At the Agencies   
 
USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly $32 million in 2018 to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore health forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico. Since 2014, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership Projects, which focus on areas where public grasslands and forests intersect with privately owned lands.


This year NRCS is accepting proposals that address the following 3 priority areas:
  • Grazing Lands: Helping livestock producers make grazing management decisions, encouraging prescribed burning as a grazing management practice, and improving access to conservation planning tools used for developing grazing management plans.
  • Organic Agriculture Systems: Helping organic producers develop innovative cropping and tillage systems, edge-of-field monitoring, crop rotations and intercropping systems.
  • Soil Health: Supporting both cropping and grazing systems, in a variety of climatic zones, that incorporate soil health management systems for addressing specific resource concerns like nutrients and availability. Evaluating multiple soil health assessment methods to assist in the development of new soil health indicators and thresholds.
 
There's also a 60-minute webinar for applicants to view anytime: https://usdanrcs.adobeconnect.com/ppovw62ojq33/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

 
NOAA
NOAA kicks off 2018 with massive supercomputer upgrade.  
NOAA's combined weather and climate supercomputing system will be among the 30 fastest in the world, with the ability to process 8 quadrillion calculations per second, when two Dell systems are added to the IBMs and Crays at data centers in Reston, Virginia, and Orlando, Florida, later this month.
 
EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $2.1 million in grants to protect and restore wetlands and streams across California. Supporting these aquatic resources can improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, flood protection, and recreational opportunities.

Announcing EPA's Water Quality Modeling Webinar: "EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM)"
EPA's Water Modeling Workgroup is hosting a series of webinars to help water quality professionals better understand surface water quality modeling and how models can be used to solve common problems that face water quality regulators. The webinars are focused on modeling as it applies to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), Standards, and Water Quality Permitting Programs, but they are applicable to a wide range of audiences. These two hour webinars cover everything from modeling basics (e.g., model setup and calibration) to applied water quality modeling of different pollutants.

This webinar, titled "EPA's Storm Water Management Model (SWMM)", is scheduled for Tuesday February 20th at 12pm Eastern.

Department of Transportation
Please see this link to resilience planning funding opportunities from the federal Highway Administration. FHWA anticipates funding five to eight pilots, with the FHWA share of the pilot projects ranging from $10,000 to a maximum of $250,000 each. There is a matching requirement of at least a 20% non-federal share (e.g. 80/20 federal/non-federal). A 50% non-federal share is preferred. In-kind contributions such as staffing can count towards the match requirement.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG) developed the draft National Mitigation Investment Strategy (Investment Strategy) per a request by the Government Accountability Office after Hurricane Sandy. The Investment Strategy is intended to provide a national approach to investments in mitigation activities and risk management across all levels of government and the private and non-profit sectors in order to reduce the nation's exposure to disaster losses. Additional information on the effort and the Investment Strategy can be found  here
 
The current draft of the Investment Strategy contains initial ideas about how to improve mitigation investment, focusing on themes such as improved collaboration across sectors, innovative financing, shared fiscal responsibility, increased data sharing, improved risk-informed communication, and a resilient built environment. The draft document, however, is just that - a draft - it offers only a starting point for arriving at a final, national strategy. It is intended to provoke feedback and input from diverse perspectives - we need your feedback to help make this a truly national strategy. A copy of the draft document and a fact sheet on the effort are attached.
 
Please review this draft and, based on your experience and expertise, provide feedback, any specific ideas, illustrations or examples that could add to or improve the recommendations, and thoughts on implementation. Comments can be submitted to the development team at  FEMA-NMIS@fema.dhs.gov .  
 
The MitFLG intends to finalize the Investment Strategy by the fall of 2018. In order to meet this ambitious timeline, comments are requested by March 11, 2018. 
In the News   

New Report Shows Mitigation Saves More.
The Study shows a savings of $15.5 billion from one year of building new construction beyond code requirements and $158 billion in savings from federally funded mitigation grant programs funded from 1993-2016. The Study was made possible with funding by several government and non-government sponsors. In addition to FEMA, others include U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), International Code Council (ICC), Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Read more 

Implementing nature based flood protection: principles and implementation guidance.   
Effective flood risk management is critical to protect people and their livelihoods from flooding and to limit future losses. Nature-based measures and their ability to address flood risk are receiving increasing attention.  

Supreme Court Ruling Could Boost Confusion on Waters Protection
Challenges to the controversial "Waters of the United States" rule should be heard by federal district, rather than appellate, courts, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a unanimous  decision.
The decision, issued on Jan. 22, adds a layer of uncertainty to the Obama-era rule, which has been stayed by a federal appeals court since 2015, but could now go into effect before the Trump administration has a chance to rescind and replace it, though that is unlikely.
Read more

Feds add $20M to fight against invasive Asian carp in the Great Lakes
The federal government is putting $20 million over the next five years into fighting the threat of invasive Asian carp in the Great Lakes.
The money will triple the size of the team researching the threat and allow the federal government to significantly increase its monitoring of the places around the lakes most at risk.
Read more
In the States and Regions 
 
East Coast  
 
The State of Maine is seeking proposals for
services as the lead hydrographer for the Maine Coastal Program's Mapping Initiative.
A copy of the RFP, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, can be obtained at:


Gulf Coast 

The Coastal Bend Bays; Estuaries Program recently expanded its property holdings, while announcing plans to restore wildlife habitat on its Nueces Delta Preserve. The land acquisition stems from donations from the Atlanta-based developer of Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas. The bays and estuaries program now owns a 17-acre tract that runs along Zahn Road on Mustang Island, and a 33-acre parcel on South Padre Island. Both barrier island properties include wetlands, tidal flats, coastal prairies, and dunes.
Read more

The Mississippi Senate is working on a plan to reserve oil spill settlement money for use on projects along the Gulf Coast. The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday passed Senate Bill 2186, sending it to the full Senate for a vote later. It would create the Gulf Coast Restoration Reserve Fund. BP is paying Mississippi $750 million over 17 years in economic damages payments because of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Coast lawmakers want the money reserved for projects in their part of the state, but some lawmakers further inland say the oil spill caused economic problems elsewhere, too.
Read more

West Coast and Pacific Islands 

State of Hawaii launches Ocean Resources Dashboard
The State's Open Performance website that provides access to public information has added an  Ocean Resources Management Plan Dashboard to facilitate transparency and knowledge.
The new ORMP Dashboard was created to provide a platform for ongoing information sharing. Data is available about an array of categories including appropriate coastal development, management of coastal hazards, watershed management and training, education and awareness. The website assesses progress in fulfilling ORMP's management priorities and goals by tracking 84 metrics, indicators of performance or progress.
Read more
 

Great Lakes

Leaders on the Senate Great Lakes Task Force sent a letter to OMB and the Army Corps of Engineers requesting funding for a Great Lakes coastal resiliency study in the president's FY2019 budget.

During the past 200 years, about half of Michigan's original wetlands have been drained and filled. Michigan DNR explains why the remaining habitat is a state treasure.
The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes has released the 2017 State of the Great Lakes Report. The report highlights the Great Lakes connection to Michigan's environment, economy, and culture. The annual State of the Great Lakes Report is produced by the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. It reflects on the past year, recognizes accomplishments in protecting and restoring water resources, and identifies obstacles to tackle to ensure healthy natural resources and communities. Some of the points in the 2017 report include the 40-year anniversary of Michigan's Coastal Program, a new Michigan Water School for elected officials and exciting potential applications for autonomous vessels in the Great Lakes for shipping and scientific data collection.
Announcements & More   
 
Coral Reef Task Force Meeting Announcement
 
The 39th U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting will be held in Washington D.C. from February 19th to the 23rd. The public Business Meeting will be held from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 22 at the Main Department of Interior Auditorium, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC, 20240. For more information, please click here .  
 
