NOAA 2004-R401
Contact: Jordan St. John

NOAA News Releases 2004
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is visiting the Port of Tampa today, the site of one of the nation’s three pilot programs in the Portfields Initiative. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, PhD, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, is meeting with port officials to discuss objectives for the pilot program and share information on the needs of the port.

“Maritime trade is expected to double by 2020, exerting further pressure on already highly developed coastal areas. Redeveloping brownfields in port areas can facilitate improved marine transportation while providing environmental, economic, and social benefits,” Lautenbacher said. “Through Portfields, federal agencies will partner with the Port of Tampa and the surrounding communities to help revitalize waterfront areas, improve marine transportation and protect and restore coastal habitat.”

The pilot programs were chosen for their strong commitment to redevelopment, the particular needs and the proposal submitted to work with federal partners on the Portfields Initiative. Along with Tampa, the other Portfields Pilot Programs are in New Bedford, Mass., and Bellingham, Wash. The New Bedford program has been underway for more than one year and has registered significant results.

Led by NOAA, federal agencies will provide targeted resources to the Port of Tampa to assist and expedite the planning and implementation of projects. This assistance will also help leverage additional public and private investments.

“The Portfields Program helps to leverage significant resources for improvement. For example, NOAA’s $75,000 in technical support to New Bedford contributed to the redevelopment of five brownfields sites, leveraged over $50 million in private investments and resulted in the creation and retention of more than 880 jobs,” Lautenbacher said.

NOAA has committed $90,000 for fiscal year 2004 to begin implementation of Portfields. The reuse plans for the Port of Tampa, developed by NOAA and the Port Authority, include maritime and mixed uses, which will expand job opportunities within neighboring communities and will include environmental components such as habitat restoration to protect Tampa Bay.

“Available land is often limited in port areas, therefore ports must use existing land more efficiently. The Portfields agencies will work in close partnership to provide targeted resources to expedite redevelopment of brownfields in shipping communities,” Lautenbacher said.

In addition to a program manager, NOAA will provide a broad suite of technical support to include: GIS-based decision-support tools, environmental site and risk assessments, cost-effective cleanup approaches, habitat restoration strategies and environmental permit review.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web: