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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Caribbean and Pacific Islands Receive Awards for Resilience Projects

A sunset over water with boaters (Image credit: Pixabay)

The Climate Program Office (CPO) announced 11 new two-year projects in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) that aim to identify and better understand evolving climate risks, vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity for islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific. The competitively selected projects total $3,140,372 in grants. These island resilience projects will help foster the integration of this knowledge into adaptation and resilience planning for these islands. 

Through the CPO Adaptation Sciences (AdSci) program FY23 competition, AdSci sought to support interdisciplinary and participatory research activities that address island-identified resilience needs; with an emphasis on projects that result in: (1) the co-production of contextually relevant and usable information about climate impacts, vulnerabilities and solutions; (2) the evaluation, identification and strengthening of the adaptive capacities of institutions, communities, sectors and islands; (3) and/or the integration of climate information in adaptation planning, action and long-term resilience strategies.

The Program received 27 proposals, and of these 11 projects were selected for funding, totaling $3,140,372.00 in grants. Read more about the projects selected here.

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

Florida Bans the Intentional Release of Balloons

To counteract [...] ocean pollution that affects key wildlife, Florida House lawmakers passed House Bill 321 in March 2024, which bans the intentional release of balloons, and classifies released balloons as litter. The Florida Senate passed the bill, which will go into effect July 1, 2024. Oceana's field campaign manager, Hunter Miller, highlights this success, stating, “It’s a great day for Florida’s coastlines and ocean wildlife. Oceana applauds the state legislature for passing House Bill 321 and Governor DeSantis for signing the bill into law. The new law bans the intentional release of balloons and is a bipartisan win for Florida’s key coastal economies.” Read more here.

EPA Makes a Splash with Award of $319,000 to Puerto Rico to Support Water Quality Monitoring at Beaches to Protect Public Health

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $319,00 in grant funding to help Puerto Rico ’s coastal communities protect the health of beachgoers. The funding will assist Puerto Rico in conducting water quality monitoring and public notification programs for their beaches. “This funding helps keep beaches and coastal waters clean so that people can have fun, relax and enjoy all the beauty that Puerto Rico coastlines have to offer,” said Lisa F. Garcia, Regional Administrator. “EPA funding is vital for successful beach monitoring and notification programs.” This funding was made available through the Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, where the EPA awards grants to eligible state, tribal, and territorial applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

NOAA Forecasts Above-Average Summer 'Dead Zone' in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA is forecasting an above-average summer “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico covering approximately 5,827 square miles — an area roughly the size of Connecticut. The dead zone, or hypoxic area, is an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life. It occurs every summer and is primarily a result of excess nutrient pollution from human activities in cities and farm areas throughout the Mississippi-Atchafalaya watershed. The average dead zone measurement is 5,205 square miles over the 37-year period of record. This annual forecast is a key metric that informs the collective efforts of the Interagency Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Task Force, which has set a long-term goal of reducing the dead zone to 1,900 square miles by 2035. NOAA’s hypoxia forecast models and USGS monitoring of nutrients and water discharge in rivers help to predict how hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico is linked to nutrients coming from throughout the Mississippi-Atchafalaya watershed. Read more here.

Researchers Discover Rare Sea Turtle Nesting Site in Louisiana

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles have made a surprise appearance on islands east of New Orleans. Surveys conducted on Louisiana offshore barrier islands have revealed nests by the [...] Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), which is considered endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Biologists know of only two other consistent nesting locations for this species, one in the northeastern Mexico state of Tamaulipas, and the other in Texas. This discovery suggests that Louisiana's Chandeleur Islands may represent a third site in the Gulf of Mexico where Kemp’s ridleys nest consistently. In the future [...] this discovery could turn into a very important conservation project for a critically endangered species. Read more here.

Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are Warming Ahead of the Start of Summer

The Great Lakes are warming up as the official start of summer nears and more people head to the beach. Summer heat waves, which temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s in much of the state for over this past week, may speed up the heating process. “It will help the Great Lakes warm up a bit … especially in the shallow areas, like along the nearshore, where everybody will swim in,” said Nathan Jeruzal, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Grand Rapids office. The Great Lakes usually take all summer to warm and won’t reach their peak temperature until late August before they start to cool again ahead of fall. Read more here.

Bill Supporting Great Lakes Advances

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced a bill reauthorizing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through 2031. The bill would increase annual funding levels from $475 million in 2026 to $500 million from 2027 through 2031. The bill next will be considered by the full Senate. Identical legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives. “The GLRI is the most significant investment ever made to restore and protect the Great Lakes and its watersheds, which continue to be threatened by invasive species, climate change and other stressors,” GLRI said in a statement. “It is making significant progress in restoring the ecosystems and economies of the region — and according to a study led by the GLC, every $1 spent is generating an estimated $3.35 in additional economic activity.” Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

NOAA Releases New Guide: Shellfish Aquaculture Permits in Washington

NOAA has released a new guide for Washingtonians interested in learning about the aquaculture permitting processes for growing oysters, mussels, clams, geoduck, or other shellfish commercially in Washington State. The guide was created with the support of NOAA partners and agencies including staff members and representatives from Tribes, shellfish farmers and operators, the Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Department of National Resources, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Read more here.