FEMA and Interagency Partners Release Draft National Mitigation Investment Strategy for Public Comment
 
For our nation to become more resilient, we must develop a more effective and efficient way to invest in mitigation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security tasked the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group (MitFLG) to develop a National Mitigation Investment Strategy (Investment Strategy). As of January 11, the public is encouraged to review the draft Investment Strategy and provide comment.The draft Investment Strategy makes a series of recommendations, organized by six desired outcomes which, if met, could result in a nation better equipped for, and less vulnerable to, natural hazards. The draft Investment Strategy provides a national approach to investments in mitigation activities and risk management across federal, state, local, and territorial and tribal government and the private and non-profit sectors.
 
Comments on the draft Investment Strategy will be accepted until March 11, 2018 either through email to fema-nmis@fema.dhs.gov or through the IdeaScale site at  https://fema.ideascale.com/a/ideas/recent/campaign-filter/byids/campaigns/60968.
 
To learn more about FEMA's commitment to the National Mitigation Investment Strategy and building a true culture of preparedness across all communities, read Investing in Mitigation to Build a More Resilient Nation at www.fema.gov/blog.
 
Webcast Announcement  
 
Please join a Webcast on the new Surface Water Toolbox developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Surface Water Toolbox is a user friendly, downloadable tool for water managers to estimate a wide variety of streamflow statistics.The tool can be downloaded from:
https://water.usgs.gov/osw/swtoolbox/    
 
DATE:February 8, 2018
Web Broadcast(Two-Hour Audio): 1:00PM-3:00PM (Eastern)
 
PRESENTERS:
  • Julia Kiang, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Brian Nickel, Water Protection Division, EPA Region 10
  • Jenny Molloy, Water Permits Division, EPA Office of Wastewater Management 
REGISTRATION: 
You must register in advance to attend this Webcast. Register at the Watershed Academy Webcast Website at: http://www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/watershed-academy-webcast-seminars.
The Watershed Academy is a focal point in EPA's Office of Water for providing training and information on implementing watershed approaches. The Academy self-paced training modules and webcast seminars provide current information from national experts across a broad range of watershed topics. For more information, please visit   www.epa.gov/watershedacademy. 
 
Worth Exploring! Using Nature to Address Flooding
  
Explore Different Types of Nature-Based Solutions - http://nrcsolutions.org/ 
Nature offers a powerful set of tools for addressing hazards like flooding and erosion. Nature-based solutions use natural systems, mimic natural processes, or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address these specific hazards. Communities across the country- along rivers or coasts, large or small, rural or urban - can incorporate nature-based solutions in local planning, zoning, regulations, and built projects to help reduce their exposure to flood and erosion impacts.

Training  
  
Checklist: Considering an Ecosystem Services Approach for Project Planning. The questionnaire can be used to assess whether an ecosystem services approach is appropriate for your project. The questions are also useful for clarifying project goals and outcomes, starting the planning process, and determining if sufficient resources and expertise are available.
 
OneNOAA Science Seminars, 2017  
Date & Time: January 25, 2018 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm ET
 
Date & Time:  February 8,2018 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET 
 
Date & time: February 15, 2018 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm ET  
 
Date & time: February 22, 2018 12:00 pm - 1:00 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.   

Events & Webinars      

January 31 - February 1, 2018
February 1 - 3, 2018
February 5 - 8, 2018
February 21 - 22, 2018 
March 6 - 8, 2018
April 23 - 25, 2017
May 9, 2018
June  11- 14, 2018
July 2 - 5, 2018 
December 8 - 13, 2018
Call for Proposals Now Available
 
Investing In Our Coasts: Environment, Economy, Culture

America's coasts continue to be a focal point for gauging our nation's well-being on many fronts. The Summit theme, "Investing In Our Coasts: Environment, Economy, Culture," explores the wide variety of roles our coasts play, ranging from economic to environmental to cultural.  
 
RAE welcomes you to submit a proposal for the Program and participate via an oral presentation, dedicated or alternative session, or poster. Please see the Call for Proposals for details and plan to join us!
 
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.  

If you have a news item or job posting to include in future CSO Newsletters, please send an email to: gwilliams@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.