CSO Newsletter

The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.

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Spotlight on Coastal Management:

A Tidal Wetland Restoration of Epic Proportions

A photograph showing Construction of tidal restoration enhancements at Salt Pond A19. There is salt marsh vegetation in the foreground with interspersed waterways and marshland fading into industry and mountains in the distance.

Image Credit: Dave Halsing

Water may be life, but without salt, the human body cannot retain its benefits. And for thousands of years, a stretch of coastline south of San Francisco has been a vital source of salt.

The South Bay Salt Ponds, as they’re now known, were once thousands of acres of thriving tidal marsh, which formed a natural barrier against regional flooding and provided an important stopover site for migratory birds and habitat for estuary-dwelling flora and fauna. The Ohlone peoples historically harvested salt from the area’s natural deposits, a resource later exploited first by German immigrant John Johnson in the mid-1800s and then by salt-harvesting companies including Cargill, which still operates in the area.

Today, saltwater evaporation ponds sprawl across the area, forming a man-made waterscape that resembles an artist’s palette — courtesy of saline-loving microorganisms that give each pond its richly saturated hue. And thanks to a massive, 50-year restoration project, these ponds are now in the process of being reverted to wetlands.

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSPRP) aims to reclaim over 15,000 acres of shoreline from 150 years of commercial salt production and return it to tidal wetland and other habitats for local and migratory birds, endangered endemic species and other wildlife.

A collaboration between multiple government agencies and nonprofits, scientific researchers, project managers and earthworks engineers, the project has officially been underway since 2003, and it will be finished long after many of its originators have passed on.

But their initial goals — creating and maintaining essential habitats, reestablishing buffers against climate-change induced sea-level rise and regional flooding, and creating more spaces for public recreation — are all well underway. After a century and a half of use as a privatized corporate resource, turning this terrain back into a natural ecosystem benefits all its inhabitants, human and non-.

What with their 50-year timeframe, the leaders of the restoration project are taking a holistic, long-term approach, recognizing that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to a project of such scale and magnitude. Theirs is a strategy of “adaptive management,” which the project website defines as “treating our actions as scientific experiments, and changing what we do based on the lessons that we have learned.”

“It’s just learning, and applying what you learn,” Dave Halsing, the executive project manager, puts it. “People used to think that we could just create the exact system we wanted in nature,” but “these are complex systems with a lot of uncertainty and a lot of variability, and humans have short memories so we don’t always get things right.” So the idea, he explains, is to “do things in a risk-averse, fairly conservative way … track it, and make adjustments as we go.” Read more here.

From CSO

Honoring Our Stories of Habitats and Healing: Stories of Great Lakes Restoration

Here are some stories and and art that emerged as we worked on habitat restoration in the Great Lakes. A special thanks to our story tellers and artists for sharing these rich and evocative stories to unlock new narratives that center our hearts, bodies, and minds. These stories lead us on a journey to decolonize our work in habitat and conservation. We hope that they spark new ways of thinking, learning, and unlearning for you as you read the stories and soak in the gorgeous art-based representations of each story. Learn more here. And if you're attending the National Adaptation Forum, stop by our exhibit booth for free art prints and to learn more about CSO's work in the Great Lakes.

A digital drawing of two people standing in a flowing creek, on the banks are blueberries, wild roses and sweet grass with a loon is flying overhead. There is a dark purple background with the words "mino-bimaadiziwin" at the top in white text.
“‘Lake Superior’ is my mino-bimaadiziwin or ‘good life.’ The history of this place is much longer than the textbooks tell. As a small child, I used to walk the shores, tributaries and estuaries with my Grandpa. He would tell me stories of our relationship to the water. We would walk by the shipyards and coal docks. He would talk about the extraction happening. He knew the generations would be impacted.
As Native People, our lifeways rely on the water, the fish, the animals that inhabit those areas, and the plant medicines that grow along the water; blueberries, wild roses and sweet grass. Water is life, and we especially need our waters to be healthy. Now as an elder, my work is to bring this education to the younger generation, to tell the old and new stories of our connection, and what is possible.”

