Bi-Weekly Report 
May 25, 2016

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At the Agencies

EPA is proposing several regulatory revisions and updates to the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. After consulting with EPA regional and state permitting experts and stakeholders from regulated and environmental communities, EPA is proposing several key fixes, including: clarifying NPDES definitions and application requirements; improving permit decision documentation in fact sheets; permitting authorities to issue public notice of certain permit actions online rather than in a newspaper; and ensuring issuance of environmentally significant permits in a timelier manner. The public comment period will be open for 60 days. This proposal would not reopen the regulations for other specific or comprehensive revision.
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NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on a draft plan to help guide [the agency] approach to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information and to reduce impacts and increase resilience of fish stocks, fishing-dependent communities, and protected species. As part of its efforts to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information, NOAA Fisheries has released a draft climate science action plan for the U.S. Northeast. It outlines a strategy and specific actions for increasing understanding of, preparing for, and responding to climate change effects on the region's ocean species -- including marine and anadromous fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds -- and the people that depend on them.
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In the News

For the 12th month in a row, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced record-high global temperatures - marking a yearlong heat streak that scientists say is grim sign of climate change in action. April 2016 was the hottest April ever recorded by NOAA since it started tracking global temperatures in 1880, the agency announced Wednesday. This is the 12th consecutive month the agency has identified a monthly global temperature record. That's the longest such streak NOAA has ever recorded.

A craft beer company has brewed up a brilliant idea. Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach, Florida, has created edible six-pack rings that feed, rather than kill, marine life if the rings end up in the ocean and an animal happens to eat it. The rings are created from beer by-products during the brewing process such as barley and wheat and are completely safe for humans and fish to eat.The rings are also 100 percent biodegradable and compostable, which just ups the product's sustainability game.
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On April 25, DoD announced the release of a new report - "Regional Sea Level Scenarios for Coastal Risk Management: Managing the Uncertainty of Future Sea Level Change and Extreme Water Levels for Department of Defense Coastal Sites Worldwide ." A multi-agency team of researchers developed the report and an accompanying online database to provide regionalized sea level and extreme water level scenarios for three future time horizons (2035, 2065, and 2100) for 1,774 military sites worldwide. These "scenarios" are plausible and scientifically credible future sea level and extreme water level values. The database provides access to site-specific scenario values for each of the three future timeframes, based on five global sea-level rise scenarios that range from 0.2 meters to 2.0 meters rise by 2100, starting from 1992. The report is available at
In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently launched a website to help communities with climate change adaptation and mitigation. The new Climate Change Science Clearinghouse contains a treasure trove of information including maps, data sets and documents that can assist policymakers, planners and the public in making "scientifically sound and cost-effective" decisions.
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Flagler County will get a $1 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation for design costs to begin a proposed 50-year, $45-million renourishment plan to reduce erosion and storm damage in Flagler Beach, according to an agreement the county commission approved Monday night.The beach project will implement a 10-foot dune extension that features sacrificial berms of the southern portion of the beach from 7th Street South to 28th Street - a 2.6-mile stretch of the surf. It is part of a storm damage protection plan aimed at protecting the coastal infrastructure along State Road A1A and nurturing the sands in Flagler Beach.
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The Georgia Ports Authority approved $7.5 million on Monday for the first big steps toward building a new seaport terminal on the Savannah River, to be operated jointly with South Carolina. Both states have spent years discussing, studying and debating the proposed $4.5 billion Jasper Ocean Terminal, which would occupy 1,500 acres in Jasper County, South Carolina, not far from downtown Savannah. South Carolina is expected to commit its $7.5 million share, and together that money will be spent preparing for the required permits over the next three years.
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Gulf Coast 

A sense of urgency is needed to fight coastal land loss in Louisiana, the state's coastal restoration chief said today at Nicholls State University. "This is a critical issue because we're behind the eight ball," said John Bradberry, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority executive director. Since the early part of the 20th century, Louisiana has lost 25 percent of its land to coastal erosion, he said. While the state makes up 37 percent of the coastal land in the United States, it is the place where 90 percent of the coastal loss has taken place.
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Senate earmarks $250M to dredge 'strategic' ports, including Port of Gulfport. Legislation that would allocate $250 million to fund deep-draft harbor and channel dredging for commercial ports such as the Port of Gulfport that have been designated as "strategic" to national security won Senate approval on Thursday (May 12). U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi said the money will help the Port of Gulfport prepare to fulfill its role as one of 17 commercial ports designated as strategic to national defense. The port received a Strategic Seaport designation in November 2015.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries and the CNMI government, is requesting public comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Northern Islands Submerged Lands Transfer to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Draft EA was developed in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the CNMI government. The public comment period is open from May 4 to June 6, 2016.
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Bay shorelines edged by tidal marshes and wetlands have natural flood protection, are habitats for native plants and animals, and are often locales where people can observe wildlife in close proximity to a metropolis. Advocates for wetlands along the shores of the nine Bay Area counties are asking voters to approve Measure AA, a $12 annual parcel tax on the ballot in the June 7 primary election. The measure would need a two-thirds majority to pass, and polling shows support from more than 70 percent of those surveyed, San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said.
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Great Lakes

Nearly eight years after buying the land, Metroparks of the Toledo Area has given the go-ahead for the initial phase of Howard Marsh Metropark in Jerusalem Township.
Park district commissioners approved a contract this week with Mark Haynes Construction Inc. to restore about 700 acres of former farmland into a coastal wetland recreation area.
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Ohio's environmental agency wants to better coordinate the state's efforts to drastically reduce what's feeding the harmful algae in Lake Erie that has fouled drinking water and increased the costs to treat it. The plan, obtained by the Associated Press, calls for putting the Ohio Lake Erie Commission in charge of overseeing the work to cut the amount of phosphorus flowing into the lake. It's one of several regulatory proposals being pitched to state lawmakers Wednesday. Those include giving the state's Environmental Protection Agency more authority over private water systems at mobile home parks and campgrounds and making it easier to find new uses for tons of sediment dredged from shipping channels along the lake.
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Announcements & More   

The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) requests your help by taking 5 minutes to list your ongoing nearshore research projects (or titles of funded grants) in the focus areas below (identified within The Future of Nearshore Processes Research, Winter 2015. Shore & Beach, Vol. 83, No.1; "nearshore report"). To list your projects, please use the template spreadsheet, by follow the instructions on this link.
  1. Long-term Coastal Evolution due to Natural and Anthropogenic Processes
  2. Extreme Events: Flooding, erosion, and the subsequent recovery
  3. Physical, biological and chemical processes impacting human and ecosystem health
ASBPA is collecting this information to identify potential collaborations and research gaps, and to help leverage future funding for nearshore research.  ASBPA has long supported increased investment in U.S. academic coastal engineering & science programs.  
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016
Title: Incorporating Ecosystem Services in Federal Decision Making: Perspectives from NOAA
Date & Time: May 11, 2016 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET

Title: Effectively Communicating Climate Change to the American Public: Challenges and Opportunities
Date & Time: June 2, 2016 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET

Title: Protecting Peru's Precious Ocean and Coastal Resources
Date & Time: July 14, 2016 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET
Title: Engaging the Public in Marine Reserves and Protected Areas: The Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership

Date & Time: August 11, 2016 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET  
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


The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.