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:

Maine Restores Sand Dunes with Reclaimed Trees

Photo credit: S. Gallagher, Bristol Parks and Recreation

In late December 2022, a fierce storm battered Maine’s coastline, causing extensive erosion along its beaches. In the aftermath, the towns of Bristol, Phippsburg, and South Portland placed washed-up trees, as well as discarded Christmas trees, in the dunes to trap sand and reinforce their base in a method previously untested in Maine. Spearheaded by the Maine Geological Survey and in collaboration with the three coastal towns, this project bolstered the resilience of the coastline’s natural defenses. Windblow and wave-deposited sand was successfully trapped by the trees, and the vegetation began to grow back in as little as a few months.

Three distinct case studies showcased the effectiveness of tree reuse in dune restoration:

  1. Pemaquid Beach, Bristol: The storm caused significant dune scarping (erosion) on this beach. Bristol’s Parks Department partnered on a project to strategically place sections of washed-up logs perpendicular to the shore, reinforcing the scarped dune’s base. Overhanging areas of the dune were collapsed to hasten natural collapse.
  2. Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg: The storm caused extensive flattening of the dunes, prompting the Morse River channel's northward migration. Dozens of washed-up logs were arranged parallel to the shore, mirroring natural dune ridges. This arrangement aimed to trap windblown sand, enhancing dune restoration efforts in partnership with the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
  3. Willard Beach, South Portland: Storm-induced flattening and erosion threatened buried infrastructure. To counter this, over 200 discarded holiday trees were strategically placed in rows parallel to the shore. This alignment mimicked dune ridges, effectively trapping windblown and wave-deposited sand. Collaboration with the city and acquiring a solid waste permit from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection facilitated this restorative effort.

Through these initiatives, Maine’s Coastal Management Program, alongside the Maine Geological Survey, demonstrated the viability of reusing trees to reinforce and restore eroded sand dunes. These approaches not only showcased innovation but also underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between local authorities and environmental agencies in safeguarding coastal ecosystems. See more here.

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

BOEM Drops Proposed Maryland Area From Offshore Wind Auction Amid Defense, NASA Concerns

The upcoming Central Atlantic offshore wind auction will not include the wind energy area offshore Maryland that was finalized in July – only the WEAs offshore Virginia and Delaware, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced in a proposed sale notice released Monday. To help Maryland still meet its goal of deploying 8.5 GW of offshore wind by 2031, BOEM said that the Departments of the Interior and Defense, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Coast Guard, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the state’s two senators and Gov. Wes Moore, D, will work jointly to evaluate new WEAs. Read more here.

North Carolina Commission Restores 16 Recently Nullified, Years-Old Rules

More than a dozen longstanding coastal rules now part of a lawsuit between two state-appointed commissions will be temporarily reinstated. The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission during a special called meeting Wednesday morning adopted 16 emergency rules that, by being classified “emergency,” will be entered into the state Administrative Code by early January and without public input, a concern raised by at least one member of the commission. Mary Lucasse, the commission’s legal counsel, and North Carolina Division of Coastal Management staff explained that, without the rules in place, vulnerable coastal cultural resources lose certain protections and the commission is limited in how it can fulfill its legislatively charged duties...The removal of these rules, which have been around for many years, strips protections for coastal lands and waters and is a threat to public safety, she said. The emergency rules are among 30 rules the Rules Review Commission objected to based predominately on technical wording and kicked back to the Coastal Resources Commission in early October. Shortly after the Rules Review Commission’s decision, the state’s Codifier of Rules Ashley Snyder pulled the rules from the Administrative Code. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