Mark McConnell - Descendant of Chief Osaugie and Fond du Lac Band Elder, Lake Superior

Artist: Lauren Boritzke Smith

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

New York Says it is Not Moving Forward with Three Offshore Wind Farms

New York State on Friday stalled three major offshore wind-energy projects after General Electric Vernova, changed the turbine design, which the state said "materially altered" the plans. New York provisionally approved the projects in October 2023. They are Attentive Energy One being developed by TotalEnergies, Rise Light & Power and Corio Generation; Community Offshore Wind, which is backed by RWE, and National Grid Ventures; and Vineyard Offshore's Excelsior Wind. But since then, GE Vernova decided to move from its 18 megawatt Haliade-X turbine platform to a smaller turbine. This caused "technical and commercial complexities" for the developers, the New York State Research and Development Authority said in a statement that announced it would not sign final contracts. "Given these developments, no final awards will be made," NYSRDA said, adding it will "look to advance a future competitive solicitation." The problem is the latest hit to U.S. offshore wind energy development, which is an important component of climate plans by President Joe Biden and numerous U.S. states. Supply chain problems and rising interest rates over the past year have forced project cancellations and billions of dollars in writedowns by major developers. Vineyard Offshore spokesperson Andrew Doba said the developer planned to continue to bid on new projects. Read more here.

Wetlands Project Strives to Prevent Flooding, Restore Wildlife in South Baltimore

A project to restore 10 acres of the Hanover Street Wetlands broke ground — or marsh — on Friday. It’s part of the Middle Branch Resiliency Initiative Wetland Restoration Project, which eventually seeks to restore 11 miles and 50 acres of wetlands across the Middle Branch area, including around Brooklyn, Cherry Hill, Westport and the Baltimore Peninsula. It’s the largest coastal restoration project in the state. “We are bringing nature back to neighborhoods from whom it was taken away and protecting those same neighborhoods from storms, flooding and erosion,” said Brad Rogers, the executive director of the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. Multiple speakers at a Friday kickoff event noted waterfront investment in Baltimore City has historically happened around the Inner Harbor and much less in southern neighborhoods. The wetlands, just behind where Rogers stood, were filled with litter. Pollution and flooding are major problems for the communities around Middle Branch. For instance, Rogers has spoken before about how flooding at MedStar Harbor Hospital can block one entryway into the hospital and renders the helipad unusable. The new wetlands would act like a sponge and absorb water, protecting the land from erosion and coastal flooding. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

City of South Padre Island, TX Celebrates Beach Access Opening

The City of South Padre Island hosted a grand opening for Beach Access #5, Sea Island Circle, on April 17, 2024, and is the first significant access improvement project to incorporate modern amenities and sustain an ecological dune habitat pathway. According to a press release distributed by the city, they worked with LJA Engineering on the design and construction, which Bryant Industrial Services completed. The Coastal Management Program (CMP) manages the construction funding allotted for project development. Kristina Boburka, the Shoreline Director, said, “The Shoreline department is grateful for the opportunities that CMP has created to help further improve beach access along the Texas coast,” and continued, “Our department is excited to unveil the new access improvements that will help serve our community and visitors.” Read more here.

New Orleans Likes to Drink. They Spotted a Huge Recycling Opportunity

[...] In Louisiana, where wetlands have been vanishing at an average rate of a football field every 100 minutes, the state needs millions of cubic meters of material to rebuild its coast. Yet upriver dredging and damming of the Mississippi River keeps sediment that could otherwise be used for wetland restoration in faraway states, too expensive to ship. Glass Half Full’s operations are still small, and its coastal restoration work is still largely in the research stage. But its founders say that pulverizing bottles in New Orleans and using the sand for local projects could help lessen the environmental damage and expense of dredging and shipping, while at the same time diverting glass from landfills. It’s a win, win, win proposition, Ms. Trautmann and Mr. Steitz say. [...] The group hadn’t fully researched whether pulverized glass could be used to restore wetlands, but still forged ahead and announced its fund-raising plan on social media, where it caught fire.

