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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Scleractinian coral structures in Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

  Image Credit: Kevin Lino (NOAA)

Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

What do the 4th International Coral Bleaching event (which we’re currently in), hurricane recovery, and the US geopolitical confrontation with China have in common? Answer: the coastal zone management programs of the US Pacific Islands are dealing with all of them. The US territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands and the state of Hawaii are all managing corals that are at increasing risk of bleaching due to climate change. Guam is still recovering from Typhoon Mawar (which happened exactly one year ago). And the buildup of US military presence in the Pacific to counter threats from China is impacting coastal resources in all Pacific Island jurisdictions, but especially Guam where the US military already has a large presence.


As we honor Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, CSO is proud to celebrate the incredible work of our four Pacific Island members, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in all coastal management. With (for the territories) a smaller population and a smaller budget, these jurisdictions are managing many of the same issues states in the mainland face and have additional challenges because of their unique geography and political status. Their people are also culturally more connected to their coasts and the ocean than just about any other jurisdiction. In this month, as with every month, we encourage coastal managers to learn from their peers in these incredible coastal programs.

- Derek Brockbank, CSO Executive Director

In the Pacific

American Samoa

Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific

Leaders, organizations and experts from across the Pacific [...] gathered in Samoa [...] to look at ways to overcome climate change at the 4th Pacific Climate Change Conference.

Held at the National University of Samoa, it is guided by the theme, ‘Our Ocean, Our Home: Climate Resilience for a Blue Pacific’. The conference is jointly organized by the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.), the Pacific Climate Change Centre (P.C.C.C.) hosted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Director General of SPREP Sefanaia Nawadra said the PCCC was a platform to discuss and formulate concrete actions for the Pacific region to tackle climate change, as well as for SPREP to assist in building the resilience of our Pacific communities. Read more here.

Anthropogenic Nutrient Loading and Coral Health at Ofu, American Samoa

As a part of it's Coral Reef Project, the US Geological Survey (USGS) is investigating the impact of Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) on the Ofu coral reef environments of Ofu, American Samoa. This information is crucial for identifying nutrient sources, preventing further nutrient addition to the coral reefs, and informing future management decisions to protect endangered corals. To address this knowledge gap, scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Park Service (NPS) are assessing the impacts of SGD on Ofu's coral reefs using oceanographic, remote sensing, geophysical, and geochemical methods. Read more here.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide: A New Comprehensive Guide for the Commonwealth

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program [...] has released the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide. This Guide is the first published for the Pacific Region and aims to improve preparedness for responding to marine debris after typhoons and other disasters in the Commonwealth, such as Typhoon Mawar, which impacted the Commonwealth in late May with the most significant impacts on the island of Rota. It describes how all levels of government and other organizations work together after disasters to respond to marine debris [...] and identifies organization roles and responsibilities and includes an overview of permitting and compliance requirements that must be met before marine debris removal work begins. The Guide's development is a product of a collaborative process with local organizations and an unprecedented level of community participation. The accompanying Field Reference Guide includes the most pertinent information for quick reference in the field and during emergency response operations. Read more here.

NOAA Fisheries announces approval of a Marine Conservation Plan (MCP) for the Pacific Insular Area for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council developed five fishery ecosystem plans for fisheries in the Pacific Islands region, and has amended them, as necessary. The original plans are available from the council. In addition to the plans and amendments, the implementing regulations are subject to change. The Marine Conservation Plan (MCP) for the Pacific Insular Area for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is effective from December 8, 2023, through August 3, 2026. This MCP supersedes the one approved for the period August 4, 2023, through August 3, 2026 (88 FR 39831, June 20, 2023). Read more here.


