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:

California Mandates Coastal Cities Plan for Future Sea-Level Rise

A bird's eye view photograph of the California Coast. The left side is a mobile home park with dozens of homes neatly lined up. The mobile home park sit on a cliff, and the right side of the image is waves breaking on to the cliff.

Jason Doiy/Getty

For the first time in California history, all coastal cities, including those in the Bay Area, must plan for sea-level rise, a looming climate impact yet to be fully experienced. The new law — SB 272 — requires big cities like San Francisco and small towns like Strawberry along Richardson Bay to develop strategies and recommend projects to address future sea-level rise by 2034. While seas have risen only about 8 inches since the 1880s, the ocean and the bay could rise by about a foot by midcentury — thanks mainly to human-caused climate change.

Sen. John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) authored the bill recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor vetoed a similar bill last fall, noting budget constraints. Laird said his team worked with Newsom’s office to ensure there are dollars in the budget for local planning on sea-level rise. California’s final budget included $1.1 billion in investments for coastal resilience programs over multiple years.

“There are lots of discussions, and the hope is we have these discussions before it’s a crisis and before these big extreme events happen,” Laird said, referring to significant flooding from storms that sea-level rise could exacerbate. “The storms that we just had [last winter] changed the equation for people who didn’t even realize they had some of the coming impacts,” he said.

The law requires local governments to create sea-level rise plans based on the best available science, conduct vulnerability assessments — including for at-risk communities — determine adaptation strategies and sketch out a list of recommended projects with timelines.

Laird said the new law stops short of declaring exactly where state funding will come from for sea-level rise plans and adaptation projects. But the state will prioritize funding for cities and counties with plans in place, Laird said. "I expect that there will be pushback in certain places because some people are going to have to come to grips with the reality of the challenge to their homes or businesses,” he said. Read more here.

From CSO

The image is a navy blue circle on a sky blue background. Within the circle is the center-aligned text "The American Shoreline Podcast". The text is the same sky blue color as the background.

PODCAST: Federal Funding Surge: Unpacking the "Summer of Money"

In the latest episode of the American Shoreline Podcast, Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham discuss the current surge in federal funding for ocean and coastal programs, termed the "Summer of Money," with guest Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of CSO. Derek offers insights from his recent presentation at the ASBPA National Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. They cover the coastal and ocean community's reaction to this influx, the potential outcomes of these investments, and details on upcoming funding opportunities, including the NOAA Climate Resilience Regional Challenge and more. Listen here.

In the States and Territories

Gulf Coast

Mississippi Governor Reeves Announces 15 New RESTORE Act Projects Totaling More Than $44 Million

Governor Reeves today announced that he has approved more than $44 million for 15 new RESTORE Act projects for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.When implemented, these projects will add more than $44 million to the total of more than $227 million worth of restoration projects that have been approved during Governor Reeves’ administration. These 15 projects announced for 2023 are funded through the RESTORE Act and were recommended to Governor Reeves by the Governor’s Gulf Coast Advisory Committee for his consideration and selection. Among others, the new projects include revitalization of the Hancock County Fairgrounds, improvements to the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, a scenic trail along the Pascagoula River, an artificial reef project and a coastal education program for Mississippi high schools. The complete list of projects can be found below. The projects will be managed by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality through its Office of Restoration. Read more here.

Some Florida Houses Are Being Built to Survive Hurricanes, Cut Emissions

When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle five years ago, it left boats, cars and trucks piled up to the windows of Bonny Paulson’s home in the tiny coastal community of Mexico Beach, Florida, even though the house rests on pillars 14 feet above the ground. But Paulson’s home, with a rounded shape that looks something like a ship, shrugged off Category 5 winds that might otherwise have collapsed it. “I wasn’t nervous at all,” Paulson said, recalling the warning to evacuate. Her house lost only a few shingles, with photos taken after the storm showing it standing whole amid the wreckage of almost all the surrounding homes. Some developers are building homes like Paulson’s with an eye toward making them more resilient to the extreme weather that’s increasing with climate change, and friendlier to the environment at the same time. Solar panels, for example, installed so snugly that high winds can’t get underneath them, mean clean power that can survive a storm. Preserved wetlands and native vegetation that trap carbon in the ground and reduce flooding vulnerability, too. Recycled or advanced construction materials that reduce energy use as well as the need to make new material. Read more here.

