Bi-Weekly Report 
April 5, 2016

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At the Agencies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a "no discharge zone" can be established for the New York State portion of the St. Lawrence River. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation petitioned the EPA to prohibit boats from discharging sewage into the river by establishing a "no discharge zone" for the area. The EPA has reviewed the state petition and found that there are adequate facilities around the St. Lawrence for boats to pump out their sewage, rather than dumping it in the water.
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BOEM announced its first step toward potential leasing for commercial wind energy development in federal waters offshore California.

The EPA has provided $365,000 to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) to fund local projects that will prevent plastic trash polluting water bodies in New Jersey and New York. Projects may include a variety of plastic trash prevention solutions, including those that: implement source reduction and demonstrate prevention of trash from entering water bodies. Projects that are replicable and focus on upstream plastic trash prevention, and projects that benefit low-income communities near waterbodies will be prioritized. The deadline for applying through NEIWPCC is May 10, 2016.
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In the News

A new report nearly doubles previous predictions for sea level rise if global emissions continue unabated, portending a doomsday scenario for many of the world's coastal cities.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, looks toward the ice sheets of Antarctica, which by themselves may contribute more than three feet to sea level rise by 2100. Taken with other melting regions, including Greenland, seas could rise more than six feet, or two meters, by the end of the century.
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On March 28, scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography released a report in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences that found that the low-growing mangrove forests of Baja California store as much or more carbon as tall mangroves found around the world. The study states that "despite their small height and stunted appearance," the 300,000 acres of Baja California's mangroves sequester the same amount of carbon as 60 million American cars emit annually. The study found that Baja California's mangroves adapted to sea level rise in the region by migrating and growing on top of each other, helping prevent erosion on coastlines and storing layers of carbon-rich peat underground.
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The ides of March ushered in the worst known fish kill in Indian River Lagoon history, a watershed moment in a war to save a $3.7 billion annual economic engine. Scientists say low levels of dissolved oxygen in the lagoon's waters led to thousands of fish suffocating. More than 30 species in all died in the kill-off. The same scientists believe the recent "brown tide" of algae blooming in the lagoon is responsible for the low oxygen levels.
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Significant progress has been made in restoring America's Everglades over the past five years and a comprehensive report highlighting these efforts has just been submitted to Congress. The 2015 Report to Congress for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was jointly submitted to Congress last week by the secretaries of the Army and the Interior. The report details the collaborative effort of participating agencies and their combined commitment to restore America's Everglades.
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In an effort to find smart solutions for sea-level rise, storms, floods and other climate impacts in South Florida, The Nature Conservancy announced several new partnerships and two demonstration projects in Miami-Dade County to highlight and maximize the use of nature-based infrastructure solutions, such as mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands and dunes, as an important line of defense for coastal and community protection. These natural features are often cost-effective tools to absorb floodwaters, lessen wave energy and protect coastal residents and assets from the damages caused by storms.
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Gulf Coast 

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will work together to start moving millions of cubic yards of dredge material to construct a berm in the Round Island Coastal Preserve in Pascagoula. It's all part of an $8 million project funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Gulf Environment Benefit Fund to restore the Round Island Marsh.
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The $450 million spent on repairing levees locally after the 2011 Mississippi River flood has paid dividends this year, allowing the 2016 winter flood to come and go with little damage expected, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports. About half of the estimated $250 million of repairs needed in the New Orleans Corps district after the current high water likely will go toward dredging out river sediment from the navigation channels - primarily in Southwest Pass, said Mark Wingate, deputy district engineer for project management with the Corps' New Orleans district.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
Encinitas officials recently accepted $225,000 in additional grant funding from the state for a sand-replenishment program that will create 35 acres of new beach area during the next 50 years.
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Coastal dead zones are about as hospitable to marine life as their name implies. Although they are a persistent and growing problem around the globe, scientists couldn't predict where they would develop until two Washington State University Vancouver scientists stepped in.
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Great Lakes

A study to examine the health of the harbor in Algoma could lead to improvements to the breakwater there. It's a joint venture between the City of Algoma, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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Continuing its vital work to protect and improve water quality, the Fund for Lake Michigan has just awarded nearly $1.4 million in private grants aimed at improving beaches, reducing polluted runoff and restoring critical habitat in Wisconsin. The 26 different projects receiving money stretch from Kenosha to Marinette and range from restoration of Harrington Beach State Park north of Port Washington to helping advance one of the country's largest fish passage projects on the Menominee River.
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Announcements & More   

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has released final revised Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) maps for all CBRS units in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region of New York, 125 units in Florida, and 7 units in Louisiana.  These maps became effective on March 14, 2016 with the publication of a notice in the Federal Register.  The Service invited Federal, State, and local officials to review the draft maps for these areas and provide input during a 30-day stakeholder review period that closed on December 17, 2015.  The updated maps were produced as part of an interagency "digital conversion" effort between the Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and they make any minor and technical modifications necessary to reflect changes in the size or location of the CBRS units as a result of natural forces.  For additional information about this project, including the new official maps, please visit 

OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016
Title: Great Ships on the Great lakes
Date & Time: April 13, 2016 6:00 pm - 7:00 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