Guam Community College (GCC) Bags $587K Grant to Educate Future Conservation Professionals

Guam Community College received notice from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of a $587,647 grant award, which will allow GCC to educate the next generation of conservation professionals. The award will fund a two-year planning period to establish a collaboration between GCC, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and Tåno, Tåsi Yan Todu, TTT. The collaboration is to design programs that develop a capable and competitive workforce to meet the growing needs of the region’s conservation organizations, with a focus on indigenous language, culture, and methodologies. GCC says, “The project addresses both the need for capacity and the inclusion of indigenous knowledge and people in conservation practices in the Mariana Islands. The program’s methodologies will be developed by consulting with indigenous knowledge holders and paired with interdisciplinary western scientific approaches.” Read more here.

'May the Forest Be with You, Always' Helps Promote this Year's Stewardship Week

The Northern and Southern Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Guam, partnered with the National Association of Conservation Districts to celebrate this year’s Stewardship Week, themed “May the Forest Be with You, Always.” [...] it recognizes the importance of forests in the protection of soil and water resources, preventing erosion, purifying contaminants, and nurturing healthy watersheds. These activities seek to promote the importance of soil and water conservation, with a special emphasis on forest health, including [...] workshops on conservation best management practices, a poster contest, and more. Read more here.


Video: Raising Pua, Raising Community

Hawai'i Sea Grant is celebrating the revitalization of ʻamaʻama (mullet) through efforts to raise pua ʻama (baby mullet) for stocking loko iʻa—traditional Hawaiian Fishponds. The program released a video exploring [...] the Waiʻanae High School Marine Science Learning Center, where students earn credits through hands-on training in aquaculture techniques and skills. They then visit the Waikalua loko iʻa in Kāneʻohe, with Herb Lee and Kai Fox, to learn about multi-trophic aquaculture and integrating modern aquaculture with traditional practices to grow a variety of organisms. The video concludes with a conversation with Hui Mālama Loko Iʻa Coordinator, Brenda Asuncion, to learn about why these efforts to raise pua across the pae ʻāīna are so important to building and restoring community. Watch the video here.

Video: Preserving Oʻahu Beaches - Coastal Zone Management in Hawaiʻi

The Hawai'i Department of Planning and Permitting has released a video on the coastal zone management of Oahu beaches. The video explores how natural and manmade features shape the beaches of the island. Specifically, they delve into how seawalls, sandbags, rock, and plants can maintain the shoreline. Watch the video here

Events & Webinars

June 4-6, 2024

June 4, 2024

June 4, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

August 26-29, 2024

October 6-10, 2024

October 7-9, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series

NOAA Digital Coast Training Calendar

From CSO

Reflections on the National Adaptation Forum (NAF)

The CSO team attended the National Adaptation Forum in St Paul MN two weeks ago. We wanted to share some of our takeaways from the convening: In the photo, CSO's Vidya Balasubramanyam takes part in a panel discussion at the National Adaptation Forum with art pieces: Honoring Our Stories of Habitats and Healing: Stories of Great Lakes Restoration. She lists key takeaways from the conference below:

Our Top Takeaways from NAF:

💧People have both moments of connection and disconnection (especially for those of us who have been marginalized from accessing the water) with the Great Lakes, and were generous enough to share their stories with us at our exhibit booth. We'll compile and share these stories with you all in future newsletters. In the meantime, you can check out some beautiful art based renderings of some of our friends' Great Lakes stories here.


🎨Art, storytelling, and embodied movement are how we can convene, commune, and explore our shared solidarities with climate adaptation especially in the context of climate justice. CSO staff led and facilitated sessions with other adaptation friends on climate displacement and relocation, the role of the arts in the adaptation field, and on healing our relationships with our habitats. All of our sessions included art and storytelling as the primary modality for us to engage and deepen our relationships with each other.


🎲The Mycelium Youth Network is doing truly transformational work in coastal stewardship by empowering their youth to explore coastal climate futures through gaming and play; specifically, through Dungeons and Dragons sessions. You can check out their work here.


🟩What might it mean to ink with intent? The Greenlining Institute has some fantastic resources to support the work that you do in partnership with communities. You can check out their building blocks for developing a Memorandum of Understanding here (downloads linked at the bottom).


