta State University



State Agencies

Coastal Resources Division - Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Resource type: State Agency

Description: The Coastal Resources Division is the state agency entrusted to manage Georgia's coastal marshes, beaches, waters, and marine fisheries resources for the benefit of present and future generations. The Division's service area extends from the inland reach of the tidal waters to three miles offshore.

Link: Coastal Resources Division, (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

Environmental Protection Division - Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Resource type: State Agency

Description: The Environmental Protection Division is charged with protecting Georgia's air, land, and water resources through the authority of state and federal environmental statutes. These laws regulate public and private facilities in the areas of air quality, water quality, hazardous waste, water supply, solid waste, surface mining, underground storage tanks, and others. EPD issues and enforces all state permits in these areas and has full delegation for federal environmental permits except Section 404 (wetland) permits.

Link: Environmental Protection Division, (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

Georgia Forestry Commission

Resource type: State Agency

Description: The GFC is located in Dry Branch, Georgia. District and county offices are located throughout the state. Commission professionals provide a wide variety of services including fire detection, issuing burn permits, wildfire suppression and prevention services, emergency and incident command system expertise, rural fire department assistance, forest management assistance to landowners and communities, the marketing and utilization of forest resources and nature services, and growing and selling quality tree seedlings for planting.

Link: Georgia Forestry Commission

Jekyll Island Authority

Resource type: State Agency

Description: The Jekyll Island Authority is a self-supporting state agency responsible for the overall management and stewardship of Jekyll Island, obtaining its operating revenues from leases, fees, and island amenity operations. This income is used to maintain, develop, beautify, and promote Jekyll Island as a public beach resort and a world-class vacation and meeting destination. Jekyll Island does not receive any tax revenues for its operation. Through an act of the state legislature, the Jekyll Island Authority (JIA) was created to oversee the conservation, development and management of Jekyll Island. The JIA Board of Directors consists of members appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The chairman of the board is also appointed by the governor to serve a one-year term and retains the chair until replaced. The Authority employs a full-time Executive Director who is responsible for the operation and promotion of the island, and for providing certain public services to island residents and businesses.

Link: Jekyll Island Authority

Wildlife Resources Division - Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Resource type: State Agency

Description: The Wildlife Resources Division oversees the conservation and management of Georgia’s wildlife in Georgia. Programs are focused on game animals, sport fish and nongame wildlife, which includes threatened and endangered species. In addition, technical assistance is provided to individual and corporate landowners for the management of wildlife on their property. Outstanding wildlife management programs result in quality hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the state.

Link: Wildlife Resources Division, (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)


Regional Research Efforts and Organizations

Chatham County - Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission

Resource type: Municipal Gov't Organization

Description: The Metropolitan Planning Commission is a joint planning agency for the City of Savannah and Chatham County. Each governmental body appoints seven members to the board. Two of these members are the City and County Managers. These fourteen members serve without pay and represent government, private enterprise, and citizens' interest groups. Commissioners are appointed for three year overlapping terms. MPC staff, headed by an Executive Director, research and evaluate issues and prepare information for the Board's consideration and action. The MPC also has a resource page on Water and Natural Resources.

Link: Chatham County/Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission, Water and Natural Resources

South Atlantic Water Science Center (US Geological Survey)

Resource type: Real-time and historic data access, data products

Description: The USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center offers information on streamflow, water quality, water-use, and groundwater data for Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. SAWSC also conducts hydrologic investigations and research projects. These data and information are the product of joint endeavors between the USGS and cooperators.

Links: South Atlantic Water Science Center, Data and Tools, Maps, Publicatgions

Georgia Coastal Ecosystems - Long Term Ecological Research Program

Resource type: Research Program

Description: The Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research site (GCE) was established by the National Science Foundation in 2000. The study domain encompasses three adjacent sounds (Altamaha, Doboy, Sapelo) on the coast of Georgia, U.S.A., and includes upland (mainland, barrier islands, marsh hammocks), intertidal (fresh, brackish and salt marsh) and submerged (river, estuary, continental shelf) habitats. Over the coming decades, the Georgia coast is expected to experience substantial changes due to factors such as climate change, sea level rise, and human alterations of the landscape. The overarching goal of the GCE is to understand the mechanisms by which variation in the quality, source and amount of both fresh and salt water create temporal and spatial variability in estuarine habitats and processes, in order to predict directional changes that will occur in response to long-term shifts in estuarine salinity patterns. The GCE field site is based at the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, and the program is administered at the University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences in Athens, Georgia. Over 60 participants, representing 14 academic institutions and agencies, are currently involved in GCE research and educational programs. The GCE Information Management System provides online access to hundreds of core data sets, ancillary data sets from partner agencies, a searchable document and imagery archive, and a searchable bibliography of over 1400 publications from 50 years of research on the Georgia coast and Sapelo Island.