The project was scrappy and driven by a do-it-yourself ethos. They couldn’t afford trash cans, let alone recycling bins with wheels, so Ms. Trautmann found cheap, used 55-gallon barrels that they placed, with permission, at a few churches, a pizza shop and in Mr. Steitz’s front yard. [...] Their early batches went into sandbags for flooding, which they doled out for a suggested donation of $5 apiece. A local terrazzo maker wanted crushed blue glass, so they began sorting their bottles by color and selling to local landscapers. They also sell glass sand and gravel on their website. Read more here.

Great Lakes

Federal Funds to Help Restore Lake Superior Sandbar

Preservation of rare coastal dunes and old-growth pines will be central to restoration plans for the western end of Wisconsin Point, the Lake Superior sandbar in Superior, Wis., that for centuries has played an integral role for area Anishinaabe. The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve were awarded nearly $350,000 to create a vision and plan for the restoration and care of nearly 11 acres of land reclaimed by the band officially in 2017, after a lengthy federal transfer process. The western end of Gibiskising Minis, Ojibwe for "land bridge," is separated from Duluth's Park Point by a shipping canal.The people of Fond du Lac traveled to the point for centuries for seasonal use, but many lived, fished and gathered there, until villagers were forced off the land by U.S. Steel in the early 1900s. The point is also part of the Anishinaabe's westward movement along Lake Superior, settling where wild rice grows. [...] The plan will likely be minimalist, aiming to protect Lake Superior dunes through removal and consolidation of roads and pathways and through other resiliency efforts. Those dunes are part of a rare ecosystem. Atlantic Ocean beach grass grows around them, their existence here being the farthest inland from the ocean, since the Duluth-Superior port is the westernmost point in the Great Lakes, said Deanna Erickson, director of the Superior-based reserve, part of the UW-Madison Extension division. Plans will also likely include restoration of native vegetation, including junipers, scrub bushes and bearberries, and potentially planned fires — a culturally important forest management practice — to sustain blueberry bushes and other plants used by the band. Read more here.

New Report: Vast Majority of Great Lakes Litter is Plastic

Eighty six percent of litter collected on Great Lakes beaches is composed either partially or fully of plastic, according to a new report released by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. The report is based on 20 years of data collected from more than 14,000 Adopt-a-Beach cleanups on all five Great Lakes. The new analysis details the most common types of plastic items found on Great Lakes shorelines and outlines potential solutions to reduce plastic pollution. In the environment, plastics never go away. Instead, they break down into toxic microplastic particles that make their way into the Great Lakes, a source of drinking water for 40 million people. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

Hawai'i Says it's Safe to Surf and Swim in Lahaina's Coastal Waters After Wildfire

Hawaii authorities say coastal waters off the wildfire-stricken town of Lahaina pose no significant risk to human health and it's safe to surf and swim there. The state Department of Health announced the decision Thursday after reviewing water sampling test results collected by groups including University of Hawaii researchers, the Surfrider Foundation and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Authorities are continuing to limit access to some coastal areas off the Maui town's burn zone as the cleanup from the Aug. 8 wildfire continues, and recreation won't be allowed in these places. Officials have been telling residents and visitors to limit their exposure to waters off Lahaina ever since the deadly fire destroyed the historic town. They've also told people to avoid eating fish from Lahaina's waters. The department's announcement didn't address the safety of eating fish and other marine species. Read more here.

