CSO Newsletter
The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.
Spotlight on Coastal Management:
CSO Calls on Congress to Invest in
Coastal Resilience
A bipartisan effort in Congress, led by the House Oceans Caucus, is seeking to include a $10 billion investment in coastal restoration and community resilience projects in infrastructure legislation. Coastal projects funded by this program will serve as economic stimulus to tourism dependent coastal communities that were deeply impacted by COVID-19, while also preparing them for future climate conditions.

As the federal government plans a national infrastructure package, it must invest in resilient coastal communities. Coastal communities face sea level rise, intensifying storms, and other climate impacts, on top of existing coastal hazards, such as on-going erosion. Fifteen of the nation’s 35 coastal States and Territories have issued an initial list of almost 600 potential coastal infrastructure projects that could begin within the next 18 months totaling over a $5.7 billion investment and creating nearly 64,000 short-term jobs and over 2,000 long-term jobs. The need for coastal resilience is enormous. Once every coastal State develops their potential coastal project list, the total cost for coastal infrastructure will undoubtedly greatly exceed $10 billion.

Learn more here.
In the States and Regions
West Coast and Pacific
To Combat Rising Sea Levels, UH Professors Propose Plans to Redesign Hawaii’s Infrastructure
It’s a race against time as University of Hawaii professors propose radical changes to prepare for rising ocean levels. “We believe on Oahu and in Honolulu, there is an opportunity to plan for these things before a disaster hits,” said Judith Stilgenbauer, principal investigator and professor at UH Manoa’s School of Architecture. “So, anticipating climate change rather than thinking of it as post disaster recovery, planning and design.” Stilgenbauer, her team and students conducted a two-year study that investigated the past, present and future of Honolulu’s South Shore. The study includes maps from the past 100 years that show just how much Honolulu has pushed the shoreline seaward by filling the land. “And now the ocean is coming back and sort of reclaiming this land, and we need to prepare for that. We can’t just give up,” said Dr. Chip Fletcher, associate dean of Academic Affairs of the School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology at UH Manoa. Read more

Worth Saving: Ormond Beach Receives $1M for Desperately Needed Restoration
The wetlands at Ormond Beach are one of the last remaining coastal wetlands in the entire state. Over 90 percent of all coastal wetlands have been lost to coastal development; harbors, homes, roads, and oil refineries replacing some of the richest, most biodiverse habitats in North America.  Looking at an aerial map of Ormond Beach and the surrounding area, saving this postage stamp of a wetland appears hopeless. The beleaguered wetland is smothered by habitat degradation, especially at the end of McWane Boulevard and Perkins Road. A power plant, toxic waste, agricultural run-off, and graffiti far overshadow this remnant of a struggling coastal ecosystem. It appears as if the amount of trash in the channels and mudflats far outnumber the shorebirds, gulls and waders that somehow coexist in this meager ecological quagmire. Some help is on the way, however, for what will be a long road to recovery. Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) awarded more than $27 million to 14 states, funds put toward restoring almost 28,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats. The California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) received $7 million of that total sum, with $1 million going towards restoration efforts at 650-acre Ormond Beach. Read more
East Coast and Caribbean
NJ Eyes Work to Protect Coastline, Reduce Carbon Emissions
ew Jersey will study its coastal marshes, estuaries and back bays to develop a list of projects to help protect shore communities, restore damaged ecosystems, and prevent the release of planet-warming carbon into the atmosphere. The state Department of Environmental Protection is providing $150,000 for the effort, called the Coastal Ecological Restoration and Adaptation Plan, that also will include teams from Rutgers University. The goal is to develop a list of projects the state can fund and execute in the coming years to protect communities from storms and rising seas, and also to reduce the state’s contribution to climate change. Read more

The St. Croix East End Marine Park Visitor Center is Ready to Open
The St. Croix East End Marine Park Visitor Center is ready for visitors to jump in and explore more about the park’s natural resources and habitats. Located on St. Croix’s east end, the visitor center was first conceived several years ago. It was expected to open in early 2020 but the opening was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The East End Marine Park is managed by the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Coastal Zone Management and was first established in 2003. It is the first territorial park in the U.S. Virgin Islands and was created to protect wildlife and natural resources found on St. Croix. At the center, tourists, families and students can learn more about how they can protect the park. Read more
Great Lakes
Headlands Beach State Park to Turn Flooded Parking Lots Into Wetlands, Manager Says
Gary Gerrone, manager of both Geneva State Park and Headlands Beach State Park, recently gave a virtual presentation about the highlights of both parks and the updates that are in store for them. Gerrone noted in the presentation that flooding near the parking lots and roadways recently has become quite an issue at Headlands, and while some of the water can run off into natural areas, there areas near the western side of the park that present other concerns. He explained that in these areas, they believe the ground is now below lake level, so the ground water is actually exposing itself above the surface and causing consistent flooding in the adjacent parking lots. "We actually wish to turn it into its own dedicated wetland. If mother nature wants it to be a wetland, it's too time-consuming and costly for us to say otherwise," he said. "And so through the acquisition of a GLRI (Great Lakes Restoration Initiative) grant that we just acquired, we will this season be turning our flooded parking lots into a true wetland...," he added. "It's an exciting project. I'm really looking forward to it." Read more

