Special Edition 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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CSO Welcomes Biden-Harris Administration Announcement of $123 million for Coastal Habitat Restoration

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree speaking at Wells Reserve

Image Credit: Wells Reserve at Laudholm

Funding will support state coastal zone management and National Estuarian Research Reserve System efforts to increase community resilience to climate change and extreme weather events, restore habitat and advancing conservation.


On Monday, in Scarborough Maine, the Biden Administration announced $123 million for state and territory coastal management programs and national estuarine research reserves to improve coastal resilience via habitat restoration and conservation.


These funds, provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, build on the important work done by states and territories over the last 50 years to manage our nation’s coastal areas and conserve and conduct long-term research to better understand the function of our estuaries.


These funds include:

$59.8 million in competitively selected awards for state and territory coastal zone management programs to support 22 projects. Communities in IL, WI, FL, DE, MD, VA, NJ, RI, MA, ME, HI, SC, GA, OR, CA, and WA receive project funds ranging from $330,000 to $6 million. Work includes:

  • Planning for marsh migration and restoration, with improved public access to coastal resources in Maine.
  • Conservation of 1,900 acres of forest along a river basin to support climate resilience, improve water quality, and increase public access, in coordination with Tribes in Virginia.
  • Reconnecting a river with its historic floodplain habitat to benefit federally threatened species, while creating river-floodplain system that can manage a changing climate in California.
  • Dune restoration to buffer against storm surge and sea level rise, while supporting traditional Native Hawaiian cultural practices in Hawaii.
  • 18 other projects to restore and conserve coastal habitat and enhance coastal resilience.


$15 million in competitively selected awards for national estuarine research reserves for eight projects. Reserves in WI, TX, AL, ME, HI, SC, and WA will receive funding from $350,000 to $3.5 million. Work includes:

  • Community-informed plan to restore 10.9 acres of Ojibwe homelands on Lake Superior through restore sand dunes, pine forests, medicinal plants, and cultural relationships in Wisconsin
  • Restoration of 11.5 acres of oyster reef that provides shoreline and marsh habitat protection, and supports a broad diversity of species in Texas


Leveraging $48 million in non-competitive funding to the 34 state and territorial coastal management programs and 30 national estuarine research reserves.


“Thirty coastal restoration and conservation projects, in states from Maine to Hawaii, will help coastal communities better withstand impacts of climate change, improve coastal habitat, and expand public access to coastal resources. State and territory coastal zone management programs, with funding from NOAA, are working to ensure communities are prepared for the changes to their coastlines that will be happening faster than anytime in human history,” said Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of Coastal States Organization. “The coastal funding through from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act is historic, but it’s also a drop in the bucket of what is needed. Ultimately, nearly every community along a coastline will need significant investments to prepare for climate change; NOAA and Congress must support states to address these challenges by providing even greater and sustained funding.”


“The Commerce Department and entire Biden-Harris Administration are committed to ensuring coastal communities across the country have the resources they need to combat climate change,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Through this investment, made possible thanks to President Biden’s commitment to investing in America, we will be able to protect critical resources for coastal habitat restoration, create new jobs, and boost resilience to extreme weather events across our coastal communities.”


“These transformational projects will not only bolster community resilience, but also ensure that innovations are fairly and broadly accessible,” said Jainey K. Bavishi, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “This significant increase in resources from NOAA will be essential in helping to build local infrastructure that is climate resilient, while providing essential benefits to businesses.”


As states and territories face increasing challenges from climate change, extreme weather events and other coastal hazards, investments in coastal resilience, like those announced today, are critically important. These projects to restore, conserve and enhance coastal ecosystems, will help to reduce impacts of flooding, erosion, and other hazards, helping to protect communities, homes, and businesses. They also have added benefits, such as protecting wildlife, increasing access to the outdoors and coastal resources, and improving water quality. While these investments are an exciting and important step towards building coastal resilience, long-term, sustainable support for coastal management throughout the United States remains more necessary than ever.


Visit NOAA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act websites to learn about current and future funding opportunities.

Habitat Protection and Restoration Awards

National Coastal Zone Management Program

Great Lakes

Illinois: Combined Hydrology, Water Quality, and Botanical Characterization to Guide Coastal Wetland Restoration and Management

This project will result in baseline data and analyses to inform future restoration of wetlands and beach plant communities within the Illinois Beach State Park. The project will also support enhanced educational opportunities for students and interns and updated interactive educational and recreational opportunities for park users.


Wisconsin: Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Valley Creek Corridor

This project will result in plans to restore the entire 1.8-mile Valley Creek urban riparian corridor, an important Lake Michigan coastal tributary. The City of Port Washington and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program will partner to develop 90 percent design plans that include nature-based solutions to prevent degradation, protect critical infrastructure, reduce flooding risk, and restore riparian, floodplain, and estuary habitat.


Wisconsin: Gile Flowage Land Conservation Project

This project will acquire 1,055 acres of undeveloped property in Iron County, Wisconsin, to provide long-term conservation of critical habitat in Lake Superior’s coastal zone. The acquisition will add to a contiguous block of county-owned land that is managed for conservation values, including habitat corridors, climate resilience, and public access. The project will support underserved and tribal communities by ensuring permanent public accessibility to the land and protecting treaty rights usage by the Lac du Flambeau and Bad River Indian reservations.

Southeast

Florida: Manatee River Corridor Acquisition

This land purchase will protect and conserve 68 acres of native coastal habitat in perpetuity. The Crooked River Ranch property is one of the few large undeveloped parcels along the Manatee River, and will contribute significantly to creating a connected wildlife corridor and enhancing climate resilience and water quality in an area under intense pressure from development.


Georgia: Lanier Boulevard Flood Resiliency through Acquisition Project

These funds will be used to acquire property along Lanier Boulevard in Brunswick, Georgia. Under imminent threat of development, conservation of this property will be integral to safeguarding this vulnerable community from the compounded effects of coastal flooding, high tide flooding, sea level rise, and stormwater runoff.


South Carolina: Little River Neck and Waites Island—Merrill Boyce Tracts

This project will preserve a total of 107 acres of pristine coastal habitat in Horry County, South Carolina. This collaborative acquisition and conservation project will increase public access and recreational opportunities along the Little River Neck, Waites Island, and Marsh Island and create multi-state habitat connectivity along the South Carolina and North Carolina border.

Mid-Atlantic

Delaware: Southbridge East Habitat Restoration Planning Project

This planning project will produce designs for the restoration and enhancement of 12.7 acres of degraded wetland habitat along the Christina River in the Southbridge community. Implementation of these designs will help the community reduce flooding, enhance resiliency, accomplish ecological restoration, improve water quality in the Christina River, and create recreational opportunities for its residents and visitors.


Maryland: Popes Creek Waterfront Park Living Shoreline Design

This investment will fund the design of a living shoreline along the Potomac River where it meets Popes Creek in Charles County, Maryland. The site, a former commercial restaurant, is currently being transformed into a nature-based public park in response to inclusive community input, but is subject to sea level rise, erosion, and storm impacts resulting from climate change. The project will result in plans to stabilize the shoreline with nature-based features, effectively demonstrating equitable climate resilience grounded in the connection between healthy biodiverse ecosystems and healthy human communities.


Virginia: Conservation and Restoration of Biodiverse Chowan Watershed to Provide Climate Resilience, Tribal Collaboration, and Public Access

This project will allow Virginia to acquire 1,900 acres of one of the largest unprotected blocks of contiguous forest in the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed region. The purchase will allow for the future restoration of climate-resilient forests in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, improve water quality in the Chowan River basin, provide an impetus for novel communication and collaboration with regional American Indian tribes, and create one of the region’s preeminent public access opportunities.


New Jersey: Restore Oyster Reef Habitat in the Mullica River-Great Bay Estuary through Expanded Atlantic City Shell Recycling Program

This project will expand the scale of New Jersey’s successful Atlantic City Shell Recycling and Oyster Reef Restoration Program. Funding will support increased shell material collection and expanded restoration efforts within the Mullica River-Great Bay estuary. This expansion will create additional resilience in the existing oyster reefs while increasing the footprint of the reef system by 10 acres through coordinated shell planting efforts. The project team will also collaborate with local schools in the region to develop academic programs that allow students to engage in habitat-related scientific work.

Northeast

Rhode Island: Increasing Resilience of Public Access, Passive Recreation, and Habitat on Winnapaug Pond

This project will preserve a five-acre coastal property containing salt marsh along an ecologically sensitive barrier peninsula in Westerly, Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council will partner with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Town of Westerly to protect this coastal wetland and marsh migration pathway and provide opportunities for the public to enjoy and recreate on Winnapaug Pond.


Massachusetts: Upper Bass River Coastal Habitat Restoration Project

This project will restore 57 acres of former cranberry bogs to a functioning wetland system in the Town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Restoration activities will include the partial removal of a dam, replacement of a concrete fishway with a natural channel, targeted removal of berms and flow control structures, and replacement of an undersized culvert. This project, in combination with other work in the watershed, will support restoration of over 160 acres of the Bass River ecosystem.


Massachusetts: Puritan Bog Coastal Wetland Restoration Project

This project will complete modeling, design, and permitting to restore 15 acres of coastal wetland at a retired cranberry bog in the Town of Bourne, Massachusetts. The project will lead to restored wetland structure and function, reestablished tidal exchange, and enhanced ecosystem and community resilience to climate change. Restoration designs will be achieved through a meaningful and iterative collaboration among technical team members, local community liaisons, and the public.


Maine: Planning for Resilient Restoration of Scarborough Marsh

This project will result in a pipeline of restoration and conservation projects that will repair legacy impacts, improve public access, and protect areas for marsh migration in Scarborough Marsh. Design plans developed through this award will incorporate best available science and best management practices to inform infrastructure investments and restoration and conservation efforts around the marsh.


Maine: Using Restored Tidal Flow to Combat Migratory Fish Decline and Increase Climate Resilience

These funds will be used to replace aging, undersized pipe culverts that restrict tidal flow with habitat-supportive spans designed in two Maine towns, using best practices and incorporating climate resilient features. Replacement of culverts at the Buttermilk Brook crossing in Brunswick and Corbett Brook crossing in Perry will improve salt marsh connectivity and resilience, providing critical habitat for commercially and culturally important fish species for the Passamaquoddy Tribe.

West Coast and Pacific

California: Rancho Cañada Floodplain Restoration Project

This project is focused on restoring a one-mile section of the Carmel River so that natural processes will reconnect the river with historic floodplain habitat and create a mosaic of self-sustaining riparian habitat types and instream complexity, benefitting the federally threatened South-Central California Coast steelhead and other species. The project will also restore and expand habitat for other diverse species, enhance multiple wildlife corridors, and create new opportunities for nature-based environmental education and recreation. The reconnected, lowered floodplains will create a self-sustaining, climate-resilient river system that can respond to a changing climate.


California: Elk River Estuary Restoration: Final Design, Permitting, and Construction

The Elk River Estuary Restoration Project is the initial implementation step of a decades-long, community-based program to resolve legacy sediment and water quality impairment issues from excessive timber harvest, while also providing regional resilience to sea level rise and large episodic storm events. The project is intended to improve hydrologic and sediment processes, water quality conditions, and aquatic and riparian habitat functions in Elk River, ultimately reducing nuisance flooding in rural residential properties and agricultural land in this economically disadvantaged community.


Hawai'i: Dune Restoration, Community Outreach, and Capacity-Building Project at Hanapēpē Salt Pond, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i

This project will plan and implement a dune restoration program at Hanapēpē Salt Pond to create an essential buffer against storm surge and sea level rise, and will protect the natural resources integral for the traditional and customary Native Hawaiian practice of saltmaking. Intended benefits include improved habitat for native flora and fauna due to a restored elevated dune system, a marine flooding buffer, enhanced public access, and increased beach health.


Oregon: Conserving Tidal Wetlands in the Coquille River

This project will protect 528 acres of tidal wetlands—a high priority ecosystem—along the Coquille River on Oregon’s southern coast. The property represents a previously common and contiguous habitat type that is now highly fragmented and rare in the Coquille River basin. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will purchase the property, incorporate it into their Coquille Valley Wildlife Area, and steward the land in perpetuity to protect, enhance, and restore it for the benefit of fish and wildlife; manage habitat consistent with their mission; provide public fish and wildlife-oriented recreation and education; and promote tribal access to traditional foods and resources.


Oregon: Conservation of Collins Creek Confluence and Ocean Shoreline

Through this project, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians will acquire a 42-acre beachfront property currently threatened by development. This property is located in an area of historic tribal villages and settlements within the tribe’s original reservation. It has a healthy, diverse community of native plants and features creeks that converge into wetlands that lead into the Pacific Ocean. The goal is to purchase and manage this property in perpetuity, primarily for its habitat, cultural, and climate resilience values, but also for tribal resource access and passive recreation for the tribe and the public. Protection of this property—one of the last great pieces of undeveloped oceanfront in the region—is a critical, urgent priority for meeting Oregon’s coastal resilience and conservation goals.


Washington: Owl Creek Habitat Restoration Project, Phase Two

This project will restore over a mile of Owl Creek and floodplain, significantly improving spawning and rearing habitats for salmonids. Restoration actions include large wood placement, floodplain reconnection, riparian planting, and invasive plant management. This project will create local job opportunities, support coastal communities and their resilience to climate change, and benefit spring/summer chinook, fall chinook, coho, steelhead, and resident trout species.


Washington: Integrated Resilience Strategy for the Padilla Bay Coastal Community

This project will advance a holistic vision for community climate adaptation and habitat restoration in Padilla Bay, Washington. It will advance the currently funded Samish restoration project in planning a design solution that delivers tidal marsh, tidal slough, and connectivity benefits while also improving road and dike infrastructure resilience through developing a numerical model for restoration design. A secondary goal builds on community discussion catalyzed by the current project to convene a broader resilience working group to address the sea level rise vulnerabilities of roads, dikes, agriculture, drainage, rural communities, and habitat along the eastern shore of Padilla Bay, the Samish River delta, and the southern and western shores of Samish Bay.

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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