Step Forward on Water Hazards Resilience

Satellite photo of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Image from NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (CC BY-SA 2.0).

It is time to make America resilient. The trends have been moving us in the wrong direction for a long time, but we know how to reverse them.

Planners — and elected officials — have to embrace the science that will inform us best on how to achieve that goal, and we have to develop the political will to decide that public safety in the face of natural hazards is central both to fiscal prudence and the kind of nation we want to be. America will not become great by being short-sighted.

Damage from natural disasters is taking an increasing toll on our society and our economy. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), currently the target for serious budget cuts by the Trump administration, operates the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), a vital national resource center for data. It has long tracked the number and costs of the nation’s weather and climate-related disasters, and the conclusion is unavoidable: The number of billion-dollar disasters is growing and getting worse.

APA’s Hazards Planning Center has long studied and highlighted best planning practices for addressing the vulnerabilities that lead to such disaster losses. However, the uptake into community planning systems varies, and it is often a long process challenged by resource shortages.

In recognition of Water Week, I offer the following recommendations to Congress for ways in which federal partners and planners can work together to create stronger, more resilient communities:

Maintain funding levels

Maintaining the necessary funding support for agencies like NOAA is critical for providing us with the baseline information the nation needs to track data. It’s only through the ongoing coordination, maintence, and strengthening of national data resources that federal partners will truly be able to support local planning efforts. More data — not less — is the key to creating hazards policy that prepares communities for the future.

Translate science into good public policy

It is important to find new and better ways to translate science into good public policy. This is one of the objectives for NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience program — just one of the many important grants in danger of being defunded in FY 2018.

Support America’s coastal communities by ensuring that they benefit from projects directing the nation’s scientific and technical ingenuity to solve problems related to coastal hazards. The price tag is a tiny fraction of what the nation spent on recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The program is clearly a wise investment in our coastal future.

Reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program expires this year. Reauthorization must include continued support for the flood mapping program so communities have essential baseline information on the parameters of their flooding challenges.

Municipalities and counties need accurate and current flood mapping and data in order to make more informed judgments on both how and where to build. Only then will the nation begin to dial back the volume of annual flood damages.

Pass the Digital Coast Act

Passing the Digital Coast Act means authorizing and enabling NOAA to provide the suite of tools, data, and resources under the Digital Coast program that have proved useful to local planners, coastal resource managers, public works departments, and water agencies in better managing coastal zones and the natural systems that keep them healthy.

Through the Digital Coast Partnership, APA has been a strong advocate for formalizing NOAA’s Digital Coast project through legislation and providing adequate federal appropriations for robust funding.

This legislation already has bipartisan support because the program shows government at its best in providing cost-effective support to scientifically informed public policy and decision making.

As APA Past President Carol Rhea, FAICP, has noted, “This legislation will directly improve local disaster response and hazard mitigation planning. This bill will help local communities minimize potential loss of life and damage to infrastructure, private property, and conservation areas. The Digital Coast Act is an important step for effective coastal management.”

Continue funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created partly in response to the sorry condition of the Great Lakes and major tributaries like the Cuyahoga and Maumee Rivers. We have come a long way since then. The lakes and rivers are healthier, and the communities around them are, too. Yet the administration’s budget would zero out such programs despite their megaregional and even international impacts.

Recognize the progress we have made and renew America’s commitment to further improve these major bodies of water. Support coastal resilience along the Great Lakes.

These are not dramatic requests. Mostly, they recognize the slow but steady progress — and the persistent creativity — that has resulted from past commitments. They are, however, critical to successful water policy and to our national future as a resilient nation.

Jim Schwab

This post is reprinted from the APA Blog with permission from the American Planning Association, for which it was produced.

Steel and Modern America

DSCF3007Let’s cut to the chase. If you have a relative on your gift list who loves the nooks and crannies of history, particularly those less well-known details behind the reality of the modern world, may I offer a suggestion? This suggestion emanates in part from the simple fact that I am a lover of history, an avid scholar of the factors that have influenced the shape and size of modern American cities—I am, after all, an urban planner—and the fact that I simply love good writing. I am, after all, also a trained professional journalist. Steel, a wonderful book by Brooke C. Stoddard, a veteran writer and former editor at Time/Life and National Geographic Books, has the kind of grand scope and vision that can fascinate the reader in your family who has an endless curiosity about the world.

