Bi-Weekly Report 
May 10, 2016

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At the Agencies

EPA and its partners are announcing a number of events to celebrate American Wetlands Month this May. On May 11th, the Environmental Law Institute, EPA, and other federal partners will honor a diverse group of individuals for their extraordinary commitment to conserving wetlands at the National Wetlands Awards Ceremony. On May 18th, EPA will co-host a  webinar featuring the new Wetland Treasures Program created by the Society of Wetland Scientists. The results of the 2011 National Wetlands Condition Assessment will be published mid-May and will be accessible through the EPA Wetlands homepage.
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The April average temperature for the Lower 48 states was 2.2 degrees F above the 20th-century average, which ranks as the 18th warmest April on record. Above-average temperatures were observed across the western two-thirds of the contiguous U.S, with record and near-record warmth along the West Coast and in the Northwest, and below normal temperatures in parts of the Northwest and Midwest. The April precipitation total was 0.43 inch above average, ranking as the 21st wettest in the 122-year period of record.
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The National Water Program has released the  "2015 Highlights of Progress: Responses to Climate Change." The report provides a summary of the major climate change-related accomplishments of EPA's national and regional water programs during 2015. The report also highlights major research projects addressing climate change and water that were completed in 2015 by the EPA Office of Research and Development.
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In the News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allotted $187,379,000 to the State of New York to help finance improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment. The funds will primarily be used to upgrade wastewater systems and drinking water systems throughout the state. "The EPA is committed to improving water quality throughout New York State," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "This federal funding will help New York communities upgrade their drinking water and sewage treatment systems, both of which are imperative for healthy communities."
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation, was allotted $147,479,000. The program provides low-interest loans to local governments for water quality protection projects to make improvements to wastewater treatment systems, control pollution from rain water runoff, and protect sensitive water bodies and estuaries.
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To promote living shorelines, the USFWS Coastal Program worked with the NOAA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Nature Conservancy and others to develop a website with the purpose of informing coastal property owners about the benefits of living shorelines, restoration techniques, and resources that are available to help them create living shorelines.
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signed an agreement with the City of Jacksonville, Fla., and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing them to dredge nearly 1.4 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for periodic renourishment of the Duval County shoreline. The shore protection project, using sand from the seafloor of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), will restore a 10-mile stretch of coast between the St. Johns River entrance and the Duval County/St. Johns County boundary along the Atlantic Ocean. Dredging is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.
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Gov. Rick Scott says more emergency pumping is needed to avoid flooding Everglades animals in western Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Scott is calling on the federal government to extend the increased draining that sends more water than usual from Everglades sawgrass marshes in western Broward and Miami-Dade and into Everglades National Park.
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U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is convinced that Congress needs to move quickly to provide additional money for programs to help protect Long Island Sound's environment from the impacts of climate change. "We don't have a lot of time to get to the funding levels necessary to protect the Sound," the Connecticut Democrat said Monday (May 2nd) at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building, where he released his proposals to boost spending on coastal programs for the environment. Murphy's plan calls for increasing overall federal funding for such programs by $139 million a year to $860 million annually. A few of those spending proposals are specific to Long Island Sound, but most involve national environmental and coastal projects that include marine scientific research, clean water grants, and fisheries management efforts.
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Gulf Coast 

On April 28, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., voted in favor of advancing the "Water Resources Development Act" to the full Senate for its consideration. The bill would make targeted investments to the nation's ports and waterways for the movement of goods and commerce, protect lives and property from floods, and restore vital ecosystems. The measure was passed by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
"The legislation represents a bipartisan commitment to investing in navigable and reliable water resources while boosting U.S. commerce, keeping prices down for consumers, and creating jobs," Wicker said. "Updating these policies keeps American workers and businesses competitive. I am also pleased that the measure includes important funding to help small, rural, and underserved communities with their water infrastructure needs. Cities such as Greenville, Grenada, and Jackson could benefit from federal grants that would deliver safe, clean drinking water to people and offset the costs associated with burdensome unfunded EPA mandates."
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
The millions of people-not to mention other animals and plants-living on islands already face unique challenges due to global warming. As seas rise and temperatures climb, islanders may have fewer choices for relocating people, infrastructure, or agriculture than larger countries do. Among the most serious public health and ecological threats facing islands may be freshwater stress. Nearly three-quarters of the islands examined in a recent study were projected to experience much drier conditions by 2050, with the situation worsening by 2090.
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The U.S. Virgin Islands are a tropical oasis of sandy beaches and warm crystal clear waters. Yet, coral bleaching is becoming more frequent, and seven species of coral found in the Caribbean are now listed as threatened. Rising seas put the U.S. Virgin
Islands National Park at risk from erosion. These effects harm the natural resources and also impact the local economy. In March, Interior announced a new grant of more than
$825,000 to the U.S. Virgin Islands to help the islands adapt and plan for climate change.
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Great Lakes

In an effort to protect the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from spending cuts, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday (April 26) passed a bill that would authorize it through 2021. Despite being targeted for cuts of as much as 80 percent, the program has received $300 million a year since 2014. Tuesday's bill would help prevent future efforts to redirect its cleanup money to other programs, said its sponsor, Russell Township GOP Rep. Dave Joyce.
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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.The Norwalk, Ohio, firm's $8.6 million proposal was the lowest of eight bids for the project, which will be the first park in the system to have access to Lake Erie. Learn more
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