At the Agencies

The nation's ocean and Great Lakes economy grew at nearly three times the U.S. as a whole from the pre-recession levels of 2007, fueling growth across the country, according to a new NOAA report. The report, U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy, 2014, from NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, looks at data from the years 2005 to 2014, the most up-to-date data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Census Bureau. However, researchers began their analysis by looking at economic statistics from 2007, the last normal year before the recession, as their starting point to gauge post-recession recovery. "Our communities rely heavily on the ocean and Great Lakes for tourism, jobs, businesses, transportation and recreation," said W. Russell Callender, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the  National Ocean Service. "NOAA's National Ocean Service is committed to providing science-based tools and solutions to support the continued growth of the nation's coastal communities and economies."
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EPA is releasing a request for applications (RFA) from eligible entities to administer a sub-award grant program to support goals of the Southeast New England Program for coastal watershed restoration. EPA expects the total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity will be up to $5 million for FY2017, and up to $12 million over three years pending federal appropriations. The Southeast New England Program (SNEP) serves as a collaborative framework for advancing ecosystem resiliency, protecting and restoring water quality, habitat, and ecosystem function, and developing and applying innovative policy, science, and technology to environmental management in southeast coastal New England. Objectives under these goals include improving water quality to reduce the impact of nutrients on water quality and aquatic life; restoring physical processes that support critical habitat and ecosystem function; and aligning restoration and management efforts on a regional scale to achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency.
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In the News
 
A research team has developed a new global coral bleaching database that could help scientists predict future bleaching events. The new database contains 79 percent more reports than previous, widely used voluntary databases.
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Floating offshore windfarms have come to be seen as the 'next wave' in the development of offshore wind energy. Several demonstration projects, a number of which are highlighted, are getting underway, but despite the many potential advantages of floaters, there remain numerous challenges to overcome.
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In the States and Regions 
 
East Coast 

The Pensacola Bay Living Shoreline Project has been awarded more than $217,000 in RESTORE grant funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. According to a statement from Escambia County, the funds will be used to support the first phase of planning, engineering, design and permitting of the environmental restoration project.
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The New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (District) is preparing plans and specifications for construction of the Phase II, Contract 4 components of the Port Monmouth Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project in Middletown Township, NJ.
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Gulf Coast 

The Upper Yazoo Projects that could include a decades-old proposal for a pumping station designed to prevent flooding along the Yazoo River in the South Mississippi Delta apparently will have to wait a while longer. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials confirmed that President Trump's executive budget contained no funding for the Upper Yazoo Project or UYP, the last of the Mississippi River and Tributaries flood control measures, during a hearing held by the Mississippi River Commission in Greenville, Miss.
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Gov. John Bel Edwards on Wednesday (April 19) officially declared Louisiana's coastal land loss an emergency, a move he hopes will expedite a host of restoration projects mired in federal permitting. "The Louisiana coast is in a state of crisis that demands immediate and urgent action to avert further damage to one of our most vital resources," he said.
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West Coast and Pacific Islands 
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $1,296,939 to the Guam Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA) to strengthen its capacity to protect human health and the environment. The work done by GEPA includes ensuring clean beaches and safe drinking water, cleaning up formerly contaminated areas for productive use, issuing permits, and inspections and enforcement. This funding is US EPA's initial award to GEPA in 2017 and additional funding will be provided later this year.
"Guam Environmental Protection Agency has been a great partner in environmental protection," said Alexis Strauss, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "We are pleased to support its programs committed to achieving a better environment for the residents of Guam."
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Great Lakes

Environmental groups and the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, citing the agency's failure to declare whether or not Lake Erie's waters are "impaired."
The groups say the U.S. EPA has failed to do its job and make a decision on the matter. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to order the EPA to make a ruling.
Declaring Lake Erie is "impaired" because of the lake's annual harmful algal bloom problem would require Lake Erie states, such as Ohio and Michigan, to join with the federal government to put an action plan in place under the Clean Water Act to address the problem.
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Recent reports that the U.S. EPA's Region 5 office, which is based in Chicago and includes Ohio among other Great Lake states, will be shut down has alarmed members of Ohio's Congressional delegation and other representatives of the five states of the Great Lakes region. On Tuesday, (April 25)  Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, joined Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and a coalition of Democratic senators and house members in delivering a letter to EPA Director Scott Pruitt expressing their concern over the proposal, and demanding he not relocate Region 5's 1,500 employees to the Region 7 office in Lenexa, Kansas.
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Announcements & More  

The Nature Conservancy announces a new program. The  Naturally Resilient Communities  which highlights nature-based solutions that communities can employ to reduce flooding and realize other benefits. This partnership features a suite of case studies that showcase real, on-the-ground success stories.
Read more to learn more about the power of nature to reduce flood risk. 

OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2017  
 
Title: He'eia National Estuarine Research Reserve
Date & Time: May 11, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

Title: Coral Reefs and People in a High-CO2 World: Where Can Science Make a Difference to People?
Date & Time: May 18, 2017 - 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET
 
Title: A Coastal Conservation Leadership Program in Washington State
Date & Time: June 8, 2017 - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET
 
 
Seminars are open to the public. For remote access, location, abstracts and more, visit the OneNOAA Science Seminar Calendar at:   http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/ 
Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.   

 

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

 

The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.