Or maybe that person is you. In that case I am either helping you figure out what to ask someone else to give you, or you can just go get it. And while I think e-books are wonderful, this is one case where I highly recommend getting the hardcover, in part so that you can sit back with that tactile feel of a real book in your hands and admire the copious color illustrations that accompany some splendid writing. Stoddard is a marvelous story-teller, but the photographs do the text more than ample justice.

Steel production was part of my own background growing up in suburban Cleveland. My father was a truck mechanic in a chemical factory, and I spent three summers there working my way through college. Chemical production fed other industries, including steel, in numerous ways. Antimony, for instance, is used in electroplating, which bonds paint to the steel frames of cars, and Cleveland grew on both steel and auto manufacturing, and there was a powerful symbiosis between all of them in an industrial ecosystem that employed tens of thousands. Steel was at the core of the growth of many Midwestern and eastern cities from Baltimore to Pittsburgh to Cleveland to Chicago. My story is at most tangential, but I learned what rough work it could all be. I even broke an ankle that first summer before starting college when the dome of an antimony kiln tipped over and trapped my leg. Such places were not necessarily for the faint of heart. I recovered, of course, and learned.

But learning from such immediacy to industry and taking in the grand sweep of its growth over time are two very different things. Writing industrial history can also be a labor of love, the financial rewards from book sales not always seeming to equal the toil involved in assembling detailed stories spanning centuries. I have read a few of these books in the past: for example, Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast, about the coffee industry, also a fine book. These are really stories to some extent about the evolution of human society in modern times, and how particular products changed our cities and whole nations. But few are as central to who we are today, and what our cities have become, than the steel industry. In more ways than almost any other industry, steel has been the game changer of human history.

And like most, it started from small things that turned into larger things that eventually turned into huge things. Stoddard takes us all the way back to the Stone Age and the descent from space of iron meteorites to explain the origins of the human relationship with the element that is the basis of steel before engagingly slow-walking us through human discoveries of the various alloys and their relative strengths and advantages for both peaceful and military uses over the first few millennia of human civilization. Empires like that of the Hittites grew, for example, on the advantage of iron over bronze, and of better ways of making steel instead of cast or wrought iron. The Romans gained iron works in Iberia from the Carthaginians and then added the refinement of tempering to improve the quality of the metals they used. Just as in modern times, military success was often fed by industrial success, which also meant that a nation of inventors gained huge advantages over its neighbors and competitors. And that’s all in the first chapter.

Stoddard’s second chapter pulls us into the industrial age, starting with British refinements in the use of coal to improve steel alloys, which depend on the right proportion of carbon to harden the iron in steel to produce the metals we rely upon today. German industrialists added their own refinements, but American steel makers like Andrew Carnegie burst onto the scene in the late 1800s to create enormous gains in the scale of production, coupled with the ready access of iron ore discovered in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. In a matter of decades, the United States moved into a steelmaking category that dwarfed all others. It is, as most know, a history of ruthless men, but also of the uniquely philanthropic aspirations of a few like Carnegie. Labor and industry were often locked in mortal combat. For all his hard-bitten ambition, Stoddard notes, the U.S. could have done far worse than to have its industry transformed by a man who ultimately gave away more than 90 percent of his wealth to support charities like community libraries and concert halls rather than creating one massive family dynasty.

Here I must veer off on a small tangent. Carnegie helped nurture the career of a protégé named Charles Schwab, who first helped engineer the sale of Carnegie’s business to form the dominant U.S. Steel Corp., and later became the president of the competing Bethlehem Steel, which built the huge Sparrow Works in Baltimore. More than a quarter-century younger than Carnegie, Schwab, who functioned into the 1920s, was far more prone to flaunt his wealth, building a huge mansion in Manhattan that he later found nearly impossible to sell during hard times. Stoddard reveals that Schwab, despite his German ancestry, made a fortune providing steel for submarines and other military purposes to the United Kingdom in World War I well before American entry into the war, even at times when the official American position was neutrality. One favorite tactic was to ship the parts to Canada, where they could easily be assembled into submarines before being transferred to the British Navy.

My father, born in 1917 during that war and coming of age in the 1930s, tried after Pearl Harbor to join the U.S. armed forces, but was rejected for medical reasons. It turned out he suffered from appendicitis, which was remedied through surgery by a civilian doctor, and he spent the war years in New York City working in the steel mills.

His name was Charles Schwab. He used to joke that some people who did not know him thought that perhaps he was a close relative of the big guy and was learning the business from the bottom up. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. He was simply another blue-collar working stiff. He did have a rich uncle who sold uniforms to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but that is another story, one that never benefited him directly. Curiously, that was not his only brush with fame, for later in life he had to contend with Charles Schwab the broker. Well into retirement, tired of taking phone calls from misguided investors, he and my mother put the household phone in her name, and the errant calls ceased to find him. He was not related to that Charles Schwab, either. But when asked, I can at least say with a straight face that Charles Schwab was my father.

But back to the book. Without drilling down into all the magnificent details that Stoddard provides, the second part paints a portrait of what makes the steel industry function as a whole, starting with vivid descriptions of the iron ore barges that sail the Great Lakes, some of which are larger than the Titanic and the Queen Mary, yet get far less attention because they do not cross the oceans. After visiting the Iron Range, he boards one of those freighters in Superior, Wisconsin, and stays aboard across Lake Superior, the volatile lake whose nasty storm in 1975 swallowed the Edmund Fitzgerald, the subject of a doleful hit folk song a year later by Gordon Lightfoot. He stays with the crew as they transit Lake Huron and Lake Erie to Cleveland, where they finally unload their cargo of thousands of tons of iron ore pellets. Along the way, we learn about the modern amenities aboard such ships, and the challenges both they and their crews face, including fitting such huge vessels through narrow locks between the lakes or braving lake effect storms. It is a world few of us imagine or even try to think about. But it is a world that makes our world possible. Without steel, we have no modern skyscrapers creating the skyline of cities like New York and Chicago. Without steel, many of our modern appliances and conveniences simply are not possible. Without steel, our cities look like very different places. Just take a look at photos and drawings of American and European cities in the mid-19th century. Just imagine building railroads and mass transit without steel.

And so the book presses on—I won’t ruin the anticipation, except to say that eventually, as he must, Stoddard leads us to the decline of the monsters of steel on the American industrial scene, due more to lack of innovation than lack of resources. Former giants of urban steel making disappeared from older industrial cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Other, more nimble, firms like Arcelor Mittal have moved to the forefront in recent decades, and Stoddard tells us why in a closing chapter titled, “Exeunt the American Gods.” The changes that have been wrought in our major cities are not for the faint of heart. Once again, in the cycle of history, steel manufacturing has changed, and the old days will not return. But steel will continue to change our lives.

Steel: From Mine to Mill, the Metal that Made America. Brooke C. Stoddard. Zenith Press. 304 pp.

 

Jim Schwab

Water: Our Public Policy Challenge

R1-08402-021AI grew up in suburban Cleveland. After a seven-year hiatus in Iowa and briefly in Nebraska, my wife’s home state, we ended up in Chicago. I am unquestionably a Midwesterner with most of my life lived near the Great Lakes. It will therefore not be surprising that for most of my adult life, I have heard people speculate about moving some of our abundant water to places that have less, mostly in the West. For just about as long, I have been very aware that their speculations were merely pipedreams (pun very much intended).

Because most people have at most only a cursory understanding of our nation’s intricate water laws and treaties (in the case of the Great Lakes), to say nothing of the costs and challenges of water infrastructure development, I suppose they can be forgiven for their naivete in even entertaining such notions as piping water from Lake Michigan to California. For both legal and practical reasons, the water is not likely any time soon to leave the Great Lakes Basin, let alone find its way to the West Coast. Enough said.

That is all backdrop to noting that, at the moment, Lakes Michigan and Huron, which essentially share identical water levels because they are joined by a strait, are experiencing rising water levels after declining to levels well below average in 2012, in the midst of a drought and high temperatures. The lack of precipitation and high evaporation levels reduced the two lakes to 576 feet above sea level, about 2.8 feet below the average since 1918, when the Army Corps of Engineers began keeping records. All the Great Lakes tend to rise and fall over time, and somewhat in tandem because they are part of a continuous system that flows into the St. Lawrence River and out into the Atlantic Ocean. But Lake Superior is higher before it dumps into Michigan and Huron, which are higher than Lake Erie, and certainly Lake Ontario, which is on the receiving end of Niagara Falls. Gravity is obviously how all this water finds its way to the sea.

High recent rainfall—in June we had seven inches in Chicago with lower temperatures than normal—has kept the lake levels rising. Colder winters because of the polar vortexes have maintained ice cover, reducing evaporation. As a result, the lakes are now three feet higher than they were in 2012. Amid all this rise and fall, some facts should be noted: These lakes are thousands of years old. They are the result of glacial melt as the Ice Age receded, so most of the water is the result not of precipitation but of ancient glacial retreat. And our record keeping is less than a century old, so what we think we know about the long-term fluctuation in water levels, let alone what we can accurately predict about long-term impacts of climate change in the Midwest, remains far less than what we might ideally like to know. There are big gaps in our knowledge that can only partially be filled with other types of scientific analysis.

Nonetheless, based on such limited knowledge, the urge to build on shoreland materializing from nothing more than historical fluctuations sometimes motivates unwise development. Communities along the Great Lakes need to invest in wise lakefront planning that takes those fluctuations into account and does not create new hazards that are sure to arise in the face of lake levels that often rise again faster than we anticipated. Adequate buffers based on such fluctuations must be a part of the zoning and development regulations throughout such areas. It is best we approach what we know about Great Lakes water level fluctuations with a dose of humility and caution, lest nature make a fool of our aspirations.

There are resources for that purpose. Many of the state Sea Grant programs, based at state universities, can offer technical assistance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose Coastal Zone Management Act responsibilities include the Great Lakes, has been developing resources for Great Lakes states. Using NOAA funding, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, with partners like the American Planning Association (APA), has developed, and is still expanding, a website containing its Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide. It consists of case studies, a Great Lakes dashboard, and other tools. NOAA’s Digital Coast Partnership has been working with cities like Toledo, Ohio; Duluth, Minnesota; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Milwaukee to address flooding and development problems along the Great Lakes in varying contexts.

I mention all this because, even amid this temporary abundance of water on the Great Lakes amid a withering drought on the West Coast, water, as always, remains a preoccupying public policy challenge everywhere around the world and across the United States. It is not nearly enough of a focus of public debate, however, and the complexities of the issue seem to evade most people’s attention, including those who ought to be thinking harder about it. Even those who do focus on the question are often siloed into narrow segments of water policy—wastewater, drinking water, flood protection and mitigation, drought planning, coastal zone management, and so forth. We need to approach water challenges more holistically.

APA’s board of directors approached the subject with that larger picture in mind in empowering a special task force to examine the issue. About two months ago, the task force released its report, which began by emphasizing that “water is a central and essential organizing element in a healthy urban environment.” It went on to call for viewing water resource management as “interdisciplinary, not multidisciplinary,” in other words, calling for collaboration among the professions involved. But it also called on the planning profession and university planning schools to provide more training, more education, and more resources centered around the subject of water and its importance to our society. And it calls for APA to “partner with national water service membership agencies” to “foster cross-industry participation and learning opportunities.” It is a far-reaching document that planning leadership in the U.S. is still absorbing, including me. But I commend it as an overdue conversation so that our future conversations about who uses water how, and for what purpose, can be considerably more sophisticated, as they clearly need to be.

We need to move away from pipedreams to serious conversations. Whether in California, where there is too little, or the Great Lakes, where there is currently plenty, we need to get it right because the stakes are high. Very high.

 

Jim Schwab

Digital Coast: A Model for Progress

In an era of congressional gridlock, with so little productive activity coming out of Washington that many people have begun to wonder if federal government is good for anything, the best models often work quietly in the shadows—and they may not even work primarily out of Washington. They work around the country, in the hinterlands, and along the coasts. They may even have odd names like Digital Coast, suggesting the marriage of digital technology with environmental and coastal planning needs. This is the story, in my own idiosyncratic fashion, of one such model.

Just last week, I spent three days in Milwaukee at a meeting of the Digital Coast Partnership, which is affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Digital Coast is a program of NOAA’s Coastal Services Center (CSC), based in Charleston, South Carolina. CSC is in the process of merging with the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), in order to form a single coastal operation within NOAA. OCRM has been responsible for administering the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), a piece of legislation passed in 1972 that supports a cooperative approach to better coastal resource management between the states and the federal government. But all this may be more bureaucracy than most people want to know, so let’s cut to the chase.

Overburdened local governments and regional planning agencies in coastal areas often do not have all the resources they may need to do a thorough job of planning intelligently for the future of the nation’s coastline. Under the CZMA, that coastline includes all areas along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, including estuaries and bays like the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to tens of thousands of miles of coast, this area also is home to 39 percent of the U.S. population and many of our largest cities, including Boston, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Honolulu. In all, some 30 states and five territories are included in the Coastal Zone Management Program.

Managing coastal resources is a delicate balancing act that includes planning for many environmentally sensitive areas, economic powerhouses and attractive tourist destinations, and major ports that drive trillions of dollars in economic activity. It requires advanced planning tools, knowledge of both economics and environmental science, and an understanding of the demographics of these areas, which can be very diverse. Many of our coastal cities like New York have been historic points of entry for many of the immigrants who have subsequently built so much of the modern United States.

Providing a modest suite of online tools and resources to make that job just a little easier at the local level is the job of Digital Coast. But now I am going to dive into the truly interesting part of this whole story—the emergence of the partnership.

Early in 2010, I was approached by representatives of NOAA on behalf of the Digital Coast program to gauge the interest of the American Planning Association in joining what was then a group of five national organizations that comprised the Digital Coast Partnership. These were the original team that had been assembled to help NOAA assess the usefulness of the resources it was creating and to reach deeply into the user communities for those resources to spread the word that this online resource existed. Those five organizations were The Nature Conservancy, National States Geographic Information Council, Coastal States Organization, Association of State Floodplain Managers, and National Association of Counties. Within the first year, they determined that something was missing—contact with urban planners. So they decided to invite us to join them. By July 2010, we signed an agreement to do exactly that, and we have never looked back. At the same time, as Nicholas J. (“Miki”) Schmidt, CSC’s Division Chief for Coastal Geospatial Services, likes to say, they could not be happier that APA joined.

What is the point of this partnership? It is long past the point in American history where a federal agency can afford to develop a new resource for local government without having some means to determine whether what they think will be useful actually is what is most useful to practitioners. Collaboration is more the order of the day. Find the people who will have to make best use of the tools, resources, and data you want to create, and ask whether what you have in mind is as useful as it could be, or even useful at all. If those user groups can vet your product and tell you seriously that, with perhaps this change or that tweak, what you are considering developing would be beneficial to local officials, planners, and resource managers, then go for it. If not, rethink it. In the end, what emerges is a highly productive symbiotic relationship in which those who must make better coastal planning and resource management happen at a local and regional level have a voice in the kinds of tools, data, and resources that may make their jobs easier.

As logical as all that sounds, the case for this model becomes even more compelling in the context of climate change. Our evolving climate, driven by the relentless addition of greenhouse gases from modern transportation, industry, and agriculture, among other, lesser sources, has greatly complicated long-term prediction models, particularly as they affect the modeling of future natural hazards such as flooding, drought, heat waves, and coastal storms. Unfortunately, at the same time, NOAA, as the governmental entity providing or funding much of the science of climate change, has had a target on its back in some of the oversight committees in Congress, especially those now chaired by skeptics of climate change. Some of these members of Congress seem virtually impervious to the mountains of evidence produced both domestically and internationally, to the nearly unanimous consensus behind the theory of climate change among climate scientists, and to the many reports that have supported climate concerns. We live in a strange universe in which science itself has become suspect among some in the halls of Congress, even as the need for scientific insights into complex planetary processes becomes more profound, and the long-term economic consequences of any missteps become ever more frightening. Several recent reports (e.g., Risky Business) and books suggest that we are playing Russian roulette with the world’s economic future.

