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 Member from Puerto Rico Testifies in House Natural Resources Hearing
On October 15th, Ernesto Diaz, CSO Member and Director of the Puerto Rico Coastal Management Program and the Puerto Rico Coral Reef Conservation and Management Program, testified in a virtual hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. The topic of the hearing was Environmental Justice for Coastal Communities: Examining Inequities in Federal Grantmaking.

Ernesto spoke about the impacts of match requirements on accessing federal grants for territories, the need to invest in natural and nature-based infrastructure, and the impacts of cost-benefit analyses in federal grant making in determining which projects are funded.

He was joined on the witness panel by Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians, Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, Ph.D., MPH Assistant Professor of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College, Holly Bamford, Ph.D., Chief Conservation Officer at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Donna Jackson,
National Advisory Council Member of Project 21.

Watch the hearing here.
In the States and Regions
Gulf Coast
Engineers' Report Bolsters Miss. Pump Project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Friday published a draft of a new environmental impact statement that supports a proposal for massive pumps to drain floodwaters from parts of the rural Mississippi Delta — a reversal of a previous federal report that said the project would hurt wetlands. Read more

Turning Back The Tide Of Flooding
Flooding is the most disruptive natural hazard in the U.S. It’s also an issue of great significance in Texas, where the Gulf Coast region is home to 7 million people — a population greater than 35 of the U.S. states. The potential for another Hurricane Harvey-like disaster is ever-present. The hurricane’s catastrophic damage, spread across a 49-county area, ranged in the hundreds of billions of dollars; the damage was exacerbated by decades of development in low- lying coastal areas. The best response to flooding is a coordinated group of local, regional and national-scale, evidence-based solutions, said Galen Newman, an associate professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning and director of the Center for Housing and Urban Development. Read more
Great Lakes
Michigan EGLE awards 13 coastal management grants
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) today announced more than $1.1 million in coastal management grants to fund 13 projects and statewide initiatives. EGLE also has opened the application period for project proposals seeking funding in 2022. Among the projects funded in 2021 is the launch of the Coastal Leadership Academy. The Michigan Coastal Management Program (MCMP), in partnership with the Michigan Association of Planning, has earmarked $60,000 for a pilot initiative to bring together community leaders and stakeholders for a three-part workshop to develop Resilient Master Plans and propose regional solutions. Read more

Great Lakes Offshore Wind: Permitting and Contracting Considerations
As part of its October 15, 2020 Order regarding how New York State will reach the goal of 70 percent renewable energy consumption by 2030 under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”), the New York State Public Service Commission (“PSC”) – in a move that got little attention compared to the Commission’s higher profile Order provisions – authorized and directed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (“NYSERDA”) within 180 days to commence a feasibility study regarding “stakeholder outreach, analysis, and policy options” for offshore wind facilities in the Great Lakes. Read more
West Coast and Pacific
Community Collects Over 9,000 Pounds of Trash in Coastal Cleanup
Following the International Coastal Cleanup held in the CNMI on Saturday, September 19, the Division of Coastal Resources Management has been analyzing and inputting data for the top 10 items from the cleanup. “Although we are still in the process of inputting data, the trend seems to continue. Cigarette butts are the number one most collected debris in the CNMI, and number two worldwide,” said ICC coordinator for the CNMI Colleen Flores in an interview. Read more

Report Gives California an ‘A’ Grade for Coastal Protections
Most states are doing a mediocre job – and some even a poor one – of managing shorelines and preparing for sea-level rise, according to a new study by the Surfrider Foundation. California, on the other hand, is a “shining example” and has excelled in responding to changes along the coast, earning the only “A” grade in the nation — but the report found there are still areas that need improvement to preserve the state’s beaches for future generations. Read more
East Coast and Caribbean
Senate OK's Bill to Further Open Shoreline Access
V.I. lawmakers, in an effort to clarify and better enforce beach access in the territory, have advanced a bill that demonstrably opens shorelines to the public and does away with loopholes that have allowed property owners to continue restricting access. Bill 33-0108, which advanced 6-1 to the Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee last week, requires anyone who wishes to develop property along the shoreline to dedicate a portion of land for public access, and to ensure that that access is not “interfered with, limited, encroached or obstructed.” The bill attempts to strengthen the territory’s Open Shorelines Act, which mandates that all shorelines are open. Read more

New S.C. Law Creates Resilience Office to Address Flooding
After five years filled with unprecedented flooding, South Carolina has now established an office to marshal the state's efforts in stemming floodwaters and coordinating recovery and relief efforts. The act creates an Office of Resilience that will incorporate the current Disaster Recovery Office and handle funding for flood projects and federal disaster aid across the state. The office, led by a governor-appointed chief, will oversee a statewide plan addressing flood risks and mitigation efforts. Towns and counties will be required to fold resiliency measures into their comprehensive plans as well. Read more
Events & Webinars
2021 ASFPM Annual National Conference Call for Abstracts is Now Open
It's time to start pulling together the ASFPM 2021 program. Submit an abstract, or two, to share your flood mitigation story, tool or resource. The Call for Abstracts seeks a broad range of professionals to submit abstracts for 30-minute concurrent sessions and/or two- to four-hour workshops that address issues, problems and solutions associated with managing and communicating flood risk, making communities more resilient and protecting floodplain and fragile natural resources. Submissions are due October 31, 2020. Learn more and submit your abstracts here.

New Management Plan for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA and the state of Hawaii published an updated management plan for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The final management plan will guide the sanctuary to protect humpback whales and their marine habitat through conservation, research, education, and outreach. The updated Management Plan also includes a new section on incorporating Hawaiian cultural perspectives into the sanctuary’s programs. This Final Management Plan maintains the sanctuary’s original focus and will not change current sanctuary regulations or boundaries. Learn more and read the plan here

EPA Improves Public Access to Its Science
EPA has recently improved two online resources for accessing the science produced by EPA scientists and engineers. The resources are the Science Inventory, a searchable database of more than 80,000 EPA reports, publications, and presentations, and the Science Models and Research Tools (SMaRT) Search inventory of tools that provides scientific reports, journal articles, presentations and other science products. Learn more here.

EPA Awards Funding to Student Teams to Solve Environmental and Public Health Challenges
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $594,424 in funding for eight undergraduate and graduate student teams from colleges and universities across the country through EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant program. The eight teams are being awarded Phase II funding to develop their proposed solutions to pressing environmental problems including determining trace levels of lead in drinking water, controlling harmful algal blooms, and removing Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from wastewater effluent for reuse in agriculture. Learn more here.

NOAA Sea Grant & Ocean Acidification Program Funding Opportunity: Shellfish Aquaculture Partnerships
The National Sea Grant Office and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program are funding a joint competition to fund proposals that seek to establish, continue, and/or expand collaborations between researchers and the shellfish aquaculture industry. Specifically, applications to this competition should utilize new or existing research/industry partnerships to study how ocean and coastal acidification in combination with other stressors impacts shellfish aquaculture. Applications must include at least one researcher and one shellfish grower acting as co-Principal Investigators, and the proposed work must utilize a co-production of knowledge framework. Total funding for this competition includes up to $2,000,000 in federal funds to support 2-6 projects. Each project will be funded at the approximate level of $100,000 - $300,000 per year for 1-3 years. Learn more here.

The application period for FEMA’s fiscal year 2020 Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grants under the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) programs is now open. Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the FEMA Grants Outcomes (GO) system. All applications must be submitted no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 29, 2021. For FY20, a total of $660 million in funding is available for FMA and BRIC. Visit the FMA and BRIC web pages to find helpful resources.

NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship Applications Are Open!
Are you interested in a scholarship and paid summer internship with NOAA? Consider applying for the Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship or the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI) Undergraduate Scholarship. Applications are open from September 1, 2020, through February 1, 2021. Learn more here.

NOAA RESTORE Science Program Grants
The NOAA RESTORE Science Program is making approximately $2.5 million available for this competition to fund approximately 20 planning projects that will run for one year each. This competition will provide natural resource managers, researchers, and other stakeholders with funding to plan a research project that informs a specific management decision impacting natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico. A second competition for funding to execute and apply actionable science will follow this competition. These two competitions will be independent of one another. The deadline for applications is Dec. 15, 2020. See the full announcement here.
Job Openings
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: rkeylon@coastalstates.org with a subject line: "Newsletter Content". Please include the information to be considered in the body of the email.
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