Links: Georgia Coastal Ecosystems, Long Term Ecological Research Program, National Science Foundation

Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve

Resource type: Research Program

Description: Located seven and half miles northeast of Darien, Georgia, the Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve occupies over one-third of Sapelo Island, the fourth largest Georgia barrier island and one of the most pristine. The reserve comprises 2,110 acres of upland maritime forest and hammock land and 4,000 acres of tidal salt marsh. The upland maritime forest is composed of a mix of native hardwoods. About 90 percent of the reserve's marshland is covered by smooth cordgrass.

The Sapelo Island Reserve is one of 28 areas in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. This reserve is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and is protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, education, and coastal stewardship. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management provides funding, national guidance, and technical assistance.

Links: Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve, Management Plan, and Visitor Information

Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association

Resource type: Regional Observing System

Description: The Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA) is a regional non-profit organization based in Charleston, South Carolina and operating in the coastal waters of NC, SC, GA and FL. SECOORA is one of the eleven coastal ocean observing regional associations partnered with the US Integrated Ocean Observing system (US IOOS). IOOS is a partnership among federal, regional, academic and private sector parties that works to provide new tools and forecasts to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment.
IOOS supplies critical information about U.S. oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes. Scientists working to understand climate change, governments adapting to changes in the Arctic, municipalities monitoring local water quality, and industries affected by coastal and marine spatial planning all have the same need: reliable, timely, and sustained access to data and information that inform decision making.


Southeastern Estuarine Research Society

Resource type: Regional Non-Profit

Description: A non-profit educational organization dedicated to the informal exchange of interdisciplinary information related to estuaries of the southeastern United States. SEERS promotes discussion of estuarine research, science, and management; promotes discussion of current research projects and management issues; and encourages participation of student colleagues. SEERS membership is largely, but not exclusively, from the states of NC, SC, GA and FL. SEERS typically meets twice per year, including the biennial CERF Conference. SEERS is an affiliate society of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.

Link: Southeastern Estuarine Research Society

Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines' Digital Image Library

Resource type: Webpage

Description: PSDS has been documenting storm impacts and development changes along the nation's shorelines for nearly 25 years and, during this time, it has acquired tens of thousands of images. Although the site only currently captures digital imagery (stills and video), the vast majority of the library prior to 2000 is in the form of 35 mm slides and prints, and these are in the process of being digitized.

All images are copyright Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines @ Western Carolina University and may be used for non-commercial uses only. See the creative commons license for complete details.

Link: Western Carolina University Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines' Digital Image Library


National Organizations and Federal Agencies

Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals 

Resource type: Management Organization

Description: ANREP is a national association for Cooperative Extension Service (CES) professionals working in environmental education, fisheries, forestry, wood sciences, range, recreation, waste management, water, wildlife, and related disciplines. Members are active and retired CES employees at the county, area, state, or national level.

Link: Georgia roster

NOAA Office of Coastal Management

Resource type: Federal Agency

Description: Four major programs make up the Office for Coastal Management, and each counts on active partnerships with all sectors to be successful.

  • National Coastal Zone Management Program: A unique federal and state partnership that provides the most direct implementation of coastal management policy. Thirty-four states have a federally approved coastal management program.
  • National Estuarine Research Reserves: Leading the nation’s estuary science efforts, this program produces groundbreaking research and provides environmental health data. The network of 29 protected areas also contributes local, science-based training and education programs and provides unique recreational opportunities.
  • NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program: Provides the sound science needed to preserve, sustain, and restore coral reef ecosystems.
  • Digital Coast: This website is the go-to source for the coastal management data, tools, and training most needed by communities. This initiative takes it a step further, however, by bringing various user groups together (the Digital Coast Partnership) to address coastal issues.

Links: Office of Coastal Management, Strategic Plan: 2010-2015, Georgia

Coastal States Organization

Resource type: Advocacy Organization

Description: Helping states to maintain their leadership role in the development and implementation of national coastal and ocean policy is among CSO’s most important functions. CSO works with Congress to shape legislation and arrange for state testimony and works with Federal Agencies to comment on proposed regulations. CSO advocates for increased federal funding and support for state-based coastal and ocean programs, as well as responsiveness of federal agency program administration and policies to state concerns.

CSO provides information, updates and alerts that keep states attuned to developments in Washington, DC to enable states to respond to legislative, regulatory and policy developments as they occur. CSO serves as an important professional network for state coastal and ocean managers. CSO Work Groups focus on coastal water quality, coastal hazards, coastal zone management, ocean policy and island affairs. CSO also supports a state Legal Council which provides legal background and analysis when needed.

Link: Coastal States Organization

Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

Resource type: Research Organization

Description: Created in 1971, the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (formerly known as the Estuarine Research Federation), is a private, nonprofit non-partisan organization whose members are dedicated to advancing human understanding and appreciation of the Earth's estuaries and coasts, to the wise use and management of these environments and to making the results of their research and management actions available to their colleagues and to the public. CERF members include academic researchers, public sector managers, teachers, consultants, students and others who are interested in estuaries.

Link: Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative

Resource type: Advocacy Organization

Description: The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative is a bipartisan collaboration of senior leaders representing a diversity of viewpoints and interests in U.S. oceans and includes former members of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and Pew Oceans Commission. A primary goal of the Initiative is to accelerate the pace of change that results in meaningful ocean policy reform. The Initiative publishes a biannual newsletter and many reports, testimony transcrips,report cards, and background briefs.

Links: Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, Newsletter, Ocean Action Agenda: Supporting Regional Ocean Economies and Ecosystems

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Resource type: Policy Organization

Description: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world. Their work helps shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine. Program Units include the Division on Earth and Life Studies which conducts a range of activities where policy meets the life sciences, including the environment, geography, laboratory animal use, and natural resource issues and the Gulf Research Program which is a 30-year research program that focuses on human health, environmental protection, and oil system safety in the Gulf of Mexico region.

Links: NAS, PNAS, Publications

National Marine Sancuary Program

Resource type: Federal agency

Description: NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of 14 marine protected areas encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Links: National Marine Sancuary Program, Southeast Region, Gray's Reef

National Park Service

Resource type: Federal agency

Description: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

The NPS manages several sites on the Georgia coast including: Cumberland Island (National Seashore), Forts Frederica & Pulaski (National Monuments), and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

Links: National Park Service, Georgia


Resource type: Conservation Organization

Description: NatureServe is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to provide the scientific basis for effective conservation action. NatureServe along with its network of natural heritage programs is the leading source for information about rare and endangered species and threatened ecosystems worldwide.

Link: NatureServe, NatureServe United States

Ocean Conservancy

Resource type: Conservation/Advocacy Organization

Description: Ocean Conservancy was founded in 1972 to promote healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems, and to oppose practices that threaten oceanic and human life. Ocean Conservancy advocates for protecting of special marine habitats, restoring sustainable fisheries, reducing the human impact on ocean ecosystems and managing U.S. ocean resources. It is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization whose efforts are guided by a 17-member volunteer board of directors. Program areas include: the Arctic, Ocean Acidification, Marine Debris, Gulf Restoration, Sustainable Fisheries, Marine and Coastal Spacial Planning,and Ocean Climate.

Link: Ocean Conservancy

Restore America's Estuaries

Resource type: Conservation/Advocacy Organization

Description: RAE's ten member organizations restore coastal habitats in 11 estuaries and 16 states nationwide. We provide a unified voice for coastal conservation in Washington D.C., and advance the science and practice of habitat restoration through on-the-ground projects, groundbreaking science, high-level meetings, and our biennial National Conference. The National Summit on Coastal and Esuarine Restoration, is a conference held every two years by RAE and The Coastal Society. It is the largest gathering of the coastal management and coastal restoration community and is held for six days biennially in major cities around the country. The conference explores innovative ideas and current issues in the world of coastal management, and is comprised of workshops, field sessions, a community restoration event, and more.