But again, I digress. I am trying to focus on the value of Digital Coast and the partnership that supports it.

So back to Milwaukee. Our three days there were the latest iteration of a series of twice-yearly meetings of the partners and their NOAA compatriots in an ongoing quest to advance the program and enhance its value, something the partnership has been doing for more than five years now. In the past year, we added two new organizations that have embraced the partnership with enthusiasm: Urban Land Institute, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA). The latter may sound like a mouthful; it is a relatively small organization, but it is important. Its members constitute the staff of a nationwide network of national estuarine research reserves, where services are provided to monitor and learn the value of coastal and tidal estuaries, to provide educational and environmental services, and to help us all learn what a biologically rich system these estuaries provide if properly cared for. The coast is an intricate fabric of ecosystems. NERRA members help us understand its essential value.

The first of our three days in Milwaukee was devoted to a rather intriguing experiment by ASFPM, which hosted a No Adverse Impact seminar for the Great Lakes, held at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus. ASFPM has been leading the development of a Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide, to which APA contributed through research support and outreach. This one-day seminar, attended by about 50 people, allowed practitioners who were not directly allied with Digital Coast to mix with the representatives of partner organizations. It also let the partners learn how Digital Coast concepts and tools might be more useful to their members and constituents. I spoke at this seminar in the morning, offering a comparison of two Great Lakes coastal counties and their varying governance systems in an effort to assess their progress toward achieving resilient coastal communities. I also fed into a later presentation about a new “no build” ordinance in St. Joseph, Michigan, requiring that new development in a beachfront residential area be set back far enough to account for the inevitable rise and fall of lake levels and to prevent the rush to build closer to the shore during periods when the lake had retreated.

That question ties directly to one of the major differences between the Great Lakes and oceanic coasts, where sea level rise is the dominant long-term concern. Increased weather variability in the Great Lakes region, as a result of climate change, is likely only to exacerbate long-term oscillations in lake levels, not to raise water levels. Periods of drought and increased temperatures may accelerate evaporation of Great Lakes waters, with considerable variation among the lakes, while heavy precipitation may add to lake levels, and extreme outcomes like the past winter’s polar vortex may extend ice cover and raise lake levels. It is a complex picture. Climate change entails mostly warming most of the time, but with serious variations from the norm on many other occasions. If there is one thing we can count on, it is increased volatility. But that all makes regulating coastal development on the Great Lakes very tricky business because many public officials and much of the public share relatively short memories and short-term perspectives on the associated hazards. We all need a greater tolerance for complexity if we are to understand the problems that lie ahead.

With the seminar behind us, the two-day meeting (August 20-21) involved our usual packed agenda of discussions among more than 20 representatives of NOAA and the partner organizations. We discussed the improvements in the Digital Coast website, how we were going to fund future operations, how we could collaborate on future projects, and how all the work would get done. The NOAA personnel appear to have had wonderful training in collaborative leadership, in ensuring that every partner’s input is valued, and in translating the resulting information into better governmental resources to aid the practitioners who need to make crucial local decisions about coastal development, environmental protection, the protection of jobs that depend on a healthy coast, and other vital subjects. That rubs off on the partners, and the result is a rather seamless web of ideas, contributions, testing, and feedback that serves to enrich what Digital Coast has to offer. This includes tools to visualize impacts of sea level rise, coastal habitat conservation, and the economic value of coastal activities such as commercial fishing, recreation, shipping, and tourism.

So go ahead; click on Digital Coast to visit the website and test-drive the tools, data, and resources and find out why we use the slogan, “More than just data.” Oh, and did I say “we”? Yes. It’s not just another federal program. It is a federal program that wants to hear from you and actually values input and feedback. Digital Coast has taught me a great deal. It has given me reasons to be hopeful about new collaborative models for providing federal services to the public.

 

Jim Schwab