At the Agencies
The 2017 hurricane season is fast approaching, and NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of events, including tours aboard a hurricane hunter aircraft to help communities in Mexico and the Caribbean prepare for the season and weather the coming storms.
On March 10, 2017, the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) posted four unsolicited applications for wind project leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. PNE Wind U.S.A., Inc. has filed three lease applications, two for
and one for
offshore New York
. Separately, Statoil Wind US LLC filed a lease application for
In the News
Former NOAA Chief Scientist Warns of Threats to Science -
Rick Spinrad frets about threats to science from the current administration's attitudes and budget priorities but remains hopeful that things can be turned around.
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new, more detailed plan for laying off 25 percent of its employees and scrapping 56 programs including pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In the States and Regions
A reservoir system would be built south of Lake Okeechobee to stop toxic algae discharges from fouling coastal communities under a bill that Florida senators sent to the House Wednesday following extensive debate.
The Senate voted for the bill (SB 10) 36-3, giving a victory to Senate President Joe Negron who has made it a priority during the Legislative session.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Rob Bradley, said the project is designed to avoid a repeat outbreak like the one last summer when "guacamole-water" saturated beach communities in Florida, threatening tourism, and the health of residents and marine life.
For people who live, work on, or visit the beautiful shores of the Massachusetts coast, climate change poses significant threats. Our beaches and dunes, homes and infrastructure, and public safety and coastal economies are at risk from increased flooding, erosion, and storm damage. In recognition of these immediate challenges, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 569, which establishes an integrated climate change strategy. Earth Day is the perfect time to highlight how the Baker-Polito Administration is working in partnership with coastal communities to combat climate change - and the City of Salem is an excellent example of an active partner in this effort.
A bank of senators cast a line of hope to supporters of the Louisiana Sea Grant last week. Twenty-three
and two Republicans -- including Louisiana Sen.
-- endorsed the 50-year-old national version of that research program, which focuses on the ecology and economy of Louisiana's coast.
An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform seven years ago released crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, the largest spill in U.S. history. A
new National Wildlife Federation report
outlines priorities for the $16 billion fund to restore coastal areas of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Most of the money is from civil and criminal penalties paid by BP and other owners of the platform. Amanda Fuller, deputy director and Texas policy specialist for the federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program, said the goal now is to do restoration projects that get the most results for those dollars.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is pleased to announce a new partnership with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) to invest in projects that support a healthy and productive Gulf of Mexico. The oil and natural gas producer is the newest member of the Alliance's Gulf Star Program. The company chose the Alliance as a significant way to invest in science-based solutions to challenges facing the Gulf community. Anadarko's approach to social investment is about more than writing a check, as the company seeks to collaborate with organizations to serve the needs of the region.
West Coast and Pacific Islands
Few commissions spent as much time in the spotlight last year as the California Coastal Commission. Between internal turmoil and a potential sea-change in federal offshore drilling policy, new Executive Director Jack Ainsworth has been busy. Ainsworth was named the interim Director last year, and watched the interim title disappear in February. TPR sat down with Ainsworth, who name came to the Coastal Commission in 1989, about his vision for protecting and enhancing California's coast and ocean for present and future generations. Ainsworth provides insights on the recent California Supreme Court decision on Newport Beach Banning Ranch, his new commissioners, and the potential impact of a Trump effort to weaken the Coastal Zone Management Act.
Public Participation Grant
program seeks to increase public awareness and involvement in toxic cleanup projects and other environmental work. Grants for the program go to citizens and nonprofits to increase public outreach around contamination and environmental issues. The Washington Department of Ecology, which oversees the program, awarded $3.5 million in Public Participation Grants in the 2013-15 budget cycle.
Ecology is now updating the regulations that govern the program. Ecology's proposed updates to the grant program seek to increase support for projects focused on disadvantaged communities that may be disproportionately impacted by toxic contamination and cleanup work. The proposed updates would also streamline the grant application process and standardize evaluations for grant proposals.
Ecology is seeking public comments on the proposed changes through May 22. A public meeting, including an overview of the changes and a hearing for public comment, will be held May 15 in Lacey and online via a webinar.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell has appointed Joshua W. Stanbro to be Honolulu's first Chief Resilience Officer. Stanbro will lead city and county-wide resilience building efforts to help O'ahu prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from the 'shocks' - catastrophic events like hurricanes, fires, and floods - and 'stresses' - slow-moving disasters like water shortages, homelessness, and unemployment, which are increasingly part of 21
st century life. As Chief Resilience Officer, Stanbro will serve as part of Mayor Caldwell's cabinet and oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for the city. He will also lead the new Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency, created by voters who approved a charter amendment in November 2016.
April is Environmental Awareness Month!
The right of Commonwealth residents to live in a clean and healthy environment is actually embodied in the CNMI Constitution. Article 1 declares that: "Each person has the right to a clean and healthy public environment in all areas, including the land, air, and water." That point was made last Tuesday (March 28) when Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Victor Hocog signed a proclamation designating April as Environmental Awareness Month. Torres and Hocog signed the proclamation in the presence of staff members of the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.
April 22 has also been designated as CNMI Earth Day.
Our freshwater lakes are getting saltier - and one of the largest studies ever of lake salinity blames the use of de-icying salts for roads.
That could eventually mean disruption of aquatic ecosystems, and even make lakes unusable for drinking water or irrigation, the researchers say.
The study of North American lakes predicts that many freshwater lakes will have salt levels exceeding parameters set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, above which significant risks would be expected for a majority of species - "in the next 50 years if current trends continue."
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.
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
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:
Seminars are posted in Eastern Time and subject to changes without notice; please check the web page for the latest seminar updates.
Events & Webinars
May 8, 2017
May 9 - 11, 2017
May 16 -18, 2017
May 31- June 2, 2017
June 13 -15, 2017
June 25 -28, 2017