CSO Newsletter

The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.

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Spotlight on Coastal Management: International Jury Awards First Blue Flag Beach Sites in Continental United States

Blue Flag USA is proud to announce the first Blue Flags in the continental United States have been awarded to beaches in California and Florida. Westward Beach between the Zuma Lagoon and Birdview Avenue in Malibu and Delray Beach Municipal Beach between Casuarina Road and Laing Street in Delray received the recognition from the Blue Flag International Jury this month.

The Blue Flags will fly over Westward Beach from May 25 through September 30, 2023, and over Delray Beach Municipal Beach from May 19, 2023, through April 30, 2024. The 36-year-old International Blue Flag program awards beaches, marinas, and tourism boat operators annually based on a significant but attainable set of operations criteria covering environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services. The International Jury awarded over 5,000 sites for the first time in 2022.

“Our sites have worked hard for several months to implement and maintain more than 30 diverse criteria to achieve award status. Their staff and communities can raise their flags with pride for going above and beyond US standards to receive international recognition for sustainable management practices,” said Annie Mercer, program coordinator for the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). As a National Operator for the international Blue Flag program, ASBPA administers the program in the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as supports sites in reaching criteria compliance. Read more here.

Podcast: Charting a Course for Coral

Reefs: Insights from Jennifer Koss

How do the federal government and coastal states and territories work together to conserve and restore Coral Reefs? Find out on The Capitol Beach (or perhaps, for one episode, “The Capitol Reef”?), with guest Jennifer Koss, the Director of Coral Reef Conservation for NOAA. Jennifer covers what NOAA is doing in partnership with 2 US states and 5 territories for Coral Reefs, while also explaining how the 15 federal agencies with some role in coral conservation are working together with state & territories in the Coral Reef Task Force. Jennifer also touches on how the US is working internationally, as well as covering recent legislation driving new and innovative management strategies for US coral reefs. Listen here.

In the States and Territories

Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Named Mission Blue’s First Freshwater Hope Spot

International marine conservation nonprofit Mission Blue has named the Great Lakes the first and only freshwater Hope Spot – special places across the globe, championed by local organizations and conservationists, that are scientifically recognized as critical to the health of the ocean. The Great Lakes joins a suite of 151 Hope Spots recognized and established by Mission Blue over the last 12 years, all of which represent marine environments. Championing the nomination and application effort was Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium with support from more than 24 Great Lakes organizations across the region. Read more here.

Resilient Lake Michigan Public Access Stairway at Virmond County Park

Virmond County has been working with Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and Wisconsin Coastal Hazards Work Group since 2015 on the design, engineering, and construction unique pilot project for public access to Lake Michigan. Unstable bluffs have greatly limit public access to Lake Michigan and the shoreline in Ozaukee County. The stairway is a low-impact, “floating design” with approximately 225 steps down 130-foot-high clay seepage bluffs. The project is in Phase III of construction is expected to be open to the public in July. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

NOAA Fisheries Selects Alaska to Begin Aquaculture Opportunity Area Identification

NOAA Fisheries has chosen Alaska as the next region in which to look for Aquaculture Opportunity Areas. An Aquaculture Opportunity Area is a defined geographic area that NOAA has determined to be environmentally, socially, and economically appropriate to support multiple commercial aquaculture operations... The effort to identify Aquaculture Opportunity Areas will be focused in Alaska state waters based on feedback from stakeholders, tribes, and current industry interest. NOAA will only consider shellfish and seaweed farming; finfish farming in Alaska state waters is prohibited by law. With more coastline than all of the Lower 48 states combined, Alaska is uniquely positioned to benefit from growing the marine aquaculture industry. Read more here.

Supreme Court Won’t Review Ruling Barring Offshore Fracking in California

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined a request by the oil industry to review a lower court ruling barring fracking off California’s shore. In 2014, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) sued to halt offshore fracking in federal waters off the Golden State. Four years later, Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the Central District of California, a George W. Bush appointee, found the federal government had violated the Endangered Species Act and Coastal Zone Management Act by issuing fracking permits for the area. Read more here.

East Coast and Caribbean

South Carolina Real Estate Commission to Require Disclosure of Flood History to Buyers

This month, a new disclosure form published by the South Carolina Real Estate Commission goes into effect that will ensure better information about flood history and erosion risk is shared between home sellers and buyers across the state. This improved transparency will help home buyers better prepare for future floods and take precautions such as purchasing flood insurance. Previous requirements did not give home buyers enough information about flood history or insurance claims, leaving buyers to discover flood risks after a storm brought property damage and high costs. Read more here.

USACE Takes New Approach to Projects in U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), South Atlantic Division (SAD) program has grown exponentially in terms of the number of projects and funding since 2017. Congress passed supplemental funding bills (BBA 18, DRSAA, and BIL) between 2018 and 2022 that provided powers and appropriations throughout USACE and SAD. The increase was due to the impact of natural disasters on the island, as well as increased requirements in the civil works (CW), military construction (MILCON), inter-agency and international support (IIS), and environment programs. Due to these increases USACE took a new approach and created Task Force U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico (TF VIPR) to meet the demand and speed of projects. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Projects Surpass $1 Billion

With the conflict among deer hunting factions at an all-time low, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Commissioner Chris Blankenship used last weekend’s Conservation Advisory Board meeting in Huntsville to update the Board on the numerous projects in the state under ADCNR oversight. A milestone was surpassed this year when projects funded through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement exceeded $1 billion, Commissioner Blankenship said. ADCNR’s Deepwater Horizon Restoration Coordinator, Amy Hunter, and her staff oversee the projects funded by the settlement. Read more here.