Nonprofit removes over 70,000 pounds of plastic trash from Midway Atoll shorelines

Papahanaumokuakea Marine Debris Project spent 19 days — from April 15 through May 3 — removing 70,080 pounds as part of their first of three marine debris cleanup missions from Midway Atoll. The plastic marine debris was found along 10.7 miles of shoreline within the Kuaihelani (Midway Atoll) area. Volunteers targeted removing entanglement and ingestion materials that are hazardous to local wildlife, including the Hawaiian monk seals, moli birds (Laysan Albatross), and the world’s most endangered duck species — the Laysan duck. By removing 35,100 pounds of derelict fishing nets (ghost nets), 32,930 pounds of fishing gear such as buoys and floats, and 2,050 pounds of abandoned derelict vessels, the team of 12 doubled their cleanup goal by more than half of their anticipated amount. PMDP’s efforts are another step towards a cleaner and greener state and hope to remove an additional 215,000 pounds of debris over their next two cleanup missions later this year. Read more here

Events & Webinars

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Wednesday, July 24, 2024

August 26-29, 2024

October 6-10, 2024

October 7-9, 2024

October 28-29, 2024

January 27-30, 2025

NOAA Science Seminar Series

NOAA Digital Coast Training Calendar


[NEW] Union of Concerned Scientists Releases New Coastal Resilience Report

Union of Concerned Scientists released a report titled “Looming Deadlines for Coastal Resilience: Rising Seas, Disruptive Tides, and Risks to Coastal Infrastructure”. The report, accompanying spreadsheets, and interactive map outline future sea-level rise and the associated risks for infrastructure in 2020, 2030, 2050, and 2100. Themes of affordable housing, science-based decision-making, and critical infrastructure impacts are also explored. 

[NEW] FEMA Requests Public Comments on Latest Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide

FEMA is requesting public comments on the latest Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG, Version 5), which focuses on plain language and increased eligibility for assistance. Comments should be submitted via regulations.gov by Monday, August 19, 2024. Reach out to Robert Pesapane, Director of the Public Assistance Division at fema-recovery-pa-policy@fema.dhs.gov with any questions. Read more here.

[NEW] FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation Plans, Demonstrates Leadership in Building Climate Resilience

The Biden-Harris Administration released updated Climate Adaptation Plans developed by more than 20 federal agencies that expand agency efforts to ensure their facilities, employees, resources, and operations are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts like extreme weather. This work advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Climate Resilience Framework, which helps to align climate resilience investments across the public and private sector through common principles and opportunities for action to build a climate-resilient nation. These efforts are backed by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, through which more than $50 billion is being delivered to advance climate adaptation and resilience across the nation, including in communities that are the most vulnerable to climate impacts. Read more here.

The National Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers (EJ TCATC) Launches Website

This newly established website facilitates direct support between communities pursuing environmental and climate justice and resources tailored to meet their specific needs. Key features of the website include detailed program descriptions, regional contact forms for technical assistance centers spanning all areas of the United States, and a curated grant search database. These elements will collectively ensure that communities have the necessary tools to advance their environmental and climate justice endeavors effectively. Visit the website at ejtctac.org

NOAA Invites Public Comment on Draft Regional Ocean Partnership Designation Guidance

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) invites public comment on guidance on designating new regional ocean partnerships under the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (16 U.S.C. § 1468) (NDAA). The NDAA authorizes coastal states, Indian Tribes (including Alaska Native villages), and other entities to form new partnerships and to apply to NOAA as a regional ocean partnership. 

The designation guidance is proposed to address the membership, organization, and required elements of new partnerships. NOAA proposes to include the following information: introduction and background; instructions on submitting a new partnership application to NOAA; requirements for new regional ocean partnerships; and funding eligibility. The proposed designation guidance document and instructions for submitting comments may be found in the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted until Thursday, July 11 2024. Following the 30-day public comment period, NOAA will carefully consider comments before issuing the final regional ocean partnership designation guidance.

FEMA Streamlines Benefit-Cost Analysis

FEMA is streamlining Benefit-Cost Analysis in Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs and Public Assistance mitigation funding to facilitate access to make more communities resilient to natural hazards and the effects of climate change. The discount rate has been reduced from 7% to 3.1% so that Tribal Nations, territories, and local governments can more easily demonstrate cost-effectiveness for hazard mitigation projects. Full Benefit-Cost Analysis is also no longer required for Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program projects with a total cost of less than $1 million. Further, the pre-calculated benefit amounts for cost-effectiveness in hazard mitigation projects have been updated. You can read more here

Job Openings

In The States and Territories

[NEW] Lake Superior Reserve - Climate Resilience Specialist

[NEW] Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism - Planning Program Manager

In The Agencies

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS); Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) - Research Marine Biologist

[NEW] Department of the Interior, Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region, Office of Environmental Compliance - Ecologist (Marine)

[NEW] Department of the Interior, Office of Trust Services, Division of Environmental and Cultural Resources - Regional Climate Resilience Coordinator

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] NOAA - NOAA Fellowship Opportunity in Coral Reef Health and Restoration

[NEW] City of Sanibel - Conservation Officer

[NEW] The Nature Conservancy - Ocean Communications Associate Director

[NEW] Oceana - Illegal Fishing and Transparency Fellow

The National Audubon Society - Senior Manager, Coastal Resilience

Job Boards

Office for Coastal Management State Programs

Sea Grant Careers Page


TAMU Natural Resources Job Board

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: mpalmer@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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