At the Agencies
EPA is pleased to announce that up to $3 million in funding for locally-focused environmental education grants will be available this week under the 2018 EE Local Grant Program. EPA will award three to four grants in each of EPA's ten Regions, for no less than $50,000 and no more than $100,000 each, for a total of 30-35 grants nationwide. Proposals are due March 15, 2018. The Requests for Proposals will be posted on www.grants.gov
2017 was the costliest year ever for weather disasters in the United States, NOAA announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. Record hurricane and wildfire seasons accounted for most of the cost.
In the News
For Americans who live along the east and Gulf of Mexico coasts, the end of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season on Nov. 30 was a relief. This year forecasters recorded 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes. Six were major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger), and three made landfall: Harvey in Texas, Irma in the Caribbean and Florida, and Maria in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. It was the most costly season ever, inflicting more than US $200 billion in damages.
Five Things We Learned in the Aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Audubon's assessment of the effects of hurricanes will inform restoration efforts that can protect our coasts in the future. In the weeks since hurricanes Harvey and Irma roared ashore in Texas and Florida, Audubon has been surveying habitats in the hardest-hit areas. The biggest takeaway is that natural coastal ecosystems work-they mitigate storm surges and limit the coastal flooding and erosion that occur when powerful tropical storms come ashore.
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.
Hurricane Irma is still leaving businesses flat in the Florida Keys, three months after the storm hit the state. The Keys normally attract more than 3 million tourists a year, bringing in nearly $3 billion annually and accounting for more than half of the islands' economy. The busy tourist season in the Keys starts the day after Christmas, and there are plenty of things to do - fishing, diving or feeding the tarpon. But the challenge in areas like Islamorada is finding a place to stay. Many of the big resorts remain closed after being battered by Hurricane Irma, reports CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca.
In the States and Regions
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance shares that a Gulf of Mexico Benthic Habitat Mapping Workshop will be held at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference. The workshop supports the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Data and Monitoring Team's Master Mapping Plan focus area. This year, partners hope to develop a model for alignment of the many mapping efforts already ongoing or funded for the near term. Updates from various efforts will be shared, including the Florida Coastal Mapping Program, the RESTORE Council-funded Council Monitoring and Assessment Program (CMAP), and the Alliance's Master Mapping Plan.
For thousands of households where flooding is only expected to get worse, the state of Louisiana agrees. The state has even crafted a plan to buy out the most vulnerable homes along the coast, many of which are occupied by elderly and poor residents who stayed after Hurricane Katrina. But officials say there is no money to put that plan into action.
A coastal project that is expected to add and nourish over 300 acres marsh in Lafourche Parish is getting closer to construction. The Caminada Headlands Back Barrier Marsh Creation Project will go before the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Task Force on Jan. 25 in New Orleans for approval. The project was conditionally approved for money by the task force's technical committee last month.
West Coast and Pacific Islands
Oceanside, CA wants to know what its residents think about sea-level rise, coastal access, ocean views and other concerns that come with living near the beach. The city has launched the first comprehensive update of its Local Coastal Program, which was adopted and certified by the California Coastal Commission in 1986. The document is a road map for development west of Coast Highway and along coastal waterways such as the San Luis Rey River and the Buena Vista Lagoon.
Globally, wetlands are rapidly disappearing due to rising oceans and ramped-up erosion, which are unearthing these age-old stockpiles of carbon. But bodies of freshwater are also a concern.In Illinois, Lake Michigan water levels are at their highest in 20 years, and those levels are predicted to continue climbing into the spring, swallowing more coastal wetlands in areas such as Illinois Beach State Park.
"Great Lakes coastal wetlands are highly productive and rare ecosystems, and are widely recognized as vital to the overall Great Lakes ecosystem, providing habitat for migratory waterfowl, wading birds, sport and forage fish, amphibians and reptiles, and many other native wildlife," said Anne Garwood, DEQ Great Lakes coastal wetland ecologist. "In some parts of the state, where up to 90 percent of Michigan's coastal wetlands have been lost, the protection and restoration of coastal wetlands is especially critical."
Announcements & More
Public Comment Period for the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4)
Public comment on the draft report is an critical component of the NCA process, and NOAA wants to encourage the public to review and comment on of the NCA4 no later than
January 31, 2018
. To find and review the NCA4 visit:
. To read the full notice, please
To familiarize the public with the NCA and the Review & Comment website, the US Global Change Research Program is hosting a series of webinars on the following dates:
- Saturday, Nov 18, 3pm EST
- Wednesday, Dec 6, 5pm EST
- Tuesday, Jan 16, 8pm EST
Worth Exploring! Using Nature to Address Flooding
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.
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 15, 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:
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 17 -19, 2018
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!