June is National Ocean Month and yesterday was World Ocean Day, times to celebrate and to take action to protect and restore our shared ocean for this and future generations.
CSO is excited to see big actions taken this National Ocean Month and World Ocean Day with the announcement of a series of new steps the Biden Administration is taking to conserve and restore the health and productivity of the ocean for the benefit of all Americans, including:
Initiating the designation process for a new national marine sanctuary to conserve Hudson Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean,
Phasing out single-use plastics in national parks and public lands,
Releasing an Environmental Justice Position Statement,
Joining the UN Environment Program’s Clean Seas Campaign, and
Launching efforts to create America’s first-ever Ocean Climate Action Plan and to center environmental justice in ocean science and technology activities and investments.
Learn more about these actions here.
Also, take some time to learn more about our shared ocean with this video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Come Work at CSO!
CSO has two open positions - Managing Director and Grants Administrator - both working with the Coastal States Stewardship Foundation. These positions are excellent opportunities to work with coastal states and regional ocean partnerships to advance ocean and coastal policy, science, and management. Come join our team! Learn more here.
Celebrating 50 Years of Ocean and Coastal Conservation
2022 is a BIG year for ocean and coastal conservation! Not only is it the 50th anniversary for the CZMA, it is also the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Marine Mammals Protection Act, and National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
Join CSO's Executive Director, Derek Brockbank, in a five part podcast series to learn about the basis of the act, why it’s important, how it’s changed, and more.
All five episodes of the series are now available! Listen to all of them here or wherever you get your podcasts!
In the States and Regions
The Gulf Of Mexico Is Gearing Up For A Wind Energy Boom
Back in January, the Biden administration outlined a range of clean energy initiatives, key among them plans to hold the largest-ever sale of offshore wind leases in U.S. history and accelerate the deployment of new power lines to transmit renewable electricity across the country. At the center of the offshore push was the sale of six commercial leases in the New York Bight between Long Island and New Jersey in February, the most successful offshore wind lease auction in history. The 488,000 acres offshore wind lease auction fetched a record $4.37 billion from companies looking to develop the waters. The installed capacity is expected to be between 5.6 GW and 7 GW, enough to power 2 million homes. The Department of Energy also launched a Building a Better Grid initiative that will tap billions of dollars in funding from the $1T infrastructure law passed in November to finance new lines and grid upgrades. According to Politico, the U.S. government is considering opening 30 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico near Texas and Louisiana to offshore wind energy projects, part of Biden’s goal to build 30 gigawatts of wind power capacity by 2030, enough to power more than 10 million homes. Though the Gulf’s waters haven’t sprouted any wind turbines yet, there are several reasons why the Gulf of Mexico is a perfect fit as an offshore wind hub. Read more
$122M Allocated To Hurricane Recovery and Repairs for Grand Isle
$122 million in repairs to Grand Isle will begin in August. According to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers will start work to address Hurricane Ida-related damage to Grand Isle. “Congress has made a significant commitment to address the damages experienced from back-to-back record hurricane seasons,” said Col. Stephen Murphy, commander of the USACE New Orleans District. “We are eager to work in partnership with CPRA to deliver this commitment to the people that live and work on Grand Isle.” Read more
East Coast and Caribbean
Georgia Coastal Wetlands Need Room To Move, Report Says
On Tybee Island near Savannah, higher tides and sunny day flooding have become regular occurrences. The city has built up sand dunes and beaches, and now requires new construction to be raised above flood level. Tybee officials have also secured funding to raise at least 22 homes and the city is planning for more. Georgia’s coastal wetlands are under threat from rising seas, and how the state and local communities respond could spell the difference between a net gain or a net loss of these vital ecosystems, a new study says. U.S. coastal wetlands could either increase by 25% or decrease by 97% over the next century, depending on a number of factors, including how quickly humans can reduce carbon emissions and how much coastal land is set aside for conservation, researchers found. The report calculated that these changes could result in an annual gain of $222 billion to the U.S. economy or an annual loss of as much as $732 billion. As sea levels rise, coastal wetlands migrate inland. But wetlands need undeveloped land to move to, and such property is at a premium along much of the U.S. coastline. Where development limits migration, wetlands can disappear. The importance of wetlands as habitats and buffers for human settlement against extreme weather and flooding is only growing as temperatures rise and storms become more destructive. Read more