Nature-Based Coastal Resilience Solutions Facility Opens in Louisiana

“Exoforms” are now being produced in Amelia, LA. They are a coastal resilience solution made from sand and concrete, produced by a climate technology company in partnership with an energy service provider at their “Resilience center of Excellence.” “Our main use of these is protecting coastal shorelines,” Natrx General Manager Tyler Ortego said. “We’re able to make coastal armoring that both stops erosion of wetlands. Also provides habitats for oysters and fish and anything else that might use it.” Ortego said through their technology they are able to take a concept, design the shape, proof it and go into production within 24 hours. “So behind me you could see our patented dry forming process, so this is a state-of-the-art method of forming concrete modules for coastal resilience applications,” Ortego said. Ortego, a St. Landry Parish native said his idea started from a school project on how to use oysters to prevent coastal erosion. “It has been many years since then but we’re finally catching some steam,” Ortego said. “This is my home. Louisiana is eroding at a rate that no place else is. So, we came up with this solution to be a solution for Louisiana.” Read more here.

Newly Restored Dunes on Pinellas County Beaches Put to the Test by Severe Weather

This weekend’s storm put the newly restored dunes along most of Pinellas County’s beaches to the test. Crews had almost finished an emergency shoreline restoration project due to the damage from Hurricane Idalia. The storm this weekend, though, took a beating on the new dunes. "Here we are four months after Idalia, and it took another severe hit," Kelli Hammer Levy, Pinellas County’s public works director, said. According to Hammer Levy, crews were out Sunday and Monday surveying damage and, so far, the most extensive damage is at the northern beaches. Most of the beaches across the county, though, have damage, she said. Construction on the dunes at Indian Rocks Beach wrapped up just last week. "I was out there on Sunday morning, and it was hard. It was hard with our team, our contractors, our consultant design engineer, our inspectors, our coastal manager," Hammer Levy said. "Everybody has been working really hard for the last four months, you know, some six days a week. So, it's very hard to see all that work … at the same time, I'm glad it was there for those folks who would have taken pretty much a direct hit had they not been there." Read more here.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Ice Cover Was at Record Low on Jan. 1, That Could Still Change, But the 2024 Outlook Is a Concern

Great Lakes ice cover is off to a slow start in 2024. On Jan. 1, average ice cover across the lakes hit a record low since scientists began keeping track a half-century ago. And as of Jan. 2, average ice cover across all five lakes, as well as Lake St. Clair, is only 0.36%. Lake Superior has the highest ice cover with close to 1%. Lakes Michigan and Huron have 0.04% and 0.05%, respectively. There is no ice on Lakes Erie, Huron and St. Clair. Unseasonably warm air temperatures are likely to blame for this year's slow start. While it's not uncommon for ice cover to be this low in early January, the seasonal outlook predicts low ice cover will persist for the remainder of the season. Ice cover typically reaches its peak in mid-February, which on average is roughly 40%. Ice was also slow to form last year, as the lakes were nearly ice free in mid-January. Average ice cover across all the lakes hit a historic low in mid-February. And last year's ice season was the fourth lowest in the last 50 years with an average ice cover of 6.2%. Average ice cover over the past 50 years is roughly 24.5%. Ice cover in the Great Lakes has been declining for the past five decades, a trend that scientists say will continue. This will be met with extreme year-to-year fluctuations, evidenced by the near record lows and followed by near record highs seen in the last decade. Read more here.

Twenty Companies Pledge to Use All Parts of Great Lakes Fish by 2025

Fish-leather purses and wallets may make their way into Great Lakes fashion with an initiative to use 100% of commercially caught fish by 2025. One of the latest projects of a binational Great Lakes organization is to fully use the region’s whitefish, lake trout, yellow perch, walleye and white sucker. David Naftzger, executive director for the Conference of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Governors & Premiers, recently signed the 20th company to the 100% fish pledge. The conference consists of leaders of eight states and two Canadian provinces bordering the Great Lakes. It was founded in 1983 to grow the regional economy and protect the world’s largest surface freshwater system. The pledge exposes people to the number of ways to use a fish, Naftzger said. “There are food products you can make out of non-traditional parts of the fish, but also to show that you can use so much more of each fish, and that a fish is not just a filet.” Naftzger said. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

