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Strategic Plan

Every year, new residents and visitors pour into coastal areas, and with them comes development. New homes, roads, parking lots, and industries enrich local economies, but they also can compromise the very qualities that make coastal living so attractive—clean water, thriving ecosystems, and the natural beauty that arises from the interface of land and sea. Balancing the use of these resources with the need to protect human and environmental health is a national challenge for coastal resource managers. To address it, they need the right tools.

The Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET) is a leader in transforming the best available science into practical, innovative tools that coastal managers need to address their priority challenges. CICEET is a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of New Hampshire. Here’s how we work:

  • CICEET acts nationally, bridging academia, government, private industry, and non-government agencies to identify the common challenges of greatest concern to coastal resource managers.
  • CICEET works with an ever-broadening network of coastal managers to identify how new or enhanced technology can address the priority challenges of coastal management, and what obstacles would prevent the implementation of new tools.
  • CICEET forges strategic partnerships and designs competitive funding programs that engage technology innovators and coastal managers to work together to develop effective, practical tools.
  • CICEET makes these tools available to coastal managers through demonstration, training, outreach, and an evolving technology utilization program.
  • CICEET is enhanced by its unique relationship to the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), a network of 27 protected estuarine areas around the country. The NERRS is an essential partner in identifying local coastal resource management challenges, as well as developing, demonstrating, and disseminating tools to address them.

Since its inception in 1997, CICEET has invested in more than 160 environmental technology development, demonstration, and application projects. The CICEET toolkit contains dozens of field ready tools to address a range of environmental challenges along the nation’s coasts.

An external panel reviewed the CICEET organization in 2005, providing a valuable opportunity to reflect on the success and lessons learned between 1997 and 2005. Building on these findings and on the experience of the past nine years, this strategic plan outlines an approach to focus CICEET resources on projects that will have the greatest impact on coastal resources and communities over the next five years. The goals and objectives in this plan will guide CICEET’s work to address key coastal management issues affecting human and ecosystem health, such as restoration and land use planning, nonpoint source pollution, harmful algal blooms, nutrient enrichment, and toxic contamination.

Working with colleagues nationwide, CICEET aims to identify not only technology needs related to these issues, but also the non-technical barriers that prevent solutions from being created and implemented. With this understanding, CICEET will develop and demonstrate the most relevant technologies and methods, and help people use these tools to promote clean water and healthy coastal environments nationwide.

Develop and apply tools to detect, prevent, and reverse the impacts of coastal pollution and habitat degradation on coastal ecosystems and communities.

Clean water and healthy coasts

Guiding Principles

  • Contributes directly to the mission and goals of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and aligns with national science and technology priorities for ocean and coastal health.
  • Develops, demonstrates, and evaluates tools in partnership with the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
  • Fosters the development and delivery of effective, affordable, technological solutions for coastal management.
  • Acts with fiscal responsibility to strategically focus resources on high priority estuarine and coastal environmental problems.
  • Catalyzes collaboration across geographic and organizational boundaries, bringing local, state, and federal government; academia; nonprofit organizations; and private industry together to work toward common goals.
  • Complements, rather than duplicates, the objectives of related programs and activities.
  • Spreads awareness, builds support, and encourages the use of CICEET sponsored tools through effective communication and capacity building.
  • Systematically evaluates the effectiveness of the organization as well as the impact of CICEET sponsored tools in addressing priority coastal management challenges.
  • Stimulates the training and facilitates the financial support of graduate students and post-doctoral scholars in disciplines associated with the CICEET mission.

Goal One
Innovative tools and methods are developed to detect, prevent, and reverse impacts of coastal pollution and habitat degradation.

Objective 1

Coastal managers, scientists, and CICEET better understand the gap between what tools are available and those needed to detect, prevent, and reverse the impacts of coastal pollution and habitat degradation.


  • Assess priority coastal management challenges through surveys, focus groups, interviews, outreach, and literature reviews.
  • Review coastal management related research gaps that have been identified by the scientific community and private industry.
  • Identify and explore the technical and non-technical barriers that prevent the development and application of solutions to priority coastal management challenges.
  • Communicate with other agencies to clearly understand what needs are currently being met and where leverage points exist.
  • Ground-truth and share results of this analysis with coastal resource management and scientific communities.