Link: Restore America's Estuaries


Tools and Training

Digital Coast

Resource type: Website hosts multiple databases and training information

Description: This NOAA-sponsored website is focused on helping communities address coastal issues and has become one of the most-used resources in the coastal management community. The dynamic Digital Coast Partnership, whose members represent the website’s primary user groups, keeps the effort focused on customer needs. The website provides not only coastal data, but also the tools, training, and information needed to make these data truly useful. Content comes from many sources, all of which are vetted by NOAA. Data sets range from economic data to satellite imagery. The site contains visualization tools, predictive tools, and tools that make data easier to find and use. Training courses are available online or can be brought to the user’s location. Information is also organized by focus area or topic.

Link: Digital Coast

Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network

Resource type: Webpage hosts multiple databases and training information

Description: The Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network, co-coordinated by NatureServe and OpenChannels.org, is a premier source of information and training for planning and management tools for coastal-marine ecosystem based management (EBM), marine protected area (MPA) and marine spatial planning (MSP) and integrated land-sea planning. Its mission is to promote healthy ecosystems and communities by increasing the knowledge and capactiy of coastal-marine practitioners to apply tools that help incorporate ecosystem-based thinking into management decisions.

Ecosystem-Based Management tools are methods and software that help practitioners incorporate scientific and socioeconomic information into decision making. EBM tools can help: develop models of ecosystems; generate scenarios illustrating the consequences of different management decisions on natural resources and the economy; and facilitate stakeholder involvement in planning processes. The network is currently focusing on tools for:

  • Climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning
  • Ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning
  • Integrated land-sea planning to minimize the impacts of land use on coastal and marine environments.

Link: Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network

Georgia Watersheds & Water Resources

Resource type: Maps & Tabular information

Description: GSWCC's Watershed and Water Resources Programs provide research, funding and technical expertise on Georgia's water supplies, dams, and river basins. To protect and restore the state's water quality, GSWCC analyzes key watersheds and identifies opportunities to assist river basin stakeholders and all of Georgia in water planning processes and policies that improve water management and efficiency. GSWCC has also created an on-line GIS interactive system that allows the public to better understand Georgia's water resources.

Link: Georgia Watersheds and Water Resources, GIS Interactive Mapping

Marine Ecosystem Dynamics Modeling Lab

Resource type: Modeling program

Description: The Marine Ecosystem Dynamics Modeling Laboratory (MEDML) at the School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth houses an active research team with focus on coastal and estuarine circulation, frontal dynamics, bio-physical interaction, suspended sediment processes, and ecosystem modeling. The lab has developed an unstructured grid, Finite-Volume, primitive equation Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) that is well suited for simulating the circulation and ecosystem dynamics from global to estuarine scales, particularly for regions characterized by irregular complex coastlines, islands, inlets, creeks, and inter-tidal zones. The FVCOM system has been used to develop unstructured grid models of the Satilla, Ogeechee, and Altamaha river estuaries. FVCOM is an open source code ocean community model that always welcomes new users.

Link: The Marine Ecosystem Dynamics Modeling Laboratory, FVCOM



Coastal Stormwater Supplement to the Georgia Stormwater Manual

Resource type: Planning & Management Document

Description: The 2009 Coastal Stormwater Supplement (CSS), like the state's Coastal Nonpoint Source Management Program, seeks to reduce the impacts of land development and nonpoint source pollution in a 24-county region located in southeast Georgia. Like the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual, it provides technical guidance that can be used to meet the post-construction stormwater management requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program. It also provides technical guidance for permit applicants seeking Coastal Marshlands Protection Act permits (O.C.G.A. §12-5-280 through §12-5-297, as amended).