Great Lakes

Muskegon Considers Buying Lakefront Parcels at Former Paper Mill for $1.5M to Enhance Public Access

City of Muskegon officials are considering purchasing 10 lakefront parcels at the former Sappi paper mill site on Muskegon Lake to increase public access on the property, which is slated for a massive mixed-use redevelopment by its pending new owner. Muskegon-based Parkland Properties is under contract to purchase the sprawling 122-acre waterfront site from a group of local philanthropists for an undisclosed price. The sale is expected to close by the end of 2023. In an effort with the city to expand public access in the project, Parkland Properties would sell 10 waterfront parcels — a portion of the overall site — for nearly $1.5 million. The Muskegon City Commission on Tuesday approved the option agreement, which gives the city exclusive rights to purchase the 10 lots and turn the land into a new public park. Read more here.

Saildrone Returns from Great Lakes Journey: A Silent Vessel's Mission to Gather Valuable Fish Population Data

An autonomous quiet vessel that has been traveling across the Great Lakes is back on dry land. Saildrone's mission to gather data began in June. We were here in Charlevoix and on last Wednesday we were fortunate enough to capture Saildrone being towed underneath the drawbridge after more than 50 days of collecting valuable data on the fish population in the Great Lakes. "We got great-quality data, it went in all the places that we needed it to. It's always subject to the wind availability. So if it's a windy day and moves quickly, and if it's not windy, it doesn't have a propeller," said Peter Esselman, United States Geological Survey Fisheries biologist. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

Scientists, Volunteers Work to Restore Oregon Kelp Forests

Oregon’s near-shore rocky reefs were once home to lush bull kelp forests that supported a bounty of high-value ground fish and the state’s largest commercial red urchin fishery—as well as other marine life that has made the Oregon coastline a tourist destination. But large swaths of the iconic marine algae have been devastated in recent years, leading to the creation of the Oregon Kelp Alliance (ORKA). And the demise of kelp in beloved places such as Nellies Cove—part of Port Orford Heads State Park in southwestern Oregon—prompted the local community to step up to help protect and restore these life-sustaining underwater forests. These “kelp forest defenders,” as one commercial fisherman has dubbed them, are helping with a project to remove purple urchin—launched in part with a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts—and with efforts to create a commercial fishery to help keep the problematic kelp grazer population in check in Oregon’s coastal waters. ORKA also is gathering data for a congressionally funded comprehensive kelp status report and recovery plan —all in service of preventing the collapse of the area’s kelp forests and putting this vital fish habitat on the road to recovery. Read more here.

Research Confirms Link Between Snow Crab Decline and Marine Heatwave

In 2022, the Alaska snow crab fishery was closed for the first time in history due to a sudden, dramatic decline in adult and juvenile crabs. Scientists now believe the most likely cause of the decline was starvation and other factors linked to the 2018-2019 marine heatwave. “During the marine heatwave, snow crabs faced a triple threat,” said lead author and Alaska Fisheries Science Center stock assessment scientist Cody Szuwalski. “Their metabolism increased, so they needed more food; their habitat was reduced so there was less area to forage; and crabs caught in our survey weighed less than usual. These conditions likely set them up for the dramatic decline we saw in 2021.” The mortality event appears to be one of the largest reported losses due to marine heatwaves among the groups of animals that include fish and crustaceans globally. Read more here.

East Coast and Caribbean

As Industry Struggles, Federal, State Offshore Wind Goals Could Get Tougher to Meet

Good news or bad news first? Because there was plenty of both last week for the fledgling U.S. offshore wind industry. On Halloween, the Biden administration announced that the nation’s largest planned offshore wind development, Dominion Energy’s 2,600 megawatt Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, received its last major federal approval. The same day, however, Danish wind giant Ørsted pulled the plug on a pair of projects (Ocean Wind 1 and 2) that were planned off the coast of New Jersey, citing climbing interest rates, inflation and “supply chain bottlenecks.” The news touched off a firestorm in New Jersey, which has set some of the most aggressive offshore wind goals in the country and gone to considerable lengths to plan the transmission upgrades needed to bring all that power ashore. The same financial headwinds have many U.S.offshore wind developers looking to renegotiate deals as the costs of their projects climb. And it’s casting some doubt on whether states and the Biden administration will be able to hit their offshore wind targets on time. Read more here.

