South Atlantic Regional Research Plan

Interagency Project Identifies Priority Coastal Research Needs for the Southeastern U.S.

Update July 12, 2010: SARRP staff, along with the Strategy Team members and other coastal scientists, are drafting an Addendum to the research plan identifying research priorities regarding potential impacts in the Southeastern U.S. coastal and ocean region from the Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

April 27, 2010

The South Atlantic Regional Research Project (SARRP) has released a plan identifying critical research needed to protect the health of coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend upon them in the southeastern United States.

Funded by the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program, SARRP’s regional scope extends from Currituck Bay, near North Carolina’s border with Virginia, to the southern tip of Florida.

The report acknowledges that the southeastern coastal waters are healthier than most other coastal regions along the mainland U.S., but human population growth, increased urbanization, conflicting uses of coastal and ocean resources, offshore energy and resource development, and the hazards associated with hurricanes and climate change pose threats to the environmental and economic health of the region.

SARRP was managed by the Sea Grant programs in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, and coordinated by the Georgia Coastal Research Council.

The plan is intended for use by all the agencies and stakeholders in the region. In addition to prioritizing research issues, the project report encourages increased regional research and cooperation among state and federal agencies along with colleges and universities.

The research priorities categories mirror the four priority issue areas identified by the Governors' South Atlantic Alliance. Organized by the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, the Alliance is a regional ocean partnership to develop and apply regional approaches to coastal and ocean issues of regional significance in the southeastern U.S.

Among its 27 recommendations, the SARRP report describes the need for studies that assess the impacts that projected changes in sea level and temperature could have on fisheries and other marine species, and to determine the amount of freshwater flow that is required to ensure the health of estuaries and fisheries.

The effects of population growth on sensitive coastal habitats also should be studied. The report also recommends that researchers examine the impacts of offshore energy development in light of renewed interest and the lifting of the moratorium on energy exploration along the Atlantic seaboard.

Read the full research plan.

Hard copies of the report are available through each state Sea Grant program.

 

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