Bi-Weekly Report 
August 25, 2015

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At the Agencies

On August 10,  NOAA issued a proposed rule to protect marine mammals in international fisheries which would require U.S. trading partners to take measures to limit the incidental killing or serious injury of marine mammals due to fishing activities if they want to export seafood to the United States. 

The National Coastal Condition Assessment (NCCA) is one of four surveys conducted by EPA in partnership with states and other federal agencies. During the summer of 2015, crews are collecting water, sediment and fish tissue samples from more than 1000 randomly sites in estuaries and along the Great Lake shoreline.  This information will be used by EPA and its partners to develop a report on the status and trends of the nation's coastal waters. EPA is finishing up a report from the NCCA 2010 as well as reports on lakes, rivers/streams and wetlands as part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys. 

Over its lifetime, EPA's Clean Water State Revolving Fund has provided more than $105 billion of financing for water infrastructure projects. This state-federal partnership program has provided almost 35,000 loans for communities of all kinds nationwide. Now the CWSRF has a new website covering all facets of the program. For example, the site includes information on types of projects eligible for funding, types of financial assistance offered, and data on the program's environmental benefits and lifetime accomplishments. Parties seeking funding can use the site to link to their state CWSRF program.

In the News

As the United States' coastal population surges, it is battening down the hatches, building seawalls, bulkheads, and breakwaters to protect people from rising seas and ever-stronger storms. The result: 14 percent of the nation's tidal shoreline has been "hardened." By the end of the century, a third of the coast could be armored if the trend continues.
But new research finds that wetlands, marshes, and other natural barriers are more effective than concrete at protecting coasts. 

Scientists designed a new, on-site method for studying potential impacts rising sea levels can have on vital wetlands, said a University of Alabama researcher who led a study publishing Aug. 17 describing the modifiable apparatuses.
Primarily using materials available at the local hardware store, the scientists, including UA's Dr. Julia Cherry, designed, constructed and tested low-cost enclosures, called weirs, to realistically simulate three flooding levels on coastal wetlands. Simulating impacts of sea level rise on-site and at larger scales had previously proven difficult.

In the States and Regions 
East Coast 
Last October, on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the city released a progress report on repair work that it hopes will brace the five boroughs against future hurricanes of similar magnitude. At the time, 4.15 million cubic yards of sand had been added to beaches across the city, and 26,000 linear feet of dunes had been packed on Staten Island. 10,500 linear feet of bulkhead repairs had been made city-wide, and the city had set aside $400 million to build armored levees along Staten Island's Midland Beach and the East Shore.
Learn more

Experts say that more than half of Connecticut's 88 sewage plants may be at "high risk" for flooding because of the increasing likelihood of major climate-change-related storms and rising sea levels.  The danger is that stormwater could inundate the plants, damage electrical systems and other vital controls and result in raw or partially treated sewage being released into streams, rivers and Long Island Sound.

Gulf Coast  
Throughout the last 10 years, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel have dedicated their lives to rebuilding the storm and hurricane protection system in New Orleans, Col. Richard Hansen said. "They've taken it very seriously. They saw what happened during [Hurricane] Katrina. They heard criticisms about the Corps of Engineers. They took that very personally and they made a promise to themselves and to the agency that it wasn't going to happen again," said Hansen, who has been the New Orleans District commander for nearly three years.   
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A tentative list of projects that would be funded by $7.2 billion in BP oil spill fine and settlement money, including wetland-building sediment diversions from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, marsh creation projects using sediment moved by pipeline from rivers and the Gulf of Mexico, and the rebuilding of nine barrier islands and four coastal ridges, was announced by Louisiana officials on Wednesday (Aug. 19).

West Coast and Pacific Islands 
The U.S. Geological Survey and Oregon State University released a report the second week of August, examining Pacific Northwest tidal wetland vulnerability to sea level rise.Scientists found that, while vulnerability varies from marsh to marsh, most wetlands would likely be resilient to rising sea levels over the next 50-70 years. Beyond that time, however, most wetlands might convert to intertidal mudflats as sea level rise outpaces the capacity of tidal marshes to adapt. 

Great Lakes 
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) have awarded $5.7 million to be used for Great Lakes restoration through the Sustain Our Great Lakes program, including $950,000 to The Winous Point Marsh Conservancy to restore 175 acres of coastal wetland in Sandusky Bay. The Conservancy has also put forward $1,500,000 in matching funds to pay for the project.

Please join the   National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office  for a two day exploration of Maritime Cultural Landscapes in Madison, Wisconsin. The symposium will explore how the terrestrial and submerged resources near and in the nation's oceans, rivers, and lakes might be identified, characterized, and evaluated, and what benefits may be derived from the broader recognition of these landscapes as unique entities "worthy of preservation." Come hear presentations by subject experts and join in the discussions on how agencies, tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and State Historic Preservation Offices might use the MCL concept to more effectively preserve and protect their maritime heritage resources.
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2015

Title: Maps and Datasets for Blue Carbon Habitats
Date & Time: Thu, September 10, 1pm - 2pm
Title: Inspire Ocean and Climate Literacy and Conservation through MPAs
Date & Time: Thu, October 8, 1pm - 2pm

Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at:

Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.  

Wed, Aug 26, 2015 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
A major challenge for coastal communities is planning for the impacts of current and future flood hazards. This webinar will highlight two resources that NOAA's Office for Coastal Management has developed to facilitate resilience planning in coastal communities. The first step in planning for flood impacts is to understand a community's exposure to coastal flood hazards. The Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper helps communities get the conversation started about flood hazard risks and vulnerabilities by providing maps and information showing where people, places, and natural resources are at risk from flooding. The mapper displays shallow coastal flooding, flood zones, storm surge, sea level rise, and a composite view of flood hazards, along with societal, infrastructure, and ecosystem information. The next step in planning is to identify and prioritize strategies that address climate and hazard risks. Coastal green infrastructure is an emerging approach that communities are using to reduce the impacts of coastal hazards. With limited budgets for projects like green infrastructure, communities must prioritize natural areas that give the most benefits. The Green Infrastructure Mapping Guide is an interactive online resource to help spatial analysts who are tasked with using GIS to prioritize green infrastructure to reduce hazard impacts and aid in climate adaptation. Webinar co-sponsored by and the EBM Tools Network. 

Upcoming Workshops 

Blue Carbon: A Management Tool for the Conservation and Restoration of Coastal Wetlands. 
Who should attend? Those interested in coastal conservation and restoration, including natural resource managers, land owners, land trusts, municipalities, policy makers, planners, real estate professionals, attorneys and financial advisors, academia, and federal, state and local officials. 
Participants will:
*    Learn the basics of Blue Carbon and its potential applications to increase the value of coastal wetland conservation and restoration;
*    Increase their capacity and understanding to incorporate greenhouse gas functions into resource management; and
*    Assess opportunities and constraints for implementing Blue Carbon projects in their region.

ASBPA - Dune Management Challenges on Developed Coasts
The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association is hosting the subject workshop in Kitty Hawk, NC, Oct 26-28, 2015.
To learn more please see here: .


September 6 - 9, 2015
September 9 - 11, 2015
September 28 - Oct 1, 2015
October 5 - 9, 2015
October 6, 2015
October 14-16, 2015 
**In advance of the meeting, ASBPA is distributing a survey to regional, state, and local coastal managers to determine perspectives and challenges in coastal sand dune management. Please click here to participate. 

October 14 - 15, 2015
October 26 - 28, 2015
November 8 -12, 2015


The Voice of the Coastal States and Territories on Ocean, Coastal & Great Lakes Affairs