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NOAA's Coastal Assessment Framework :

The NOAA's Coastal Assessment Framework (CAF) and data available through this web site were developed in the mid-1990s as part of NOAA’s National Coastal Assessment and Data Synthesis (CA&DS) project by NOAA's Special Projects Office to allow characterization of entire watersheds in the U.S., both coastal and upstream portion, with a nested hierarchy of spatial units for the small- and large-scale coastal resource data analyses needed to effectively manage our nation's diverse data resources. While there are no current plans to update this project much of the data below may still be relevant.

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The NOAA's Coastal Assessment Framework (CAF) provides a systematic framework that integrates data such as eutrophication conditions, pollutant sources and loadings, population, sediment contamination, and others that are consistently formatted using a hierarchical set of spatial units defined by Framework.

The CAF encompasses nearly 83 percent of the land areas within the contiguous United States and includes the drainage basins of nearly all of the nation's rivers.

Complete Coastal Assessment Framework - Land and Water

The CAF includes coastal and estuarine drainage areas along the nation's coasts and upstream fluvial drainage areas. The CAF is composed of 124 Estuarine and Sub-estuarine Drainage Areas (EDAs), 43 Fluvial Drainage Areas (FDAs), 285 Coastal Drainage Areas (CDAs), and 15 Fluvial components of Coastal Drainage Areas (FCDAs). For Alaska and Hawaii, it includes coastal USGS-8-digit Cataloging Units.

The CAF is composed of:

An Estuarine Drainage Area (EDA) is that component of an estuary's entire watershed that empties directly into the estuary and is affected by tides. EDAs may be composed of all or part of a single or several USGS hydrologic units and include all or part of the USGS cataloging unit containing the most upstream extent of tidal influence (head-of-tide).

A Coastal Drainage Area (CDA) is defined as that component of an entire watershed that meets the following three criteria: 1) it is not part of any EDA; 2) it drains directly into an ocean, an estuary, or the Great Lakes; and 3) it is composed only of the downstream-most HUC in which the head-of-tide is found.

A Fluvial Drainage Area (FDA) is that component of an estuary's entire watershed upstream of the EDA boundary. FDAs have land components only. The huge 1,131,700 square mile Mississippi River FDA dwarfs all others, and makes up over half of the total drainage area covered by the entire CAF.

The Fluvial component of a Coastal Drainage Area (FCDA) is that component of a coastal watershed that lies "upstream" of the CDA boundary. Like FDAs, FCDAs only have a land component.

The following regions are derived from the CAF:

North Atlantic Region Coastal Watershed Areas
Middle Atlantic Region Coastal Watershed Areas
South Atlantic Region Coastal Watershed Areas
Gulf of Mexico Region Coastal Watershed Areas
Pacific Region Coastal Watershed Areas
Great Lakes Region Coastal Watershed Areas