Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard, Version 3.1

Federal Geographic Data Committee

To meet the urgent and increasing need for a standard national classification for coastal and marine systems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NatureServe have developed the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS), a classification standard that is relevant to all U.S. coastal and marine environments and that can be applied locally, regionally, nationally, and potentially globally. The objective of CMECS is to provide a means to classify ecological and habitat units in a simple standard format using a common terminology. CMECS provides a uniform protocol for identifying, characterizing, and naming ecological units in support of the monitoring, protection, and restoration of unique biotic assemblages, protected species, critical habitat, and important ecosystem components.

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