Modeling Wave Dynamics to Assess Coastal Erosion Threats Along Alaska's Arctic Coast

In a recently published study, scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS), University of California Santa Cruz, and Deltares employed advanced numerical wave modeling techniques to assess threats posed by wave-driven erosion and flooding along Alaska's Arctic coast. Alaska's Arctic coast is rapidly eroding, primarily driven by permafrost thaw and escalating wave energy. Sea ice cover—which buffers coastlines from waves—is diminishing due to climate change, leaving the Arctic coast increasingly vulnerable to erosion and other coastal hazards. One challenge to assessing these threats is the dearth of long-term observational wave data along Alaska's Arctic coastline, hindering effective planning and mitigation efforts by engineers, scientists, and planners. To bridge this gap, researchers turned to numerical wave modeling techniques to hindcast past conditions. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

May 12-16, 2024

May 13-14, 2024

May 14 or 16, 2024

May 15-17, 2024

June 4, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

October 6-10, 2024

October 7-9, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series

NOAA Digital Coast Training Calendar


[NEW] USACE Releases Memorandum on Nature-Based Solutions

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael L. Connor signed a memorandum providing additional guidance and direction to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on incorporating nature-based solutions – a critical tool to confront climate change while promoting community resilience – in the Civil Works program. Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore naturally functioning or modified ecosystems to address societal challenges, while simultaneously providing benefits for people and the environment. The memorandum recognizes the progress that the Corps is making in developing and using nature-based solutions in Civil Works projects and provides additional guidance and direction to continue this trend to incorporate them where appropriate. As recognized in the memorandum, data gaps and challenges in implementing nature-based solutions remain, and the Corps is encouraged to pursue further research and analysis to address them. The intent of the memorandum is to expand the use of nature-based solutions by identifying challenges and possible solutions for implementing NBS. The memorandum applies to all Civil Works programs and missions except the Regulatory Program. A copy of the memorandum can be found here. Read more here.

[NEW] Call for Authors & Input Open for Sixth National Climate Assessment

On May 2, 2024, NOAA and the U.S. Global Change Research Program released a draft prospectus for the Sixth National Climate Assessment and requested technical input, authors, and contributors. Comments, nominations, and technical inputs from the public will be accepted electronically via the USGCRP Public Contribution System by Friday June 7, 2024. Lead authors will be selected in summer 2024 and the public comment process for draft chapters will begin in Fall 2026 toward final publication in late 2027. The most recent assessment, NCA5, was issued in November 2023.


[NEW] BOEM Issues Five-Year Offshore Wind Leasing Schedule

On April 24, 2024, BOEM announced a new five-year offshore wind leasing schedule, which includes up to 12 potential offshore wind energy lease sales through 2028. The leasing schedule includes four potential offshore lease sales in 2024, one each in 2025 and 2026, two in 2027, and four in 2028 across the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and the waters offshore of the U.S. territories.

[NEW] NOAA Releases "Economics: National Ocean Watch for the U.S. Territories"

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will release the Economics: National Ocean Watch for the U.S. Territories. These new data will be added to the existing ENOW Explorer tool, and will be available for download. The ENOW data set features time-series data focused on the six economic sectors that are dependent on the oceans and Great Lakes, including living resources, offshore mineral extraction, marine construction, ship and boat building, marine transportation, and tourism and recreation. ENOW is produced by NOAA in partnership with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau. The territories have not historically been included in this dataset because the source datasets that ENOW uses from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Census Bureau do not gather this information for the U.S. territories at a fine enough scale to generate data on the territories’ marine economies. However, over the past three years, NOAA has worked with the U.S. Census Bureau and territory statistical offices to use existing datasets in new ways and in some cases to gather this data for the first time. Additional information is available at coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/data/enow.html

[NEW] Great Lakes Commission Issues RFP with Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program