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces More Than $500 Million Building Upon His Historic Commitment to Enhancing Community Resiliency
Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted more than $500 million for resiliency included in the FY 2022-23 Freedom First Budget. This investment includes more than $270 million to fully fund all three years of the state’s first ever Statewide Flooding Resilience Plan and an additional $180 million for the state’s next plan which will be submitted later this year. The Freedom First Budget also includes up to $40 million for Resilient Florida Planning Grants to help communities develop and update comprehensive vulnerability assessments. Read more
Geneva-On-The-Lake Completes First Phase Of Erosion Project
Geneva-on-the-Lake is working to preserve its Lake Erie shoreline and the village is finishing the first phase of its erosion protection project at the Township Park. Geneva-on-the-Lake Mayor Dwayne Bennett said the town lost about 100 feet of shoreline once it started eroding. In 2020, lake conditions caused the west shoreline of the Geneva Township Park to erode, so voters approved a levy that brought more erosion protection. Read more
Great Lakes Ice Coverage Declines As The Climate Warms
The last bits of winter snow and ice in the Great Lakes melted in late May, according to a NOAA-GLSEA (Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis) tracker that uses satellite data to produce real-time daily estimates of Great Lakes ice coverage. Before it melted, scientists collected samples of ice, snow and frosty lake water in a coordinated scientific event called Winter Grab, a research effort to assess the winter conditions of the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair. The data will help them better understand ice properties, water chemistry and lake biology, as well as help them determine how the lakes are influenced by the changing climate. While ice coverage on the Great Lakes has always been highly variable, longitudinal data from NOAA indicate a downturn in winter ice coverage over the last few decades. EPA data shows that the average number of days the lakes are frozen each year has declined across all five Great Lakes since the 1970s. Estimates presented by the International Joint Commission, an organization created to ensure that the U.S. and Canada work effectively together on Great Lakes issues, indicates that ice coverage on the lakes has declined by 71% between the early 1970s and 2010. Not only is there less ice overall, but the ice that does form isn't as thick and doesn't remain on the lakes as long as it did in previous decades. Read more
West Coast and Pacific
Coastal Commission Greenlights Surveys for Morro Bay Offshore Wind Energy Development
The California Coastal Commission is allowing the proposed Morro Bay wind energy development a path forward. In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, commissioners accepted a staff report that laid out certain conditions the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) must follow as it allows wind energy developers to survey the Morro Bay site for potential construction of floating wind turbines. This means that the Coastal Commission determined those survey activities are consistent with the California Coastal Act, the law the commission is charged with upholding. The law mandates the protection of coastal resources and “the economic, commercial and recreational importance of fishing activities,” among other things. Read more
Coalition Requests President Biden to Expand Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument
Indigenous leaders from the Pacific Remote Islands Coalition officially requested President Joe Biden to use his authority to expand protection of the waters around the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
The coalition of cultural practitioners, scientists, conservationists, fishers and community members is working together toward protecting these precious ocean waters. It also has asked the Biden administration to visit the respective Pacific Islands to hear from stakeholders. The proposed expansion would extend the monument around two sets of islands and atolls from 50 to 200 nautical miles, the full extent of the US Exclusive Economic Zone, making the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument the largest highly protected marine protected area in the world. The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was originally established in 2009 by President George W. Bush, and expanded in 2014 by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act. The remaining areas needing full protection now are the waters surrounding Howard and Baker Islands, and Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll. Read more
Release of NOAA and BEA’s Marine Economy Satellite Account Statistics
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the official 2020 Marine Economy Satellite Account (MESA) statistics, highlighting the marine economy’s contribution to the nation’s economy through 2020. The U.S. marine economy accounted for 1.7%, or $361 billion, of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), generated $610 billion in sales, and supported 2.2 million jobs in 2020. The statistics within the account provide a comprehensive measurement of the marine contribution to the nation’s GDP. These statistics offer national estimates for all ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes-related economic activity by major industry, helping us to understand the current state of the marine economy. Explore the MESA statistics and learn morehere.