Link: Coastal Stormwater Supplement

The Ecology of the Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve

Resource type: Report

Description: The Reserve annually receives state and federal funds to conduct various educational and scientific monitoring programs. Part of the monitoring program has entailed the preparation of this ecological site characterization profile which contains a diverse range of material, including:

1. The story of human activity on Sapelo Island, current use and ownership of the island and the regional setting of the SINERR, including the commercial and recreational utilization of Georgia estuarine areas;

2. The geological and hydrological characterization of the SINERR, to include the development of lagoonal marshes, tidal conditions, hydrology of the Duplin River, geomorphology of the Duplin River, influence of the Altamaha River and upland runoff, and beach morphology and the sand-sharing system;

3. Ecological habitats of the Reserve, including (a) aquatic, Duplin River and Doboy Sound; and (b) intertidal, mudflats and mudbanks, inter-tidal creeks, vegetated salt marsh and high marsh, beaches and sand dunes, forested uplands, vegetation patterns and shoreline changes through time utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) and historical maps and photos to document changes;

4. Chemical characterization of aquatic and marsh habitats, including water column (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and silica nutrients), marsh sediments and biota;

5. Primary productivity (water column and salt marsh);

6. Secondary productivity, including the Duplin River (zooplankton, crabs and fish) and salt marsh (fiddler crabs, snails and tidal migratory organisms);

7. Organic matter;

8. Detritus food web and out-welling (hypotheses and paradigms about SINERR marshes), including early mass balance studies and models, the salt marsh as a nursery, coupling of marsh to nearshore and riverine influences on marsh and nearshore.

9. The future of the SINERR: management and recommendations.

The Ecological Profile of Sapelo Island is a document to be read and understood by the concerned citizen, by monitoring groups and management agency personnel, and by scientists studying this and similar estuarine systems. The material referenced gives a useful overview of the ecology of the Reserve.  

Reference: Alice G. Chalmers (1997). The Ecology of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. Prepared for the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources by the University of Georgia Marine Institute. pp. 138.  

Link: The Ecology of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve

Guide to the Shallow-Water Octocorals of the South Atlantic Bight

Resource type: Monograph

Description: [Abstract] Octocoral diversity is well documented in the tropical western Atlantic and Indo–Pacific, but it has been several decades since a thorough species account of the shallow South Atlantic Bight region was produced (northwestern Atlantic between Cape Hatteras, NC and Cape Canaveral, FL, USA). Through the use of material from the NMNH and SERTCO ctocorallia (=Alcyonaria) collections, this work documents the presence of 28 species of octocorals recorded in the shallow (0–200 m) South Atlantic Bight and reports five new range extensions. Included are illustrated keys to the species, synonymies, species images and remarks, and SEM images of sclerites from described species without previously published sclerite imagery. A brief history of previous work and discussion of octocoral morphology are also included.

Reference: Susan T. Devictor & Steve L. Morton. 2010. Identification guide to the shallow water (0–200 m) octocorals of the South Atlantic Bight. Zootaxa 2599: 1–62.

Link: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/sertc/zootaxa2599.pdf

Ocean Action Agenda: Supporting Regional Ocean Economies and Ecosystems

Resource type: Report

Description: This 2017 report was developed by the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (Joint Initiative), a bipartisan group of senior leaders from industry, academia, and civil society, as well as former senior government officials, who represent diverse ocean and coastal interests. In this digital report, the Joint Initiative recommends actions the Trump Administration and Congress should implement to effectively manage America’s vast ocean, Great Lakes, and coastal resources to ensure a vibrant and healthy future. The actions are organized into nine priority areas the Trump Administration and Congress should tackle over the next four years.

The actions in this report were informed by a series of Regional Ocean Leadership Roundtables in the U.S. Arctic and East, West, and Gulf Coasts. At these roundtables, the Joint Initiative brought together local, state, tribal, and national leaders representing diverse industry, government, and nonprofit interests to identify creative solutions to critical ocean and coastal issues. The leaders discussed how:

  • Local, state, and regional efforts can inform and influence ocean and coastal policymaking on a national level.
  • National ocean-related policies can better support local communities, states, and regions to advance actions and solutions.
  • The network of local, state, and regional ocean champions can grow and continue pressing these important actions forward.

Link: Ocean Action Agenda

Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve Management Plan 2008-2013

Resource type: Management plan

Description: Management goals for the SINERR, with issues related to the Reserve and coastal zone management, are summarized and amplifying detail and specific objectives and strategies for implementation are outlined in eight programmatic chapters. These goals include:

Goal 1: To provide of effective administration of the Reserve as necessary to fulfill the Reserve’s mission as established in state and federal law, administrative rules and interagency agreements.

Goal 2: To provide of the publicly-accessible facilities necessary to fulfill the Reserve’s mission as established in state and federal law, administrative rules and interagency agreements and to pursue the maintenance of existing infrastructure and the development of new permanent infrastructure as necessary during the 2008-2013 period.

Goal 3: To provide effective management of public access on lands and waters within the Reserve to properly assess and mitigate critical needs and island stresses that impact the Reserve.

Goal 4: To enhance and develop of research and monitoring to promote, foster and expand the scientific knowledge and field investigations of estuarine processes as related to the Reserve and the South Atlantic Bight, for the promotion of current research partnerships and the expansion of additional long-term partnerships.

Goal 5: To maintain and continue to restore the integrity of the natural dynamic processes of the SINERR’s estuarine ecosystem, which is representative of the Carolinian biogeographic region.  

Goal 6: To increase, through education, outreach and interpretive programs, the awareness, understanding and appreciation of estuarine systems and estuarine stewardship by facilitating access to information about estuarine systems.

Goal 7: To provide a Coastal Training Program to reach target audiences for the provision of reliable sources of science-based information related to coastal issues that can be beneficial to area decision makers.

Goal 8: To create of new opportunities for members of the public through effective volunteer programs, to contribute to, and benefit from, Sapelo Island NERR through direct participation in Reserve operations and educational initiatives.

Link: Sapelo Island National Ecological Reserve Management Plan 2008-2013

Water Issues in Georgia: A Survey of Public Perceptions and Attitudes about Water

Resource type: Extension Document

Description: This report summarizes the Georgia results of a survey project to gauge water resource awareness, attitudes, and behaviors among citizens across the country. These results reflect the opinions and perceptions of the survey respondents but should not necessarily be viewed as representative of the entire state’s population. The results provide useful information for water resource extension professionals and others to consider in developing content and strategies for public education and outreach.

Reference: Jason Evans, Jon Calabria, Warren Brown, Alice Miller Keyes, and Mark Risse (2011). Water Issues in Georgia: A Survey of Public Perceptions and Attitudes about Water. Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. pp. 36.

Link: Water Issues in Georgia - a Survey of Public Perceptions and Attitudes about Water


Online Periodicals and Newsletters

Coastal and Estuarine Science News

Resource type: Newsletter

Description: The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation publishes Coastal & Estuarine Science News, an electronic publication providing brief summaries of select articles from the journal Estuaries & Coasts that emphasize management applications of scientific findings. It is a free electronic newsletter delivered to subscribers on a bimonthly basis.

Link: Coastal and Estuarine Science News 


Resource type: Online almanac

Description: Georgiainfo is an online almanac with Information about all things having to do with Georgia. Navigation throughout the site is by topics and features listed on drop down menus at the top of the home page - each of these links takes the viewer to a page with information about a specific aspect of Georgia - history, maps, counties, cities, wildlife, etc. GeorgiaInfo is part of the Digital Library of Georgia, and is hosted by GALILEO and the University of Georgia Libraries.

Link: GeorgiaInfo

Hakai Magazine: Coastal Science and Societies

Resource type: Online publication - includes audio addition

Description: Founded in 2015, Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective in compelling narratives that highlight coastal life and phenomena. The magazine's writers examine coastal matters from multiple perspectives and translate complex scientific ideas into authoritative, engaging stories.

Link: Hakai Magazine

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Newsletter

Resource type: Newsletter

Description: The Joint Initiative Newsletter provides updates on Joint Initiative activities, events, and accomplishments and profiles various Leadership Council members. It is published biannually.

Link: Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Newsletter

Marine Ecosystems and Management

Resource type: Online periodical

Description: A bimonthly information service on ocean planning and ecosystem-based management, MEAM serves the global resource management community with news, views, analysis, and tips gathered from experts around the world. MEAM and this website are published by Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, in association with the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Financial support for MEAM comes from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, among other sources.

