regions; 2) develop a national knowledge bank on the geologic framework of these regions; and 3) develop a predictive capability based on an understanding of the geologic framework of these regions. These challenges are intended as an integrative principle that should be used to evaluate the relevance of a variety of projects over the next 10 to 15 years (or longer). The resulting investigative program will be varied, as the complexity of the nation's coastal and marine areas varies spatially, and the underlying need for information will vary temporally. Successful execution of a national investigative program will require a systems-science approach (broad interdisciplinary and integrated studies) rather than single-discipline-based or geographically localized projects. In addition, addressing these challenges will require the CMGP to make greater use of expertise that may reside in other USGS units, federal or state agencies, or academic institutions. Such expanded interactions should enable CMGP to better communicate the results of its efforts to its user community.


The committee believes that CMGP, by organizing activities at all three regional centers through an integrated plan to address the grand challenges discussed in Chapter 3, would be well positioned to meet the nation's need to address national, regional, and site-specific coastal and marine issues and problems. A well-crafted vision statement will define goals that, when coupled with a thoughtful strategic plan, are relevant to the actions of every CMGP staff member and to every action undertaken by the CMGP. The committee therefore recommends that CMGP leadership initiate a program-wide strategic planning process to establish goals and objectives for integrated science efforts. As part of this strategic planning, a new mission statement should be developed that identifies the role of the CMGP and its responsibilities to the nation. Such a statement should reflect the responsibilities of the CMGP:

  1. to conduct research to advance our understanding of the dynamic processes, both natural and anthropogenic, which change the coastlines and seafloor along coastal margins;

  2. to provide the geologic framework for policy decisions regarding the use and management of the marine environment but also to respond to the needs of other federal, state, and local agencies when coastal geologic data and assessments are required to address critical management and policy issues; and

  3. to provide information critical to planning for the future environmental and economic health of the nation's coastal areas, including an understanding of the likely scenarios for change to the geologic framework of coastal environments, whether from long-term climate change or rapid changes from extreme events or human activities.

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