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Urban Coast Institute Receives $380,000 Grant from NOAA to Map the Ocean

Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) received $380,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue its work to enhance the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.  The Portal is being developed in collaboration with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), a partnership for the Governors of the five Mid-Atlantic States.  MARCO is committed to providing the tools and resources necessary for an accessible, scientifically-informed and adaptive approach to ocean management. The MARCO Mid-Atlantic Portal is an online toolkit and resource center that consolidates available data and enables state, federal and local users to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitat areas, and energy sites, among others.

The Portal serves as a platform to engage all stakeholders in ocean planning from the five-state Mid-Atlantic region-putting all of the essential data and state-of-the-art mapping and visualization technology into the hands of the agencies, industry, and community leaders engaged in ocean planning. The grant will enable UCI to build directly on the extensive current efforts of MARCO,  UCI’s project partners at The Nature Conservancy, Rutgers University, and Ecotrust to engage ocean stakeholders and to add best available data and information to support spatially explicit data collection and visualization in the Mid-Atlantic. The project will (i) enhance development of community-based fisheries mapping efforts and on other ocean use data; (ii) improve the Portal reporting planning functions, including new interactive features; (iii) develop online tutorials and applications training; and (iv) initiate regional ecosystem assessment work in collaboration with MARCO.

“The UCI is planning extensive outreach to ocean stakeholder groups in the coming year to ensure that the Portal reflects the best information available in a way that is accessible and useful to MARCO and the ocean community at-large,” said UCI Director Tony MacDonald.

For more information about the MARCO data portal, visit

For more information on UCI, visit