Objective 2

CICEET-supported research is increasingly directed toward priority coastal and estuarine technology challenges.


  • Design research priorities that reflect the articulated needs of the coastal management community.
  • Design research priorities that call for projects that incorporate one or more end users to guide research to achieve maximum effectiveness and utility.
  • Align the research priorities of the scientific community, industry, and foundations with coastal management issues addressed by CICEET projects and initiatives, where appropriate.
  • Implement and manage a competitive research funding program.
  • Adapt proposal evaluation process so that proposals targeting effective solutions receive highest evaluations.
  • Evaluate research priorities on a periodic basis to ensure that they reflect coastal management needs.

Objective 3

CICEET-sponsored project teams are more successful in developing technologies that are applied by coastal managers because of CICEET support and guidance.


  • Develop strategies to monitor and evaluate the efficiency, accuracy, cost effectiveness and user compatibility of CICEET sponsored tools.
  • Assess proposed tools to evaluate potential barriers to application and commercialization.
  • Involve industry and foundations in product development, verification, commercialization, and transfer.
  • Make resources available to project teams for product improvement and refinement.
  • Engage end users in technology development and application activities.
  • Work with the public sector to insure regulatory compliance of new tools.
  • Closely monitor ongoing projects to insure they remain focused on effective solutions.
  • Collaborate and communicate with Principal Investigators (PIs) to improve projects and to link PIs with appropriate partners.

Goal Two
Coastal resource managers effectively apply technology to solve coastal resource management problems.

Objective 1

Promising technologies and CICEET funded tools are demonstrated and verified more often.


  • Create funding opportunities for demonstration and verification where appropriate.
  • Follow up with past CICEET research and development projects that could include demonstration and verification of technology effectiveness and utility.
  • Partner with other programs (such as the Alliance for Coastal Technologies and the EPA Environmental Technology Verification Program) engaged in technology evaluation to assess the effectiveness and practicality of coastal environmental technologies, including CICEET developed tools.

Objective 2

Coastal managers know more about effective tools that CICEET develops and demonstrates.


  • Communicate the results of technical and non-technical problem analyses and demonstration projects to create awareness of CICEET-sponsored and verified tools.
  • Develop criteria to prioritize CICEET’s most successful investments for promotion to coastal managers.
  • Develop content related to priority projects that can be adapted to the appropriate media for target audiences.
  • Identify and use print, web, and presentation venues to communicate advantages of CICEET sponsored tools.
  • Build awareness and trust of CICEET by consistently delivering accurate and reliable program information to respected sources.
  • Require project investigators to carry the CICEET brand in all outreach activities and materials to build general awareness of CICEET and the projects it sponsors.
  • Feature CICEET developed tools at specific venues that attract the most likely end users to generate interest and trust in CICEET sponsored tools.
  • Enable and encourage partners to disseminate information about CICEET developed tools.

Objective 3

Coastal managers better understand how to use appropriate CICEET developed or demonstrated tools to detect, prevent, or reverse the impacts of coastal pollution and habitat degradation.


  • Support training efforts in the proper use of CICEET tools.
  • Identify and build partnerships with appropriate organizations to assist with training efforts.
  • Support the development of online or published manuals and tutorials on the use of CICEET tools.
  • Partner with manufacturers and vendors to arrange training opportunities and technical support.

CICEET's strategic plan is the result of the comments, suggestions, and contributions of many individuals to whom we owe a great measure of gratitude. We would especially like to thank our Board of Advisors, whose expertise and insight has helped to shape a plan that will allow CICEET to be nimble and effective in reaching its goals over the next five years.

Ms. Catherine Cunningham Ballard
Chief, Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Coastal Management Program

Ms. Margaret Davidson
Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center

Mr. Michael De Luca
Senior Associate Director, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University

Dr. Joseph C. Klewicki
Dean, UNH College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Dr. Gary Matlock
Director, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Dr. Jeffrey Payne
Deputy Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center

Dr. Jonathan Pennock
Director, NH Sea Grant

Dr. Mario Tamburri, ex officio
Executive Director, Alliance for Coastal Technologies

Dr. William Trumble
Dean, UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture

Dr. R. Scott Warren
Connecticut College

Mr. Peter Wellenberger
Manager, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve