Oregon Study Finds Majority of U.S. Coast Officials Worry About Climate
(Corvallis, Oregon) – A study conducted by NOAA Sea Grant, and led by scientists in Corvallis, Oregon and the central Oregon coast, has found that a majority of elected officials and resource professionals in nine coastal states believe their regions are affected by climate change.
Oregon State University in Corvallis – with ties to the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport – was one of the spearheads of the study. They surveyed officials of areas up against the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf and Great Lakes, as well as Hawaii, finding that two thirds of the participants said they believe that the climate in their area is changing.
Sea Grant programs in Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois-Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington – states that represent most of NOAA's coastal regions – took part, administering the survey between January 2012 and November 2013.
While many Americans are divided on the issue, the survey suggests local officials who are in coastal regions see something the general public does not.
Three-quarters of the 355 professionals surveyed felt the climate in their area is changing. Most (68 percent) felt that they were moderately- to very well-informed about the local effects of climate change. A common hurdle respondents encountered was a lack of agreement over the importance of those effects. Shoreline change and flooding concerns were among the topics respondents considered important to their own work.
Participating Sea Grant programs are already using the survey results to assist communities develop local adaptation strategies. Project leader Joe Cone, assistant director of Oregon Sea Grant. said he hoped that this survey may stimulate additional survey research by Sea Grant, NOAA, and other coastal interests on this vital topic.
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