New FEMA Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection to the Coast
FEMA has released the “Guide to Expanding Mitigation: Making the Connection to the Coast.” This guide explores ways to mitigate natural hazard risks that affect coastal communities. Coastal communities have their own cultures, demographics and economies. They also have unique natural hazards such as tropical systems, winter storms, tsunamis, storm surge and coastal erosion. As coastal communities continue to grow, mitigation efforts must protect the whole community, including human and natural systems. The guide discusses the challenges coastal communities face. It also provides resources and ideas to mitigate that risk. The guide is for emergency managers, community planners, coastal and floodplain managers and other community stakeholders. View and download the guide here.
NOAA Notice of Intent to Designate Hudson Canyon As A National Marine Sanctuary
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a Notice of Intent to begin the public scoping process to consider designating a national marine sanctuary in the Hudson Canyon area approximately 100 miles off the coast of New York and New Jersey. A sanctuary designation would conserve the area’s ecosystems, promote sustainable use, and create new opportunities for scientific research, ocean education, and recreation. NOAA is accepting public comments on this Notice of Intent through August 8, 2022. There will be two virtual public scoping meetings on June 23 andAugust 3, 2022, and an in-person meetings on July 19 and 21, 2022. Learn more about the proposed sanctuary, and public scoping meetings here.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of NEWSWAVE. The issue, in honor of Ocean Month, shares examples of how DOI is contributing to the important and diverse mission for ocean stewardship. Read the issue here.
PEW Podcast: Ocean, People, Planet: A Wildlife Refuge on the Brink
The Pew Charitable Trusts released the latest episode of their After The Fact podcast which features a trip to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The refuge is losing ground to climate change and rising sea levels. Through interviews with experts - including Joseph Gordon, project director for Pew’s work on conserving marine life in the U.S.; Marcia Pradines Long, manager of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge; Kristin Thomasgard, program director with the Department of Defense; Julie M. Schablitsky, chief archaeologist at the Maryland Department of Transportation; and Kate Larson, a historian and author - they explore the threats facing this refuge because of the changing climate, and the path ahead for its environmental, cultural, and economic future. Listen here.
New Federal Environmental Justice Tracker
The Harvard Law School Environmental & Energy Law Program a Federal Environmental Justice Tracker designed to provide up-to-date information on the Biden administration’s environmental justice commitments, and progress made on those commitments. Learn more and use the Tracker here.
Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund 2020-2021 Season Request for Proposals
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established the Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund to support projects to assess, remove, and dispose of marine debris in and around coastal communities impacted hurricanes and other episodic storm events. The Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund will award approximately $3 million in grants to remove damaging marine debris from coastal areas of communities impacted by hurricanes Ida, Laura, Delta and Sally to reduce impacts to communities, industry and prevent further harm to habitats and fish and wildlife populations. Full proposals are due June 29th, 2022. Learn more here.
NFWF AnnouncesAmerica the Beautiful Challenge 2022 Request for Proposals
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), through anticipated cooperative agreements from the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is pleased to announce the launch of the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC) 2022 Request for Proposals (RFP). The ATBC vision is to streamline grant funding opportunities for new voluntary conservation and restoration projects around the United States. This Request for Proposals is a first step toward consolidating funding from multiple federal agencies and the private sector to enable applicants to conceive and develop large-scale, locally led projects that address shared funder priorities spanning public and private lands. In year one of the ATBC approximately $85 million will be awarded in nationwide funding to advance the America the Beautiful Initiative and its goals to connect and restore the lands, waters, and wildlife upon which we all depend. Proposals are due July 21, 2022. Learn more here.
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