Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Coasts Interagency Group

USGCRP’s Coasts Interagency Group (CoastsIG) provides a venue for interagency collaboration to improve our understanding of climate-related changes affecting the Nation’s coasts and develop information and tools to help coastal communities plan adaptation strategies. The group’s activities fall under three interrelated workstreams: coastal inundation, coastal integrated hydro-terrestrial modeling, and coastal science and decision-making. Each workstream is designed to support the others and to help improve resilience in the complex landscape of the Nation’s coastal zone. The group is chaired by a USGCRP Principal, and the workstreams are led by co-chairs from NASA, DOE, NOAA, and NSF.  

Activities include regular meetings, with speakers on topics of general interest across the member agencies, such as efforts in specific geographic areas or innovative approaches to public–private partnerships. CoastsIG is also engaged in discussions with other interagency bodies (such as the Interagency Council for Advancing Meteorological Services, the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, and the White House Coastal Resilience Interagency Working Group) about coordinating coastal research activities and acting on the recommendations of the 2021 SOST Coastal Resilience workshop report.

Ongoing efforts in each of the workstreams are highlighted below. 

Coastal Inundation

The Coastal Inundation workstream connects coastal inundation science producers with science users across USGCRP agencies. To this end, the workstream convenes conversations on agency needs and capabilities for coastal inundation tools/maps. 

The Coastal Inundation workstream, in partnership with the Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology, also hosts meetings of the interagency sea level rise task force. In early 2022, the task force released a technical report that summarizes the latest guidance and projections of future sea level rise in the United States and its territories. This updates and replaces a prior report released in 2017. 

In addition to these interagency discussions, the workstream regularly hears from agencies such as EPA, USGS, and DoD on their activities researching and managing the risks posed by rising sea levels.

Coastal Integrated Hydro-Terrestrial Modeling

The Coastal Integrated Hydro-Terrestrial Modeling (C-IHTM) Coordinating Group leverages interagency capabilities and cutting-edge computational power to advance coastal-integrated hydro-terrestrial modeling, answering questions of wide-ranging interest and relevance.

In November of 2020, the C-IHTM Coordinating Group held a joint workshop with the MultiSector Dynamics Community of Practice (or MSD community), a collective of university- and national lab-based researchers who work on the modeling of human and natural systems. 

The workshop report outlines a path forward, identifying scientific and data needs mentioned by the participants. Other outcomes of the workshop include initial scoping of regional and topical use cases to organize future collaborative work.

Building on the success of the C-IHTM workshop, the workstream has begun refining use cases for collaborative investment across the agencies. These use cases include the Mid-Atlantic region, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf Coast. The workstream is in discussion with USGCRP’s Integrated Water Cycle Group, particularly the Hydrology and Watersheds workstream, about possible activities in the Colorado River basin. The two working groups are also discussing a possible future joint workshop that follows up on a prior 2018 workshop.  

Coastal Science & Decision-Making

The Coastal Science & Decision-Making (S&DM) workstream seeks to understand, catalog, and improve the network and products of federal scientists who engage with coastal stakeholders and decision-makers to promote actionable and useful scientific products.

The S&DM workstream’s first major activity was a six-part seminar series on the science of coastal decision-making, which took place in April–May 2021. Each seminar session approached decision-making from a different perspective and invited federal and non-federal speakers. The S&DM workstream followed up on this seminar series with a three-part podcast series released via the NOAA Ocean Podcast. The episodes covered equity/justice in coastal decision-making, the behavior science underpinnings of individual decision-making, and federal perspectives on effective coastal decision-making.

The workstream is now discussing future directions for collaborative work in coastal resilience.