Severe Erosion Prompts Demolition Of Condemned Nantucket Beach House

Severe erosion on Nantucket’s south shore led to the demolition Thursday morning of a beach house that had been condemned by the town over the summer. The house at 21 Sheep Pond Road was the latest victim of erosion on the island after 35 feet of the dune was lost to the waves over the past year. A storm in June undercut the southeast corner of the home, causing the deck to collapse into the sand. On Thursday morning, it took a Toscana Corp. excavator less than an hour to bring the beach house down and reduce it to rubble.Sheep Pond Road has been an erosion hotspot on Nantucket for many years, with numerous homes having succumbed to erosion. 13 years ago, the late Gene Ratner lost his long battle with the waves when his home at 19 Sheep Pond Road collapsed into the ocean. Today, the entirety of Ratner’s property is now submerged. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

November 12-16, 2023

November 15, 2023

November 16-17, 2023

February 12-15, 2024

February 23-24, 2024

March 12-14, 2024

May 12-16, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series


[NEW] National Ocean Service Releases New Five Year Strategic Plan

NOS is stepping into a larger role relative to filling our nation’s needs for data, products, and services that protect our ecosystems and enhance climate and economic resilience. The newly released NOS Strategic Plan focuses on four overarching goals: increase U.S. coastal resilience, make equity central to our mission, accelerate growth of the Ocean Enterprise and the Blue Economy, and conserve, restore, and connect healthy coastal and marine ecosystems. Read the plan here.

[NEW] 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.

[NEW] BOEM Studies Plan Solicitation – Deadline Dec. 7

BOEM is beginning to formulate its Fiscal Year 2025-2026 Studies Development Plan covering all BOEM energy and minerals activities. BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program (ESP) develops annual two-year studies plans compiling brief project descriptions and evaluations. BOEM has solicited study ideas for consideration in Alaska, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific OCS areas. Study idea submissions may be submitted by email to [email protected] until Thursday December 7, 2023.

[NEW] Virginia Sea Grant, USDA, and NOAA Launch Aquaculture Information Exchange Online Community Platform

The Aquaculture Information Exchange (AIE) online community platform website is now live and open for new user registrations. Launched Oct. 26, the AIE is an online community involving individuals from both the public and private sectors with interests in U.S. aquaculture and related topics. The AIE will serve as a communications platform, actively being moderated to facilitate discussions about current issues facing the industry, the latest research and developments in aquaculture, and will be a space where users from across the nation can connect with other members of the aquaculture community.

[NEW] Deep South Center for Environmental Justice to Offer Free Environmental Career Worker Training

The Deep South Center for Environmental (DSCEJ) is currently accepting applications for the 2024 Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP) which will begin on January 8th and conclude in mid-March 2024. This comprehensive 12-week program, funded by the NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program (ECWTP), focuses on delivering environmental and construction training and offers certifications/accreditations in areas such as asbestos, lead, and mold remediation/restoration, hazardous materials/waste handling, and OSHA construction safety. Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be assisted with job placement. The DSCEJ ECWTP has an average job placement rate of 85-90% with average earnings of $17 - $20 per hour. Eligible participants must be unemployed or underemployed. Testing and interviewing will take place from November 1 through December 22, 2023. To apply, please visit www.dscej.org/ecwtp. For more information, please contact Jeremy Davis, Worker Training Program Manager, at [email protected].

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Holds Hearing on Sackett Descion

The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing this week on the implications of Sackett v. EPA for Clean Water Act protections of wetlands and streams. There was testimony from Dr. Mažeika Patricio Sulliván, Director of Clemson's Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science; Kourtney Revels a justice organizer from Bayou City Waterkeeper; and Susan Bodine a partner with Earth & Water Law. Watch the hearing and read written testimony here.

EPA Provides Toolkit to State and Local Governments on Community Engagement

The “Capacity Building Through Effective Meaningful Engagement Booklet” is a tool intended to help create or expand plans for engaging meaningfully with communities. No two approaches to meaningful engagement will be exactly alike. The EPA hope this tool helps spark ideas on how to build trust within communities through meaningful engagement.

