Bi-Weekly Report 
February 2, 2016

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At the Agencies

Using new information not previously available, NOAA Fisheries is expanding critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales to cover its northeast feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region and southeast calving grounds from North Carolina to Florida.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on January 18, released the 2010 National Coastal Condition Assessment showing that more than half of the nation's coastal and Great Lakes nearshore waters are rated good for biological and sediment quality, while about one-third are rated good for water quality. In almost all coastal waters, however, contaminants in fish tissue pose a threat to sensitive predator fish, birds, and wildlife. The National Coastal Condition Assessment is part of a series of National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) designed to advance the science of coastal monitoring and answer critical questions about the condition of waters in the United States.
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In the News

After six years of planning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has withdrawn its proposal to expand the size and focus of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
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For the first time, a global community of marine scientists is asking you to make space in your heart for the oceans this Valentine's week. On February 12, members of The Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section (SCB Marine Section) will share their love of the oceans with the public on the inaugural Heart the Oceans
 Day. By attending locally organized events like film-screenings and by following the hashtag #HeartTheOceans on social media, the Society's members hope you will join them in a mass outpouring of affection for the ocean.
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The town's Shore Protection Board heard an environmental success story last week from a marine biologist who helped establish a coral nursery offshore from Palm Beach. Cheryl Miller is a marine biologist with Coastal Eco-Group, a Deerfield Beach firm that specializes in environmental monitoring and restoration of coastal habitat. The town hired the firm to transplant coral and establish it in a preexisting artificial reef created by the town as part of state environmental permitting requirements for the renourishment of Midtown Beach.
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The Cape Region didn't see hefty snow accumulations from this weekend's storm, but high winds and flooding have left severe damage along Delaware's beaches and bayfront communities. State officials are reviewing near record-breaking flooding, dune breaches and severe beach erosion and Gov. Jack Markell and other state officials got a first-hand look at the damage during a helicopter tour of Sussex County Jan. 24. "The work that has been done in a federal/state partnership to build our resistance through the dunes means what we're talking about today is replacing sand rather than replacing properties," Markell said.
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Gulf Coast 

Planning for five restoration projects and construction of three additional ones were approved by a coastal group via a Jan. 22 electronic vote that allocated $73.3 million for the work.The January meeting of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Task Force was canceled because of high water on the Mississippi River, so the electronic vote was held instead, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported in a news release.
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A project to restore more than 60 acres of marsh in Golden Meadow is expected to start this spring.The project, broken into two phases, will help restore the area between Catfish Lake and the south Lafourche levee system.The Lafourche Parish Council voted Tuesday to work with Ducks Unlimited on the project and set aside $250,000. About $385,000 will come from the state's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and $450,000 from ConocoPhillips.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
Forget about selfies. In California, residents are using smartphones and drones to document the coastline's changing face. Starting this month, The Nature Conservancy is asking tech junkies to capture the flooding and coastal erosion that come with El Nino, a weather pattern that's bringing California its wettest winter in years - and all in the name of science.
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Great Lakes

Environmental groups and lawmakers say the Great Lakes did well in the 2016 federal omnibus spending bill, which includes millions of federal dollars for pollution cleanup, habitat protection, waterway projects and port dredging.The year-end appropriations bill, a $1.1 trillion spending package that funds the federal government through September, includes $1.25 billion for U.S. harbor maintenance and navigation projects and $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a multi-year federal program that oversees pollution cleanup, funds habitat restoration and fights invasive species.
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The U.S. and Canada have done well at preventing Great Lakes water from being overused or raided by outsiders but should take additional steps to strengthen their legal protection against future grabs, an advisory organization said Tuesday. A compact between the region's eight states, and similar legislation approved by the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in the past decade, banned nearly all diversions of water outside their geological boundary and set conservation requirements for users within the region.
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Announcements & More   
Happy 20th Birthday to the Coastal Management Fellowship Program!
The year 2016 marks two decades for NOAA's Coastal Management Fellowship Program, and after placing over 100 extraordinary fellows into 26 different coastal programs, NOAA's Office for Coastal Management is ready to celebrate! Check out the GeoZone blog for great stories and projects from the fellowship, and hear from a previous fellow about the best part of the fellowship.  

OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016
Date & Time: February 3, 2016 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Title: Global warming, COP21 and coral reefs: global surveillance, research and conservation imperatives
Date & Time: February 4, 2016 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm  

Title: Town Hall Meeting on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia in the Great Lakes
Date & Time: February 9, 2016 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm  

Title: Maps and Datasets for Blue Carbon Habitats

Date & Time: Thursday, February 11, 1 pm - 2 pm  

Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at: 

Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.  

This guidebook is intended to provide town planners, city managers, municipal staff, elected officials, and concerned citizens with 1) a basic understanding of several areas of focus related to adapting to immediate and future flooding projections and sea level rise, 2) examples from communities that have adopted various adaptation strategies, and 3) links to resources and deeper background material.



The Voice of the Coastal States and Territories on Ocean, Coastal & Great Lakes Affairs