Duluth seeks long-term solution to Park Point erosion
Mayor Emily Larson is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate whether the federal agency's maintenance work on shipping channels could have caused shoreline erosion on Park Point. The move marks the first step in a long process that could potentially lead to more permanent fortification of the 6-mile sand spit, which is also known as Minnesota Point and home to 300 homes, hotels and businesses that have been threatened by storms and rising water levels in recent years. The request also follows the discovery of shards of decades-old aluminum cans on Park Point's beach from a recent dredging project intended to temporarily bolster the shoreline. "We have a very serious and very chronic problem with severe beach erosion," Jim Filby Williams, Duluth's director of parks, properties and libraries, said at a news conference March 26. Read more
Gulf Coast
Work Progresses Off Terrebonne On State's Biggest Barrier Island Restoration Project
About 20 miles southeast of Cocodrie, bulldozers are working on the state's largest-ever project to restore barrier islands that protect inland communities from Gulf of Mexico storms. Gov. John Bel Edwards and other officials got a first-hand look Monday at the restoration work on Trinity-East Island, part of a $167 million project that will use money from BP oil spill fines to restore several islands off Terrebonne and Lafourche. “It’s really good to be out here and see first hand the work that has taken place,” Edwards said. “We have to do the most critical work first, and that’s why we’re standing on the barrier islands because this the first line of defense against approaching storms.” Read more

Plan outlined to restore McFaddin Beach coastline to where it was 100 years ago
A coastal rehabilitation project aimed at repairing an area of Sabine Pass will restore a local coastline to where it was 100 years ago, officials say. “It will stop saltwater intrusion into the 128 acres of marsh north of the beach, improve the health of the marsh; contribute to the finfish and crab habitat, the bird watching habitat, and create healthier vegetation,” Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said of the plan to move almost 3 million cubic yards of sand to the coastline of McFaddin Beach. According to information from the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, “the current rate of erosion on McFaddin Refuge averages between 15-45 feet of marsh habitat lost every year.” Read more
Events & Webinars
NOAA Photo Contest: Coastal Management in Action
Coastal management comes in many shapes and sizes. From ensuring public access to balancing development with natural areas, coastal management keeps our coasts thriving. For the fifth annual coastal management photo contest, we want to see your photos of coastal management in action. Show us your natural infrastructure projects, beautiful beaches you work to protect, recreational uses, and more! Find inspiration from the list of nine categories. Submit photos to the fifth Coastal Management photo contest. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be featured in our social media campaign during the month of May. Submit your photos by May 3, 2021.

Margaret A. Davidson Coastal Career Development Program
The Coastal Society is hosting a virtual workshop on April 27, 2021 designed to provide academic and employment advice from national experts to students, recent graduates, and early professionals seeking a coastal career. The half-day program features an opening panel and two break-out sessions, allowing attendees to hear from speakers in plenary and small group sessions. Our goal is to share insights on the trends, tactics, and skills needed as you move through school and into the job market. Learn more about TCS’s coastal career program and the agenda for this workshop here.

A Gulf-wide restoration plan to address Deepwater Horizon impacts on marine life
NOAA and the Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group are seeking public input on their first draft restoration plan. Eleven new projects, totalling nearly $100 million, are proposed to support the restoration of sea turtles, marine mammals, oysters, and birds. More information on the proposed projects, public comment, and meetings is available here.

Texas General Land Office launches Clean Coast Texas website
The Texas General Land Office, in partnership with members of the Texas Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Program, has launched the Clean Coast Texas website. This comprehensive online resource provides information to help coastal communities protect water quality and reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff. 

RAE Releases 2021 NEP Coastal Watersheds Grant RFP
Now in its second year, the NEP CWG Program is a nationally competitive grants program designed to support projects that address urgent and challenging issues threatening the well-being of coastal and estuarine areas within determined estuaries of national significance. In 2020, the NEP CWG awarded more than $1.3 million to eight projects.  RAE will select grantees through a two-step process: 1) Letters of Intent (LOI); and 2) full proposals by invitation only. LOIs are due on June 7, 2021. Only projects occurring within the geographic eligibility areas may receive funding. Informational webinars will occur on April 27 and May 5 for those interested in learning more.

PEW Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) Program
The Nature Conservancy and Pew Charitable Trusts’ Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) program issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the new $1 million Shellfish Growers Resiliency Fund (Fund). The Fund aims to pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable U.S. shellfish industry that benefits the ocean and the communities which rely upon it. Funding is open to applicants in the U.S. and will be distributed equitably among the West Coast (including Hawaii and Alaska), East Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Fund will award small one-year projects (up to $20,000) targeting shellfish growers, shellfish aquaculture industry associations, and closely linked supply chain companies supporting aquaculture. The application deadline for the small RFP is May 17, 2021, with a second round closing in June 2021. The Fund will also award large two-year projects (up to $100,000) and will target shellfish growers, academic organizations, non-profit organizations engaged directly in the support of shellfish aquaculture, supply chain companies supporting aquaculture, and shellfish aquaculture industry associations. The application deadline for the large RFP is June 14, 2021. Contact Christina Popolizio with questions. Learn more and apply here.

Water Resources Development Act of 2020 Comment Period and Stakeholder Sessions
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) is issuing this notice for a comment period for stakeholders and other interested parties to provide input and recommendations to the ASA(CW) on any provisions in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. The Office of the ASA(CW) will consider all comments received before any implementation guidance is issued. There is one remaining session will be held via webinar on April 13, 2021 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT to receive comments on any WRDA 2020 provisions. The public comment period will end on May 7, 2021. Learn more here.

EPA Announces Availability of Up to $6 Million in Annual Environmental Justice Grants
The EPA has announced the availability of up to $6 million in grant funding under The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program. EPA will be giving special consideration to the following focus areas:
  • Addressing COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income communities and communities of color
  • Climate Change and Natural Disaster Resiliency outreach and planning
  • New applicants to either opportunity
  • Ports Initiative to assist people living and working near ports across the country
  • Small non-profits

Applicants interested in either opportunity must submit proposal packages on or before May 7, 2021. Applicants should plan for projects to begin on October 1, 2021.Learn more about EJCPS pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding here. Learn more about EJSG pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding here.
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The views expressed in articles referenced here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.

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