Bi-Weekly Report 
June 15, 2016

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At the Agencies

NOAA announced nearly $17 million in grant funding is now available to support proposals focused on living coastal and marine resources and their habitats in the Gulf of Mexico.
This is the second round of funds made available by the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, which supports research and its application in the Gulf of Mexico to promote the long-term sustainability of the Gulf's ecosystem and fisheries.
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EPA HQ Releases National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits Program Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Online Course. EPA has developed a web-based course that will provide an easy to use, inexpensive way for EPA regions and states to train staff, including permit writers, on implementing WET under EPA's NPDES permits program regulations and the Clean Water Act.
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On May 31, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it will initiate planning with the State of California to establish an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to examine opportunities for offshore renewable energy development along the Golden State. California Governor Jerry Brown requested formation of the task force in a May 12 letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The announcement was made during a BOEM-sponsored Offshore Wind Roundtable that brought together representatives from foreign governments, state policymakers, experts in offshore wind, and members of industry to share information on offshore wind development.
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In the News
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New findings
show that approximately 95 percent of the coral colonies at Jarvis Island in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument have died following a massive coral bleaching event. Intense El NiƱo causes waters to become extremely warm, resulting in coral bleaching.

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The  Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (MidA RPB) thanks everyone who participated in the in-person  public meeting and workshop-style public engagement session on March 22-24, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Both events were open to the public and included a number of opportunities for public comment. The  MidA RPB meeting summary is now posted on the  MidA RPB website . The  slide presentation that was discussed during the meeting and the  updated timeline are also posted on the website.

Leading the nation, New Englanders, on May 25, issued a draft Northeast Ocean Plan, an historic, new approach to shaping management decisions regarding ocean resources in the region. The Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB), formed of representatives from the six New England states, federally recognized tribes, federal agencies and the New England Fishery Management Council, led the four-year, ocean planning process with input from thousands of marine stakeholders and produced the draft plan. The plan is now open for a 60-day public comment period through July 25. 
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On Wednesday (May 26), the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed a Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) that included a new pilot program to beneficially use sediment dredged from navigation channels to restore shorelines, beaches, and wetlands. The Senate WRDA (S.2848), which passed in committee in April, also included a provision on beneficial use of dredged material (section 2017).
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In the States and Regions 
East Coast 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy of Maryland/DC have announced the completion of a Coastal Resiliency Assessment on existing natural features that protect coastal residential communities in the state. The study identified areas that reduce the risk of coastal hazards, and determined priority areas for coastal conservation and restoration activities. "Our coastal areas host very dynamic and ever-changing landscapes that require innovative tools, technologies and services to address weather-related challenges, such as sea-level rise," Chesapeake and Coastal Service Director Matthew Fleming said.
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Greg Berman is a scientist at the Woods Hole Sea Grant who studies coastline erosion. "The areas that are eroding seem to be accelerating," he said. He estimates 80 percent of the Massachusetts coast is eroding. Berman blames it on a combination of more major storms and the infrastructure build up. "The beaches aren't really healing themselves.  They don't have enough time in between storms to truly heal themselves," he added. A report by the state's Coastal Erosion Commission in 2015 identified Yarmouth with the fastest rate of beach erosion in the state, at 8.7 feet per year.
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An expansive bed of underwater grass at the mouth of the Susquehanna River has proven it is able to "take a licking and keep on ticking." A recent study has found that the submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) bed at Susquehanna Flats, which only recently made a comeback in the Chesapeake Bay, was not only able to survive a barrage of rough storms and flooding, but it has proven a natural ability to protect and maintain itself.
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Gulf Coast 

A public/private partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and a trio of conservation groups plans to sink $1 million in private donations and 500 specially designed concrete pyramids into the state-controlled water of the Gulf of Mexico in the initial phase of what will be the state's largest, most ambitious artificial reef project.
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In a metamorphosis, New Orleans - once overwhelmed by failed levees and Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters - is moving to become a national model of how an urban center can embrace green tactics to tame water. The city is recalibrating its century-old system of drainage canals and massive pumps by installing green infrastructure projects, potentially on an unprecedented scale for an American city.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 

Port of Seattle has launched a public comment period on the proposed redevelopments to its marine cargo facilities at Terminal 5.
The port is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project which includes berth deepening, dock strengthening, and power upgrades to handle larger cranes. "The Northwest Seaport Alliance needs to make Terminal 5 'Big Ship Ready' to remain competitive in today's global economy," said Connie Bacon, the Northwest Seaport Alliance's (NWSA) co-chair and Port of Tacoma commission president.
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The state Office of Planning (OP) in partnership with the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) announces major upgrades to the state's geographic information system (GIS). The upgrades take advantage of current advances in server-based GIS and cloud services, and improve data sharing, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. "It's an exciting time for GIS in Hawaii state government," said OP Director Leo R. Asuncion. "The ultimate goal is to make it easier for all state employees, contractors and the public to use, make and share geospatial data, maps and applications on any device at any time."
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Great Lakes

Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor made a special visit to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin - in early May - to learn more about the importance of the federally protected Horicon Marsh and the neighboring state lands and waters. "Horicon Marsh is a conservation success story, with state, federal and grassroots, citizen organizations coming together to protect this ecological centerpiece," said Deputy Secretary Connor. "The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped to ensure important sites across Wisconsin, like Horicon Marsh, Lake Geneva and Oak Creek, are preserved for the enjoyment of future generations. It is critical that the Land and Water Conservation Fund be permanently reauthorized to build on these efforts."

Announcements & More   

Webinar - Blue Carbon in Practice: Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment Results.

The webinar will cover results of the recently completed Tampa Bay Blue Carbon Assessment, which analyzed the past and future climate mitigation potential of habitat restoration in Tampa Bay. Learn how blue carbon data and models can enhance management and restoration efforts.
The study includes:
  • Carbon storage and sequestration in Tampa Bay habitats;
  • Impacts of land use change, including sea-level rise and management actions, on carbon in the estuary; and
  • How blue carbon ecosystem services can inform management decisions and provide additional incentives to support conservation and restoration and adaptive management.
For more information and to register:  

Blue Carbon Study Supports Tampa Bay Habitat Restoration and Resiliency Planning  
A study, led by Restore America's Estuaries in partnership with several leading conservation agencies and organizations including Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Tampa Bay Watch, reinforces the importance of restoring coastal habitats in Tampa Bay and around the nation to buffer the effects of rising seas and a changing climate.
For more highlights read the press release, or access the report online at

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: International Coral Reef Symposium - Key Outcomes 
Date & Time: July 14, 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.   


June 19 - 24, 2016

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.