BOEM Finds No Environmental Impacts for Gulf of Mexico Wind Leasing

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a finding today that it believes there would be no significant impacts to environmental resources in the Gulf of Mexico if its proceeds with the proposed offshore wind leasing efforts in the Gulf. The bureau in October 2022 defined two initial target areas off Texas and Louisiana that would become the first wind lease sites in the area as it works to expand the country’s renewable energy supply. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

June 13, 2023

June 21, 2023

June 22, 2023

June 26-29, 2023

July 19, 2023

July 26, 2023

August 8, 2023

October 10-13, 2023

October 16-19, 2023

October 17, 2023

October 23-25, 2023

November 12-16, 2023


NOAA Announces $2.6 Billion in IRA Funding

The U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled a $2.6 billion framework to invest in coastal resilience through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). As part of the President’s Investing in America Agenda this initiative will support communities and people on the frontlines of climate change, dedicating nearly $400 million specifically for Tribal priorities and benefiting coastal and Great Lakes communities nationwide with an emphasis on environmental justice. Additional investments from the IRA will improve weather and climate data and services, support the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful conservation initiative and strengthen NOAA’s fleet of research airplanes and ships that are used to study and collect data about the ocean and atmosphere. Read more here.

Justice40 Accelerator Applications Open for Community-Based Organizations

The Justice40 Accelerator will support community-based and community-led groups/organizations working at the frontlines of environmental crises and advancing community-driven climate solutions. Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status, fiscally sponsored projects, and cooperatives based in the U.S., including sovereign lands located within the U.S. and its territories, are eligible to apply. An informational webinar will be held on Thursday, June 15, 2023. The application closes on Monday July 31, 2023. Learn more here.

President Biden Proclaims June 2023 National Ocean Month

"The ocean makes life on Earth possible -- feeding us, sustaining livelihoods, and connecting economies across the globe. It bonds us as a source of recreation and rejuvenation for our spirits and links us to our heritage through Indigenous communities who have stewarded our marine habitats since time immemorial. Through its rich ecosystems of diverse plants, animals, and other species, it is also central to our fight against the climate crisis and to creating a cleaner, safer, and healthier future. During National Ocean Month, we recommit to protecting and conserving our precious ocean and to harnessing its power to shape a more sustainable planet." Read the rest here.

Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission Releases Waterfront Toolkit

The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission has launched the Waterfront Planning Toolkit, a Wisconsin Coastal Management Program funded project designed to provide assistance and resources to communities interested in planning for the unique obstacles and opportunities that come with development on the waterfront. It strives to articulate the value of waterfront plans and help communities shape the long-term resilience and sustainability of their waterfronts by establishing a set of tools and best practices to promote successful planning efforts.

NWF Launches Student Memo Competition

National Wildlife Federation is excited to offer awards that recognize undergraduate or graduate students over the age of 18 who develop innovative recommendations for state and local policies that can help improve water quality and/or the resilience of communities to flooding through nature-based approaches. Nature-based solutions include conserving and restoring natural ecosystems, such as healthy wetlands, floodplains, and forests, as well as employing engineered systems designed to mimic natural system functions. The area of geographic interest is the Mississippi River mainstem states including overlapping Tribal and Indigenous lands and waters (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana). Read more here and here.

DOI Releases Summer Issue of NEWSWAVE

The Summer 2023 edition of NEWSWAVE demonstrates the many ways the Department of the Interior (DOI) is working to to fulfill their ocean stewardship commitments, through advancing renewable offshore energy, restoring coastal wetlands, investing in nature-based solutions and conducting the science to understand and guide management decisions in the face of climate change. Secretary Haaland’s NEWSWAVE 5 highlights a broad range of examples that show how DOI bring their collective missions together to support our blue portfolio, such as hosting the White House 2023 Conservation Summit at the Main Interior Building, where key actions, including the first ever Ocean Climate Action Plan, were announced. 

GLISA Opens 2023 Small Grants Competition

The competition will award several 2-year grants of up to $30,000 each to organizations that will collaborate with GLISA to advance equitable climate adaptation in the Great Lakes region. Successful proposals will increase GLISA’s impact and address and amplify dimensions of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in adaptation action. Letters of intent are due no later than Friday June 23, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET through the online platform, Submittable. GLISA will offer office hours throughout May and June to discuss project ideas. To learn more about this opportunity, please visit GLISA's website and see the Call for Letters of Intent.

