NOAA 99-cz99
Contact: Colleen Angeles


More than a thousand people from all over the world are descending on San Diego this week for a landmark conference that will explore how coastal nations can prepare for population growth along their coasts and identify ways to protect finite ocean and coastal resources from becoming overburdened by overuse and/or abuse.

Coastal Zone 99, the world's largest conference on ocean and coastal management issues, is taking place July 24-30, 1999, at the Town and Country Resort, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, California. Over 30 nations and the 35 U.S. coastal states and island territories are expected to participate.

The conference brings together over 1,000 people from all walks of "coastal life"—i.e., coastal managers, elected officials, environmental specialists, planners, private sector representatives, academicians, educators, attorneys, engineers, scientists and students —to exchange information and experiences on a myriad of ocean and coastal issues, and debate possible "solutions" to the challenging and complex issues raised by intense competition among coastal and ocean uses and users.

"At the brink of the new century, oceans and coastal resources have never been more crucial to the environmental and economic health of the U.S. and the world. Much has been accomplished, but the challenges ahead are tremendous," said Terry Garcia, assistant secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

The theme of CZ 99, "The People, The Coast, The Ocean—Vision 2020," emanates from the reality of population growth, projected to continue at a rapid rate in the next century. Currently, about 2.5 billion people live within 100 miles of the world's coastal margins. Over the next 50 years, that figure is expected to explode to more than 6 billion—more than the entire world population today. Impacts and demands stemming from this population growth will put enormous pressure on coastal and ocean resources.

"This conference is vital because it brings together a diverse group of people from around the world who are deeply committed to coastal and ocean environmental stewardship—people searching for viable solutions to the complex problems of our world's threatened oceans and coasts," said Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission and CZ 99 Co-chair.

In keeping with this reality, discussions at CZ 99 will focus on how coastal management affects people and why people should care, strategies to protect the world's oceans and lakes, complex management problems that arise in watersheds, and ways to achieve greater levels of public involvement in planning for coastal issues.

The conference features a wide variety of associated meetings, field trips, plenary sessions, oral and poster presentations and exhibits. Topics are wide ranging, covering all aspects of the coastal and ocean environment, such as coastal tourism, coastal hazards mitigation and planning, citizen activism, coastal water quality, recycling coastal development and restoration of coastal habitats.

CZ 99 keynote speaker Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide, will discuss concepts of voluntary simplicity—a growing movement that targets over-consumption and proposes new sustainable lifestyle strategies—and its relevance to coastal zone management.

In addition, plenary sessions will report on national initiatives to protect the coasts, explore the relationship between private interests in land and water with public interests in stewarding public resources, celebrate volunteerism and examine "new medicines" to challenge "affluenza" along the coasts.

"This conference spotlights efforts to improve ocean and coastal environments and increase understanding that a healthy environment is vital to human, economic, social and inspirational well-being," said Douglas.

CZ 99 is sponsored by several federal agencies, including the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of the Navy. Non-federal sponsors include the California Coastal Commission, Port of San Diego, Hart Crowser, Battelle, and nine other public and private groups.

For more information, log onto the CZ 99 Web site at Links to all of the sponsors and partners are provided. Additional information is available from Dee Garner, CZ 99 Plenary Program Coordinator, at (619) 908-5056.

EDITORS NOTE: CZ 99 plenary sessions will be broadcast live onto the Internet at