Oregon Tribes Receive Grant to Purchase Land on Cape Foulweather

The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians in Oregon are reacquiring land on Cape Foulweather this spring through a $2.01 million government grant and the support of the local community along the central Oregon coast. The acquisition encompasses a unique rocky shore on the popular tourist site, where the tribes plan to conserve the land for its ecological and cultural significance, educating both tribal members and community residents. The Siletz will soon purchase the private property from McKenzie River Trust using the department’s $2.01 million grant awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provides funding for coastal zone management programs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “This NOAA funding source is a highly competitive national grant program,” said Lisa Phipps, a manager for the Ocean Coastal Management Program and the department, in a statement. “To have funding dedicated for this project recognizes the values of this unique habitat at a nationwide level.” Read more here.

Community-Based Art Project, “Neighbors Along the Riverbed,” Promotes Salmon Conservation in California

NOAA Fisheries and the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design are pleased to launch “Neighbors Along the Riverbed.” Created by visual and community practice artist and care worker, Mickey L.D. Morgan, it is a podcast series and a community-based art project. It aims to promote salmon conservation and habitat restoration in urban and suburban areas of coastal California. The project seeks to raise awareness about seven salmon and steelhead species listed under the Endangered Species Act. They are listed in large part to the increasing pressures from urban and suburban development. The goal is to engage these communities to support the conservation and recovery of threatened and endangered salmon in coastal California. Many of these species travel through urban and suburban corridors in their journey out to the ocean as juveniles, and back to their natal headwaters to reproduce. Thus, they are neighbors. Read more here and view the project here.

Events & Webinars

December 4 - March 15, 2024

January 17, 2024

January 18, 2024

January 19, 2024

January 31, 2024

February 7-8, 2024

February 12-15, 2024

February 23-24, 2024

March 12-14, 2024

April 3-6, 2024

May 12-16, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series


[NEW] FEMA Announces Second "Safeguarding Tomorrow RFL" Grant Program

FEMA announced its second Safeguarding Tomorrow through On-going Risk Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund program “Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF” grant program funding opportunity for $150 million. This opportunity will provide capitalization grants to eligible applicants to award low-interest loans to communities to reduce their vulnerability to disasters, foster greater resilience and reduce disaster impacts. The application period opens on Feb. 1, 2024. The funding notice is available at Grants.gov Eligible entities must apply for funding using the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants Management System (ND Grants). Applications must be received by Tuesday April 30, 2024 by 3 p.m. ET. 

[NEW] EPA Releases New Resources on Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal and Marine Solar Radiation Management

The Environmental Protection Agency administers two permitting programs under federal statutes that apply to mCDR and mSRM activities in coastal waters and the ocean. Researchers and other organizations proposing to conduct marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) and marine solar radiation management (mSRM), activities in coastal waters or the ocean may need to seek authorization under a Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act permit or Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The EPA is pleased to share new web resources that include information about proposed mCDR and mSRM activities and provide further information on the EPA’s regulatory responsibilities for ensuring these emerging activities are conducted in a safe and responsible manner to protect human health, the marine environment and other uses of the ocean. Researchers and organizations considering ocean-based mCDR or mSRM activities should contact the EPA with questions about permitting and to discuss how to apply for a permit by emailing [email protected].

[NEW] CIGLR Announces 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program

The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) announces the 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL). The Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program exposes students to a broad range of STEM disciplines by providing hands-on research training and career development mentoring in a supportive and inclusive environment. Through this program, we seek to support diversity in Great Lakes research by valuing the wide range of identities, backgrounds, perspectives, and skills that enrich scientific exploration and help connect science with society. They are hosting a virtual information session on January 17 at 2:00 pm ET to about the program, give an overview of the application process and timeline, and answer your questions. Read the position descriptions and find the application here. Applications are due Friday February 9, 2024.

[NEW] Department of Interior Releases Fall 2023 Addition of NEWSWAVE

The Fall 2023 issue of DOI’s NEWSWAVE, highlights examples of DOI’s work fulfilling important stewardship commitments for our nation’s ocean, Great Lakes and coasts. One of the greatest challenges of our time is addressing climate change and it’s impacts on our natural resources and our ability to sustain healthy, resilient communities and economies. In this issue, read stories and find links from across the Department of the Interior to learn more about how they are:

  • advancing renewable offshore energy,
  • restoring important coastal landscapes in the Gulf of Mexico,
  • incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and partnership into our strategies,
  • investing funds to improve accessibility and infrastructure sustainability,
  • using science to underpin and guide management decisions for all Americans into the future.

Secretary Haaland’s NEWSWAVE 5 highlights a broad range of examples that show how the DOI family and their many missions, come together to support their blue portfolio. Visit online: https://www.doi.gov/ocean/newswave, You can also keep up by visiting on Facebook, 'like' or follow us today. Subscribe or contribute to NEWSWAVE! If you have questions, comments, or want to receive NEWSWAVE by email, contact Ann Tihansky ([email protected]) and Liza Johnson ([email protected]) via email.

[NEW] Volunteer for FEMA BRIC National Review Panels

FEMA is seeking volunteers from state, local, tribal and territorial governments and other federal agencies to participate on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) virtual national review panels. The agency is accepting Expression of Interest forms from Monday January 8, 2024–Thursday February 15, 2024. These volunteers will leverage their mitigation experience and expertise to determine how subapplications meet BRIC qualitative evaluation criteria. The virtual panels will run April 8 – May 3, 2024 on Zoom. Panelists will serve 30 hours on one weekly panel from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ET plus a three-hour training. FEMA anticipates that participants on the panels will commit eight hours a day over the course of five business days. All reviews will be conducted virtually and there is no compensation for participating on the panels.

The agency anticipates participation in these panels will strengthen the BRIC review process by ensuring it is transparent, equitable and inclusive. It will also offer insight into new and creative ways communities are addressing different hazards, an expanded network of individuals and a fresh look at ways to contribute to community disaster resilience. For more information, visit the BRIC webpage on FEMA.gov.

NOAA Releases First-Ever National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Visualization Tool

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is pleased to share the release of its National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Data Visualization Tool on the NOAA Geoplatform. This product is the first-ever tool currently on the NOAA Geoplatform for shallow (0-30m) tropical/sub-tropical coral reef ecosystem status and trends data. NCRMP provides a strategic framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climatic, and socioeconomic indicators in U.S. states and territories with coral reefs. The resulting data provide a robust picture of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the communities connected to them. It is one of the only coral reef monitoring programs in the world to directly include a human dimensions component with biophysical monitoring. The NCRMP GIS-based tool allows you to see where and when coral reef monitoring data were collected, visualize status and trends, and download summarized data in an easier way than ever before. The tool gives scientists, managers, and students a “one-stop” information hub to access and understand NOAA’s shallow water coral data. Access the tool here.

EPA Releases Report of the National Estuary Program 2022 Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2022, the 28 NEPs implemented projects that improved environmental conditions and bolstered human well-being. Last year, NEPs made impressive accomplishments in sustainability and restoration. The Accomplishments Report presents the NEP’s national metrics for 2022 alongside success stories from local NEPs demonstrating why their work is important for the health of estuaries and communities that depend on them. The report also highlights each of the 28 NEPs individually, allowing readers to learn more about their study areas, priorities, accomplishments and future initiatives.

Mississippi- Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Announce New Resilience Institute

Mississippi- Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is excited to announce their new COAST (Community Outreach and Strategic Training) Resilience Institute. This year-long program is aimed at equipping elected officials, municipal staff and other community leaders with the latest science-based research for enhancing decision-making and increasing resilience. Trainings will be offered in four sessions: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Participants are eligible for AICP and CFM credits. There are no minimum attendance requirements to participate. Learn more here.

Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and Lake Superior NERR Release Great Lakes Planting Guide

This guide empowers users to grow, promote, and use plant beings specifically from natural plant communities adapted to coastal areas of Gichigami (Lake Superior) to heal and protect Gichigami shorelines. While the focus of the guide is specific to the Wisconsin coast, the basic premise extends to other regions of the Gichigami basin and watershed, though some of the plant communities may be different. It is designed for use by coastal-land caretakers, resource managers, landscape planners, and anyone who interacts with the Gichigami shoreline. Users of this guide will be introduced to many plants that have thrived on this landscape, and with whom the Ojibwe people have developed long-standing relationships. From its inception, the intent of this planting guide has been to blend different ways of knowing together and to share about plants in a way that intentionally elevates the knowledge and the guidance of Indigenous communities. Read the guide here.

White House Announces Ocean Justice Strategy at COP28

The White House announced its first-ever Ocean Justice Strategy Friday at COP28 in Dubai, which it says will advance the nation's commitment to environmental justice for all. The Biden Administration says indigenous communities have stewarded marine habitats for centuries. Now those communities are among those who may be most at risk for health and environmental harm from those habitats. The strategy, which the administration describes as a "vision for ocean justice," was developed with input from public comments and from consultation with Tribal nations and roundtables with U.S. Territories and Native Hawaiian organizations. The new strategy includes a variety of marginalized groups, including Black, Latino and Native communities. “The ocean is a life source for us all, but because of historic injustices and underinvestment, some communities are hit harder by devastating climate change impacts,” said Brenda Mallory, the chair of the White House Council for Environmental Quality. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s new Ocean Justice Strategy will help to address historic inequities, improve the well-being of people in communities connected to the ocean, and safeguard a healthy ocean for everyone." Read more here.

Ocean Conservancy Releases Report Justice40 Implementation and Water Equity in Florida

Ocean Conservancy’s Justice40 interim report dives into research conducted in Florida at the nexus of failing water infrastructure, climate risk, and federal infrastructure investments in disadvantaged communities. Florida, one of the most climate-vulnerable states in the country, received a C rating or lower for water infrastructure types assessed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, signaling that robust investments from the BIL are essential. To better understand the nature of critical water infrastructure risk and funding disparities at a localized scale, the Ocean Conservancy conducted a geospatial analysis studying systemically disadvantaged communities exposed to the cumulative effects of failing water systems, water pollution and coastal climate impacts. Read the press release here and the full report here.

FEMA Announces $2 Billion in Funding to Boost Climate Resilience Nationwide

FEMA announced 2023 funding opportunities for two Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs. For this grant cycle, $800 million is available for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the $1 billion is available to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant program.The application period closes on Thursday February 29, 2024 at 3:00 PM ET. Subapplicants are encouraged to contact the state, territory or tribal applicant as they may have earlier deadlines. Eligible applicants must apply via FEMA Grants Outcomes.

Job Openings

In The States

[NEW] Texas General Land Office - Natural Resources Specialist IV (Coastal Project Manager)

Massachusetts Executive Office Of Energy and Environmental Affairs - CZM Chief Coastal Resilience Officer

Washington Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance - Applied Coastal Research and Engineering Section Manager

Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy - Offshore Environmental Specialist III

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

Lynker, NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships Program - Program Specialist

US Geological Survey - Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation Fellowship

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) - 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program

[NEW] National Marine Sanctuary Foundation - Program Operations Manager, Restoration

[NEW] North Carolina State University - Communications Director for NC Sea Grant, NC Space Grant and NC Water Resources Research Institute

[NEW] Marine Technology Society - Manager, Ocean Enterprise Initiative

[NEW] UC Santa Cruz - Coastal Risks and Nature-Based Adaptation Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Hawai'i, Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology - Indigenous Stewardship Specialist He'eia NERR

PEW Charitable Trusts - Officer, Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs (International Conservation Finance)

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation - Coastal Resilience Manager

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Center for Water Policy - Water Policy and Science Communications Graduate Fellow

Reef Environmental Education Foundation - Marine Conservation Fellow

University of South Carolina, Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences - Director

Buzzards Bay Coalition & Woodwell Climate Research Center - Brenninkmeyer Postdoctoral Fellow, Water Quality

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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