The Great Lakes Commission(GLC) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a new opportunity associated with the GLC’s longstanding Great Lakes Sediment and Nutrient Reduction Program(GLSNRP) grant program. This pilot program will support conservation districts in deploying the Agricultural Conservation Planning Framework (ACPF). ACPF is a free ArcGIS toolbox designed to help local farming communities address their soil and water conservation needs using high resolution geo-spatial data. Applicants are invited to submit proposals describing how funding will help to facilitate project planning for precision sediment and nutrient pollution reduction. The due date for applications is Friday June 14, 2024 at 5:00pm ET. Funding decisions are anticipated by August 2024 for selected projects to begin work no later than October 1, 2024. Application information and materials are available through the GLSNRP webpage. A webinar for applicants will be offered on May 17 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern to discuss the application process and provide information on the ACPF. To register for the webinar visit https://bit.ly/acpfwebinar. A recording of the webinar will also be posted to the webpage for those unable to attend the live session.

[NEW] U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Oil Spill Center of Expertise Released FY25 Funding Opportunity for both Non-Federal and Federal Applicants

The U.S. Coast Guard Great Lakes Oil Spill Center of Expertise has released a FY25 Funding Opportunity for both Non-Federal and Federal applicants. The submission period closes on Thursday June 6, 2024 at 12:00pm ET. For Non-Federal Partners, please follow the instructions on SAM.gov. For Federal Partners: click on the GLCOE website. Any questions regarding the Funding Opportunity must be submitted to SMB-GreatLakesCOE@uscg.mil by Wednesday May 22nd at 12:00pm ET.

[NEW] Spanish Translation of the Fifth National Climate Assessment Now Available

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) announced the availability of all chapters of the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) in Spanish. This marks the first time that the entire National Climate Assessment has been translated into Spanish, greatly broadening the reach and accessibility of the U.S. government’s premier resource for communicating climate change risks, impacts, and solutions. The translation was made possible by support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). PDFs of each chapter can be accessed on the NCA5 website, and a Spanish-language webinar on their findings of the Caribbean chapter is also available. In addition, on Tuesday May 14, 2024, 3-4pm ET, USGCRP is hosting a Spanish-language webinar to share about the NCA5 Spanish translation and to share opportunities to participate in the Sixth National Climate Assessment (NCA6). Register here to attend La Evaluación Nacional del Clima: Resumen de Resultados y Oportunidades Para Participar.

[NEW] Urban Ocean Lab Publishes Policy Memo on Climate-Driven Relocation in Coastal Cities

Last week, Urban Ocean Lab released "Climate-Driven Relocation for Coastal Cities: Principles and Recommendations". The report gives an overview of climate-driven relocation in the US to date; challenges to effective climate-driven relocation; principles for more comprehensive and just relocation; and what coastal cities can do now. Read the report here.

[NEW] Great Lakes, Great Read Shared-Reading Initiative Announces Book Selections

As part of Earth Day commemorations, the Wisconsin Water Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, supported by Wisconsin Sea Grant, and the Wisconsin Library Association announced the books selected for a basin-wide shared-reading experience, Great Lakes, Great Read. “The Water Walker” by Joanne Robertson is the children’s selection and the adult selection is “The Best Part of Us” by Sally Cole-Misch. “The Water Walker” is the story of a determined Ojibwe grandmother, a “nokomis,” named Josephine Mandamin who walks to raise awareness of the need to protect “nibi” (water). Robertson wrote and illustrated the book, which was published in 2017. Published in 2020, Sally Cole-Misch’s award-winning novel, “The Best Part of Us”, explores a family’s ties to an island in the Canadian waters of an inland lake just north of Lake Huron—how those ties are tested both through natural processes and family dynamics. Learn more here.

