Bi-Weekly Report 
January 12, 2016

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At the Agencies

A recent NOAA study, published in the journal PLOS One, shows " living shorelines" - protected and stabilized shorelines using natural materials such as plants, sand, and rock - can help to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, helping to blunt the effects of climate change.This study, the first of its kind, measured carbon storing, or "carbon sequestration," in the coastal wetlands and the narrow, fringing marshes of living shorelines in North Carolina. "Shoreline management techniques like this can help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while increasing coastal resilience," said Russell Callender, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA's National Ocean Service.
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BOEM has issued a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to gauge the offshore wind industry's interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in four areas offshore South Carolina, totaling more than 1,100 square miles on the Outer Continental Shelf, and to request comments regarding site conditions, resources and other uses in and near those areas. In addition to the Call, BOEM issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). Through the Notice of Intent (NOI), BOEM is seeking public comment for determining significant issues and alternatives to be analyzed in the EA, which will consider potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas. 
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As part of its efforts to support coastal communities looking to build more resilient futures, NOAA announced the funding of a $23.7 million award for the construction of the Oyster Bayou Marsh Restoration project. The project will be funded through the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Program, which has restored and protected more than 112,000 acres of coastal habitat in Louisiana in the past 25 years.
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EPA's new Water/Wastewater All-Hazard Boot Camp Training is a comprehensive computer-based course incorporates emergency planning, response, and recovery activities into an all-hazard management program for water utilities. The training covers several topics including: identifying and funding potential hazard mitigation projects, developing and updating an Emergency Response Plan (ERP), coordinating mutual aid and assistance during emergencies, conducting damage assessments, and many more. The training features clickable displays, testimonials from water utility professionals, knowledge checks, and recommendations for additional tools and resources to build all-hazards resilience. Many states have already pre-approved the course for continuing education hours for both water and wastewater personnel.
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $690,940 to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Research Foundation of SUNY, to better protect wetlands throughout New York. "Wetlands play a critical role in alleviating harmful effects of climate change, protecting against flooding and storm surges," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "These grants will help strengthen shorelines and the health of wetlands, protecting water quality and fish and wildlife habitats."
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In the News

Can nature-based shoreline practices improve coastal resilience?

New Yorkers in the Great Lakes region have experienced extreme storm and flood events in recent years. How can Great Lakes shorelines be protected from the effects of extreme weather events? New York Sea Grant recently hosted a workshop exploring the possible use of natural materials for shoreline erosion management.
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The ocean is contaminated by trillions more pieces of plastic than thought

Somewhere between 15 trillion and 51 trillions pieces of plastic litters the world's oceans, a new study has found. That's three to 10 times more plastic than scientists had previously estimated. The study, led by climate scientist Erik van Sebille at London's Imperial College and coauthored by researchers at nonprofit group 5 Gyres, built on the findings of two papers published last year. The scientists tapped every data set on plastic pollution published since the 1970s and ran the numbers through three computer models.
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers announces the official construction completion on the Miami Harbor Deepening and Widening Project, the first major port deepening to a 50-feet depth in the southeastern United States. Along with deepening, which was finished in September, mitigation construction is also completed. Recent monitoring shows the mitigation features are functioning successfully.
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Living shorelines - the use of marsh grass, oyster shells and other natural materials to protect eroding estuarine shorelines and crucial habitat instead of bulkheads - just got a big boost along the N.C. coast. The N.C Coastal Federation, based in this small community in western Carteret County, has received a $570,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create living shorelines on select public and private lands on the N.C. coast.
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University of Virginia environmental scientists have co-authored a new methodology to encourage global coastal restoration on the voluntary carbon market for projects that help bring back carbon-storing tidal wetlands and seagrass meadows.The protocol, which quantifies the greenhouse gas mitigation achieved by coastal restoration projects, has been adopted by the Verified Carbon Standard, a global benchmark for carbon management.
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Gulf Coast 

Coastal land loss could cost Louisiana more than $133 billion in economic damage if a Hurricane Katrina-like storm hits again in the next 50 years. That's according to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which commissioned a two-year study on the economic effects of land loss in Louisiana.
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The Gulf Coast received an early Christmas present in the form of the announcements of significant economic development and environmental restoration projects when the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE) met last week and approved major projects such as a $17 million aquarium that will have wide-ranging benefits across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
For the past three decades, local land trusts and state agencies have worked hard at restoring and preserving more than 700 acres of estuary habitat in lower Hood Canal's Lynch Cove wetlands. Now, in partnership with the Beard's Cove Community Organization, Great Peninsula Conservancy is completing restoration on the missing link of the greater Lynch Cove estuary.
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West Siders are protective of the vital two-lane portion of Honoapiilani Highway from Lahaina to the Pali Tunnel.The once idyllic scenic coastal corridor is being armored by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) in an epic battle against sea level rise and coastal erosion a section at a time; choice of weapon: seawalls, rock revetments and jersey barriers.
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Great Lakes

An underwater survey of the Grand River bed between Grand Rapids and the Bass River Recreation Area is expected to begin soon after state officials chose to forge ahead with a project that failed to excite Ottawa County leaders. In November, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) approved spending $100,000 of general fund money to map the river bottom as a first step toward dredging the 22.5-mile stretch of the Lower Grand River.
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By the latter half of this century, toxic algal blooms like the one that cut off drinking water to the city of While researchers have long suspected that climate change will lead to stronger and more frequent blooms, a new fusion of climate models and watershed models has proven those suspicions right: For Lake Erie, at least, the number of severe blooms will likely double over the next 100 years. The findings hold implications for hundreds of coastal regions around the world where nutrient runoff and climate change intersect to make toxic algae a problem.
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Some of the world's biggest temperature jumps are happening in lakes - an ominous sign that suggests problems such as harmful algae blooms and low-oxygen zones hazardous to fish will get worse, says a newly released scientific report. An analysis of 235 lakes that together hold more than half the earth's fresh surface water found they have warmed an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit or 0.34 degrees Celsius per decade, the report said. While seemingly insignificant, the increase is bigger than those recorded in the oceans or the atmosphere.
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Announcements & More   

NOAA's Digital Coast Training

Great lakes Section

Let NOAA's Digital Coast help your community plan and build smarter with the
  Coastal Community Planning and Development training. Three lucky communities from the Great Lakes area will be chosen to host this training during 2016. Think your community would make a good fit?
Contact the training team  for more information.
West Coast Section

Let NOAA's Digital Coast help your community plan and build smarter with the
  Coastal Community Planning and Development training. Three lucky communities from the West Coast area will be chosen to host this training during 2016. Think your community would make a good fit?   
Contact the training team for more information.
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016
Title: A New Era of Cooperation Between Cuba and the U.S. Established through Marine Protected Areas
Date & Time: Thu, January 14, 2016, 1pm - 2pm

: Maps and Datasets for Blue Carbon Habitats
Date & Time: Thursday, February 11, 1pm - 2pm  

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.  



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