Link: Marine Ecosystems and Management


Other Resources of Interest

Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

Resource type: Information Aggregator

Description: CAKE is a free, innovative, online resource created to help people navigate the world of climate change adaptation. In 2010, CAKE was built to support organizations, agencies, and individuals interested and/or engaged in climate change adaptation by providing a venue for open access information exchange between professionals including managers, scientists, planners, conservation practitioners, and others.

Link: Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange

Estuaries and Near Coastal Biocriteria

Resource type: Case studies, technical assistance

Description: The presence, condition and numbers of types of fish, insects, algae, plants, and other organisms provide important information about the health of aquatic ecosystems. Studying these factors as a way of evaluating the health of a body of water is called biological assessment. Biological criteria are a way of describing the qualities that must be present to support a desired condition in a waterbody and serve as the standard against which assessment results are compared.

Links: Estuaries and Near Coastal Biocriteria

Georgia Initiative for Climate and Society

Resource type: Interdisciplinary Research Group

Description: The Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society is a network of UGA scientists and experts who have joined together to understand the changing climate on a global and local scale and to develop strategies, solutions, information, and tools that address the climate. GICS hosts periodic lectures and offers many resources for students, educators, and the general public. To view a detailed list of members, go to the Member Directory.

Link: Climate and Society Initiative

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

Resource type: Cultural Organization

Description: [text from their website] The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor (herein referred to as "the Corridor" or "Corridor") was designated by an act of Congress on October 12, 2006 (Public Law 109-338). It was authorized as part of the National Heritage Areas Act of 2006. As a national heritage area, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is not part of the national park system; however, the act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of the management plan.

The Corridor was created to:

  1. Recognize the important contributions made to American culture and history by African Americans known as Gullah Geechee who settled in the coastal counties of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
  2. Assist state and local governments and public and private entities in South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida in interpreting the story of the Gullah Geechee and preserving Gullah Geechee folklore, arts, crafts, and music.
  3. Assist in identifying and preserving sites, historical data, artifacts, and objects associated with the Gullah Geechee for the benefit and education of the public.

Link: Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Corridor Map, 2012 Management Plan, Special resources study

H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment

Resource type: Private Foundation

Description: The Heinz Center aims to restore nonpartisan environmentalism by informing and convening decision makers. It provides opportunities to discuss scientific and economic information from businesses, universities, government agencies and non-profit organizations. The Heinz Center aims to rebuild a nonpartisan, conservationist majority in Washington. Building on its historic role in research and ecosystem management, the Center concentrates on a small number of environmental issues that are a) important; and b) susceptible to a coalition approach. The Center supplies policy makers with scientific and economic information aimed at non-specialists, coverage of pertinent policy developments, and convenient downtown facilities for private discussions.

Link: The Heinz Center for Science Economics & Environment

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

Resource type: Advocacy/Policy Research Group

Description: The Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Western Carolina University takes a worldwide view of modern coastal processes and geologic hazards, examines the scientific basis for managing developed shorelines in a time of rising sea level and advocates for the development and implementation of responsible strategies, plans, policies and actions that promote the long-term sustainability of our nation’s coastal ecosystems.

PSDS is a strong advocate for responsible management policies that consider and balance economic and environmental interests. We identify and recommend specific actions to elected/appointed officials, private sector representatives and others regarding public decisions and actions concerned with social, economic and physical changes in the public interest. We evaluate the environmental, social, economic/financial and governmental consequences of proposed resource management policies, decisions and actions.

One of the fundamental goals of PSDS is to serve as a primary technical and policy resource for a variety of beach management issues and to provide information, data and advice to federal, state and local government agencies; the media, concerned citizens; the scientific community; nonprofit organizations and other concerned stakeholders

Link: Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines

The International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers

Resource type: Nonprofit group

Description: The International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC) is an association of individuals and organizations interested in library and information science, especially as these are applied to the recording, retrieval and dissemination of knowledge and information in all aspects of aquatic and marine sciences and their allied disciplines. The Association provides a forum for exchange and exploration of ideas and issues of mutual concern.

Link: International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species

Resource type: Website

Description: The IUCN Species Programme working with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties, and even selected subpopulations on a global scale for the past 50 years in order to highlight taxa threatened with extinction, and thereby promote their conservation.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species. It is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. Far more than a list of species and their status, it is a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change,

Link: Red List of Threatened Species


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This page was updated July 13, 2018