White House Announces Nearly $830 Million in Grants to Make Transportation Infrastructure More Resilient to Climate Change

The Biden-Harris Administration announced nearly $830 million in grant awards for 80 projects nationwide that will help states and local communities save taxpayers money while strengthening surface-transportation systems and making them more resilient to extreme weather events worsened by the climate crisis, flooding, sea-level rise, heat waves, and other disasters. These grants are the first of their kind dedicated to transportation infrastructure resilience and were made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program, which complements PROTECT Formula funding that is already flowing to states for these types of projects. The full list of grant recipients is available here: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/protect/discretionary/grant_recipients/

White House Releases Wetland and Water Protection Resource Guide

The White House Council on Environmental Quality released a Wetland and Water Protection Resource Guide for Tribes, States, Territories, local governments, private land owners, and non-governmental organizations to advance water resource protection. The Resource Guide highlights technical assistance and funding opportunities available across the federal government.

FEMA Releases Recording of Latest From Policy to Action Webinar

A recording of the Partnerships in Planning for Coastal Resilience webinar is now available on FEMA’s Youtube channel. Coastal areas across the country are highly vulnerable to natural disasters, which have become more frequent and severe. Through partnerships, communities can leverage new resources to help address their unique coastal hazard risks. This webinar discusses how FEMA’s updated state and local mitigation planning policies support the need to plan for coastal hazards. It shows how efforts at both the state and local level are growing partnerships to drive coastal action. Watch the recording to hear how the state of Washington works across departments to support communities in moving from plans to projects. You’ll also learn how a diverse team of community partners is working together to identify mitigation projects in Crisfield, Maryland. Watch the recording and other webinars in the From Policy to Action webinar series on FEMA’s YouTube!

VIMS Survey on Pathways to Ocean Science Careers

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is collecting survey responses for their "Pathways to Ocean Science Careers" study. For the purpose of this study, they are including the sub-disciplines of estuary, coastal, great lakes, and marine science under the umbrella term Ocean Science. Additionally, they define "ocean science career" as any work related to oceans, estuaries, the coastal zone or great lakes regions, and our definition is not exclusive to academia. They seek survey respondents from industry, government, and non-profits as well. Take the survey here.

NOAA's Annual Coastal Management in Action Photo Contest

From ensuring public access to balancing development with natural areas, coastal management keeps our coasts thriving. For the eighth annual coastal management photo contest, NOAA's Office for Coastal Management wants to see your photos of coastal management in action. Show off 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 eighth Coastal Management photo contest. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be featured on the NOAA Digital Coast social media accounts during the month of May. Submit your photos by Friday May 3, 2024.

Job Openings

In The States

[NEW] California Coastal Conservancy - Project Support Analyst

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

[NEW] NOAA, National Ocean Service, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries - Research Ecologist

[NEW] NOAA, National Ocean Service, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries - Research Archeologist

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Habitat Conservation - Program & Policy Analyst

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] South Atlantic Fishery Management Council - Inflation Reduction Act and Climate Response Projects Coordinator

[NEW] San Francisco Estuary Institute - Associate Environmental Scientist

[NEW] University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences - Project Coordinator Alaska Coastal Cooperative

The Aspen Institute - Digital Communications and External Affairs Senior Associate (Ocean & Climate)

Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center - Post Doctoral Research Scholar (Climate Justice)

The Nature Conservancy - North Carolina, Freshwater Applied Scientist

The Nature Conservancy - North Carolina, Coastal Applied Scientist

National Wildlife Federation - Senior Manager, Coastal Resilience

Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program - Project Coordinator

New England Aquarium - Senior Policy Advisor

Pew - Senior Associate, Ocean Governance

Deep South Environmental Law Center - HBCU Environmental Justice & Climate Corps Internship

Job Boards

Office for Coastal Management State Programs

Sea Grant Careers Page


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

If you have a news item or job posting to include in future CSO Newsletters, please send an email to: atomson@coastalstates.org with a subject line: "Newsletter Content". Please include the information to be considered in the body of the email.

Please note: CSO reserves final decision regarding published newsletter content and may not use all information submitted.

Coastal States Organization | 50 F Street. NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC 20001 | 202-508-3860 | cso@coastalstates.org | www.coastalstates.org
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