At the Agencies
On March 15, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper today announced the proposal for the nation's Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. After receiving extensive public input and analyzing the best available scientific data, the
released today evaluates 13 potential lease sales in six planning areas - 10 potential sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three potential sales off the coast of Alaska. The Proposed Program does not schedule any lease sales in the Mid- and South Atlantic Program Area due to current market dynamics, strong local opposition and conflicts with competing commercial and military ocean uses.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced March 10 the availability of up to $260 million for partner proposals to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. The funding is being made available through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's Regional Conservation Partnership Program and applicants must be able to match the federal award with private or local funds.
EPA has issued new guidance that encourages states to use predictive tools to warn beachgoers about potential water quality issues. This guidance will help beach managers evaluate if a predictive tool would be an appropriate and cost-effective addition to their beach monitoring and notification programs in order to improve public health protection. The guidance provides a simple, straightforward approach on how to develop a predictive model for beach water quality. The guidance was shaped by the experiences of several beach managers and was pilot tested by the Texas Beach Watch program.
In the News
February shattered all-time monthly heat records, government agencies confirmed this week, inching global temperatures closer to the 2 degrees Celsius threshold at which some of climate change's effects will be beyond repair. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday - March 17 - that February was 1.21 degrees Celsius above the 20th-century average, making it the hottest month ever recorded since the agency began tracking data in 1880. It claims the title from December 2015, which previously set a record as the hottest month with temperatures 1.12 degrees above the 20th-century average.
As many as 13.1 million people living along U.S. coastlines could face flooding by the end of the century because of rising sea levels, according to a new study that warns that large numbers of Americans could be forced to relocate to higher ground. The estimated number of coastal dwellers affected by rising sea level is three times higher than previously projected, according to the study published Monday in the science journal Nature Climate Change. As many as 1 million California residents could be affected.
In the States and Regions
A mile-long stretch of road in Miami Beach that has become ground zero for South Florida's problems with sea-level rise could get a new seawall and an anti-flooding pump over the next two years. Miami Beach and the Florida Department of Transportation are working out an agreement to split the anticipated $25 million it will take to safeguard the low-lying stretch of Indian Creek Drive that was the center of media attention when last fall's king tides completely flooded the roadway. Images of tourists sloshing in several inches of water to get to their hotels became emblematic of the region's struggles with seasonal tides that have grown worse in recent years.
After two and a half years of study, the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission released its draft report for public comment at a special meeting with coastal area lawmakers at Brown's Lobster Pound. The draft report,
Preparing New Hampshire for Projected Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, and Extreme Precipitation
, summarizes New Hampshire's vulnerabilities to projected coastal flood hazards and puts forth recommendations to minimize risk and improve resilience.
West Coast and Pacific Islands
A continuous levee system consisting of three additional reaches would bring greater benefit to Brazoria County than enhancing the current flood protection system, according to a new report on hurricane protection options.The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, a six-county group designed to study hurricane protection options for the Texas coast, estimates 74.2 miles of levees would cost about $2.6 billion to construct and $12.9 million annually to operate and maintain for 50 years.
A continuous levee system consisting of three additional reaches would bring greater benefit to Brazoria County than enhancing the current flood protection system, according to a new report on hurricane protection options. The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District, a six-county group designed to study hurricane protection options for the Texas coast, estimates 74.2 miles of levees would cost about $2.6 billion to construct and $12.9 million annually to operate and maintain for 50 years.
San Francisco is looking to incorporate the threat of sea level rise into the dozens of major projects planned along the waterfront in the coming years.
The waterfront already grapples with coastal flooding and shoreline erosion, but such conditions will likely worsen as California coastal waters are expected to rise another 36 inches in the next century, according to projections from the National Research Council.
The Puget Sound Partnership released a list Friday of proposed restoration projects.
Of 398 proposals the agency received in December, 364 were selected as near term actions, meaning the partnership would like to see work started within the next two years. The projects could cost a combined $243 million.
Continuing its vital work to protect and improve water quality, the Fund for Lake Michigan has just awarded nearly $1.4 million in private grants aimed at improving beaches, reducing polluted runoff and restoring critical habitat in Wisconsin. The 26 different projects receiving money stretch from Kenosha to Marinette and range from restoration of Harrington Beach State Park north of Port Washington to helping advance one of the country's largest fish passage projects on the Menominee River.
Announcements & More
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has released final revised Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) maps for all CBRS units in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Wisconsin, the Great Lakes region of New York, 125 units in Florida, and 7 units in Louisiana. These maps became effective on March 14, 2016 with the publication of a notice in the Federal Register. The Service invited Federal, State, and local officials to review the draft maps for these areas and provide input during a 30-day stakeholder review period that closed on December 17, 2015. The updated maps were produced as part of an interagency "digital conversion" effort between the Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and they make any minor and technical modifications necessary to reflect changes in the size or location of the CBRS units as a result of natural forces. For additional information about this project, including the new official maps, please visit
The NOAA Restoration Center's Community-based Restoration Program just released a federal funding opportunity (FFO) for Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration grants.
The CRP FFO has been posted to
The deadline for applications is April 6, 2016.
Attend the world movie premiere of "Dispatches From The Gulf" on March 25th. The film investigates the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Featuring teams of scientists exploring the oil spill's effect on the Gulf of Mexico, their collective studies have become the largest coordinated oceanographic research endeavor in history.
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2016
Title: Ecosystems and Fishery Impacts of Rapid Warming in the Gulf of Maine
Date & Time: March 23, 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET
Title: Great Ships on the Great lakes
Date & Time: April13, 2016 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at:
Title: Engaging the Public in Marine Reserves and Protected Areas: The Oregon Marine Reserve Partnership
Date & Time: August 11, 2016 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.
April 2 - 5, 2016
April 12 - 13, 2016
April 13 -14, 2016
April 20 - 21, 2016
June 14 -17, 2016
June 19 - 24, 2016
December 10 -15, 2016