Azul Publishes Article on Coastal Justice Lessons

Azul, a Latinx-led and serving grassroots environmental justice organization, has published an article entitled Coastal Justice: Lessons from the Frontlines. Co-authored by Marce Gutierrez-Graudiņš, the article highlights lessons learned from the frontlines of the movement for coastal justice. It provides guidance for federal and state programs to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities and pursue responsible governance that "avoids community erasure, accounts for variance in community formation and racialization, and ensures community ownership over process and systems." It calls for the necessary reversal of "historical injustices that are magnified by ongoing policies and practices," and the need to "re-articulate what it means to integrate environmental justice principles within state and federal policy.” Read the full article here. And learn more about Azul, the only U.S. ocean conservation organization in the nation to focus specifically in working with Latinx communities to protect the ocean and coasts, here

NOAA Releases FY2024 Federal Opportunity for Effects of Sea Level Rise Program

For this opportunity, the ESLR Program is soliciting proposals to improve adaptation and planning in response to regional and local effects of sea level rise (SLR) and coastal inundation (storm surge, nuisance flooding, and/or wave actions) through targeted research on nature-based solutions (NBS), modeling of physical and biological processes, and testing mitigation strategies for implementation. The overall goal of the ESLR Program is to facilitate informed adaptation planning and coastal management decisions through funding multidisciplinary research that results in integrated models capable of evaluating vulnerability and resilience under multiple SLR, inundation, and management scenarios. The opportunity has two focal areas; General Coastal Resilience and Alaska Regional Coastal Resilience. A more detailed summary of the two focal areas can be found below. A letter of intent is required to submit a full proposal. The letter of intent (LOI) is due by Monday November 13, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET, while full proposals will be due by Wednesday January 24, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET. The LOI is for guidance purposes only, and all teams that submit a LOI may submit a full proposal. Please see the funding announcement for information on the requirements and process for submitting a LOI and full proposal. There will be an informational webinar at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, October 6. See registration link below. If you are not able to make the webinar, a recording will be available on the ESLR website after the event.

NOAA Marine Debris Program Releases Two New Funding Opportunities

The NOAA Marine Debris Program announced two Fiscal Year 2024 Notices of Funding Opportunity for both Marine Debris Removal and Interception Technologies under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These are two separate funding opportunities, and they have different application requirements. Applicants wishing to compete under both funding opportunities must submit separate letters of intent (LOI) for each. Applicants who submit successful LOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal following the LOI review period. The NOAA Marine Debris Program will award up to $28 million across the two funding opportunities. The Marine Debris Interception Technologies letters of intent deadline is Wednesday November 15, 2023, and an applicant webinar will be offered on September 13, 2023 at 3:00 PM ET (registration required).

NOAA Calls for Nominations to the Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee

NOAA is soliciting applications for membership on the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System Advisory Committee. The Committee provides advice on the planning, integrated design, operation, maintenance, enhancement, and expansion of the United States Integrated Ocean Observing System (U.S. IOOS). U.S. IOOS promotes research to develop, test, and deploy innovations and improvements in coastal and ocean observation technologies and modeling systems, addresses regional and national needs for ocean information, gathers data on key coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes variables and ensures timely and sustained dissemination and availability of these data for societal benefits. Nominations should be submitted by Tuesday January 2, 2024 via email. Read the full call for nominations here.

Job Openings

In The States

Washington Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance

- Shoreline Mapping Scientist (Natural Resource Scientist 3)

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

Guam Coastal Management Program - Special Projects Coordinator

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

Margaret A. Davidson Fellowship

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, West Coast Region - Fish Biologist/Natural Resource Specialist

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Resource Evaluation and Assessment Division - Management and Program Analyst

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service - Management and Program Analyst

2024 William M. Lapenta Student Internship Program

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] Restore America's Estuaries - Associate, Programs

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

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

Texas Sea Grant - Director

New York Sea Grant - Communications Specialist

The Nature Conservancy - Northeast Division Director

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.

Please note: CSO reserves final decision regarding published newsletter content and may not use all information submitted.

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