National Academy of Sciences Announces Funding for Youth Leadership Training Programs

The National Academy of Sciences Gulf Research Program (GRP) is seeking proposals for youth leadership training programs that equip youth (ages 15-24) with the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to build resilience to climate hazards and associated disasters. The GRP will accept proposals from academic institutions and nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status based in GRP's geographic region including the coastal Gulf of Mexico regions of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; and the coastal region of the Gulf of Alaska. A total of $2M is available for this funding opportunity, with a maximum request of $500,000. For additional information and to view the full Request For Applications, please visit their website. The application closes Monday July 10, 2023 at 5pm ET.

ASFPM Honors the First Margaret A. Davidson Award Recipient

Margaret A. Davidson has a legacy as a coastal and climate adaptation champion. She founded NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, initiated NOAA’s climate adaptation work, and countless other endeavors. The Association of State Floodplain Managers awarded the first Margaret A. Davidson Award for Excellence in Climate Change Adaptation to a small town mayor and resilience visionary, Janelle Kellman. Janelle’s community of Sausalito, California, experienced severe sunny day flooding for several years due to rising sea levels. However, when she took office, she realized the city had no climate plans, no resources dedicated to these areas, and no flood mitigation plans. She reached out to other elected officials and local decision-makers around the U.S. and found they were in similar situations. So she founded the Center for Sea Rise Solutions, a nonprofit focused on helping these officials develop and implement coastal resilience plans. Janelle is also a strong champion of engaging women and people of color in coastal resilience. 

EPA Launches Interactive Map of Sea Level Rise Around Hazardous Waste Sites Along the U.S. Coastline

EPA launched a new data visualization to show the projected sea level rise around hazardous waste facilities within estimated flood zones along the U.S. coastline, as part of a whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis and protecting communities. Explore the new data visualization which shares projections up to the year 2100 as well as resources for what communities can do.

FEMA Releases Season 3 of Level Up Audio Project

FEMA Region 9 releases Season 3 of the Level Up Audio Project, a podcast series dedicated to highlighting individuals who are making hazard mitigation planning and action a priority in their work and communities. Each episode features a roughly 20-minute conversation with individuals who share stories, best practices and lessons learned. The goal is to inspire mitigation action and strengthen the community of hazard mitigation and climate adaptation professionals working at the local level.

EPA Announces New Funding for Underserved Communities

EPA announced the availability of $30 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for restoration projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the Great Lakes. EPA has published a request for applications for the newly created Great Lakes Environmental Justice Grant Program that will fund implementation of environmental protection and restoration projects that will further the goals of GLRI in communities with environmental justice concerns. EPA will host a webinar on the request on Tuesday May 23, 2023. Applications are being accepted through Friday August 11, 2023.

Job Openings

In The States

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Coastal Programs Section - Restoration Project Coordinator

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Coastal Programs Section - Restoration Scientist

South Carolina, Sea Grant Consortium - Coastal GIS Specialist

Washington Department of Ecology - Floodplain Management Policy Lead (Environmental Planner 5)

Washington Department of Ecology - Resilience Project Coordinator

Washington Department of Ecology - Coastal and Ocean Management Unit Supervisor

Washington Department of Ecology, Shorelands & Environmental Assistance - Regional Shoreline Planner

Washington Department of Ecology, Shorelands & Environmental Assistance - Senior Floodplain Management Planner

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Water Division, Watershed Management Bureau - Environmental Program Manager

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

USACE - Chief Climate Scientist

NOAA OCM, Honolulu, HI - Program Analyst

NOAA OCM, New England - Program Analyst

NOAA NMFS - Marine Habitat Resource Specialist (DHA)

USACE Savannah District, Engineering Division, Hydrology and Hydraulics - Civil Engineer (Hydraulics)

USACE Jacksonville District, Engineering Division, Coastal Design Section - Civil Engineer

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary - AmeriCorps/NOAA Environmental Education & Stewardship Specialist

Lynker, Silver Spring, MD - Program Analyst

Lynker - Pacific Islands Regional Marine Debris Communication and Outreach Coordinator

Cardinal Point Captains Inc. - Restoration Specialist / Resource Protection Specialist

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

UC Santa Cruz, Institute of Marine Sciences - CCCR and ORRAA Coastal Resilience Postdoctoral Fellow

National Fish and Wildlife Federation - Program Director, Coastal Resilience

National Fish and Wildlife Federation - Manager, Coastal Resilience

National Fish and Wildlife Federation - Staff Scientist, Coastal Resilience

Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) - Coastal Resilience Coordinator

Pacific Coastal Research & Planning - Environmental Planner

San Francisco State University, San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coastal Science Education Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy - Senior Advisory, Legislative Affairs

Ocean Conservancy - Indigenous Stewardship Fellow

Ocean Conservancy - Senior Policy Analyst, Renewable Energy

Deborah Brosnan & Associates - Projects Manager: Environment, Sustainability, Climate-Change

Job Boards

Office for Coastal Management State Programs

Sea Grant Careers Page


The views expressed in articles referenced 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: [email protected] with a subject line: "Newsletter Content". Please include the information to be considered in the body of the email.

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Coastal States Organization | 50 F Street. NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC 20001 | 202-508-3860 | [email protected] | www.coastalstates.org
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