🚸Want to walk the built environment in solidarity with those of us who experience disabilities? Check out this inclusive walk audit facilitator's guide to transform how your coastal community can go above and beyond to make neighborhoods a welcoming space where people experiencing disabilities can thrive, linked here.


➕Shout out to our amazing NOAA Coastal Management Fellows for their powerful and engaging poster where they solicited a new vision for the future of climate adaptive coastal management. We were invited to share our dreams and goals as we embark on new horizons for this field.


🫂 If you were at NAF, we invite you to send me a note (Email me at vbalasubramanyam@coastalstates.org) and share your biggest takeaway so that we can spread the learning throughout our network in the spirit of mutual and shared learning.

Best, Vidya Balasubramanyam

Research, Science, and Program Director

Coastal States Organization


[NEW] White House Announces: National Maritime Day May 22, 2024

President Biden proclaims May 22, 2024 as National Maritime Day, calling upon Americans to observe and to celebrate the United States Merchant Marine and maritime industry with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

[NEW] 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. 

[NEW] GAO Releases New Report on U.S. Territories: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Address Data Gaps

On May 9, 2024, GAO released a new report outlining gaps in federal data for the U.S. territories (American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). GAO found that even when territories are included in federal statistical products, there may be disparities in the timeliness and in the measurement of quality of territorial data relative to the rest of the United States. Several factors contribute to the data gaps, including that statistical products based on sampling of smaller jurisdictions have to sample much higher proportions of the population to achieve the same level of precision as sampling of larger populations. GAO recommended that OMB develop a governmentwide approach for agencies to use to address these data gaps.

[NEW] The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) Invites Manuscripts on “Extreme Coastal Events: Lessons Learned” for a Dedicated Issue of ASBPA’s journal Shore & Beach (S&B).

The dedicated issue (to be published in late 2024) invites papers on recent extreme coastal event observations, impact assessments, predictions, or simply valuable lessons learned from projects impacted by these extreme events. Submissions across broad range of topics are encouraged, with the hope that contributions will help develop an improved understanding of extreme events and storm impacts for improving the resilience of coastal communities. Please indicate your interest in submitting a manuscript and/or service as a reviewer via email to managing editor, Elizabeth Manus (mg_editor@asbpa.org) and special issue editors, Tiffany Roberts Briggs (briggst@fau.edu), Lindino Benedet (lbenedet@coastalprotectioneng.com), and Tim Kana (tkana@coastalscience.com). The deadline for submission is Saturday June 15, 2024. More submission information can be found here.

[NEW] Call for Abstracts for the 2024 Great Lakes Coastal Symposium Now Open. 

The 2024 Great Lakes Coastal Symposium will take place October 7-9, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Rochester, NY. The call for abstracts is now open, with range of topics welcomed, especially those pertinent to the Symposium's theme of Great Lakes, Greater Resilience: Conserving Coasts and Sustaining Communities. Proposals must be submitted through the online form and received no later than Monday, June 10, 2024. Click below to begin the submission process!

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.

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.

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.

Job Openings

In The States and Territories

San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) - Coastal Program Analyst(s) I,II,III

[NEW] USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources - Special Projects Coordinator

[NEW] Washington State Department of Ecology - Coastal Engineer

In The Agencies

[NEW] Department of the Interior, National Park Service- Biologist

[NEW] NOAA, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service - Physical Scientist

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service - Supervisory Natural Resource Management Specialist

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] Mid-Atlantic Regional Council - Marine Debris Fellowship in Microplastics

[NEW] MACAN (the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network - Fellowship

[NEW] University of Wisconsin Green Bay - NERR Tribal Engagement Convener

Ocean Conservancy - Manager, Board Relations

Oceania - Illegal Fishing and Transparency Fellow

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

National Wildlife Federation - Senior Manager, Coastal Resilience

Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program - Project Coordinator

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: 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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