CSO Newsletter
The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories & Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.
Spotlight on Coastal Management
May is American Wetlands Month
Wetlands are important to our Nation’s ecological, economic, and social health. Coastal wetlands, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, provide important ecosystem services to humans and the environment. Salt and fresh marshes, bottomland hardwood swamps, and mangroves are all examples of coastal wetlands. They are located in coastal watersheds, within the jurisdiction of Coastal Zone Management programs, and can extend many miles inland from the coast. These natural places provide help improve water quality, reduce flooding, provide habitat, and serve as beautiful natural places vital to local economies. Unfortunately, USFWS and NOAA estimate that these natural resources are being lost at an average rate of 80,000 acres per year. Recognizing the value and challenges facing these important ecosystems, the Coastal Management community and their partners at the federal, state, and local levels are working to preserve, restore, and enhance America's coastal wetlands. Throughout the month of May, Coastal States Organization will use their social media platforms to showcase these ongoing activities. Join us by using the hashtag #WetlandsMonth to share your stories!
Value of Coastal Wetlands - Fast Facts:
- Coastal wetlands prevented $625 million in property damages during Hurricane Sandy 
- Areas behind existing salt marshes incur fewer property damages than areas not protected.
- $23 B – the annual amount of storm surge protection provided by coastal wetlands to areas vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.
-Coastal wetlands capture and store more CO 2 per unit area than other natural systems. Blue Carbon study
- More than half of all commercially-harvested fish spend some portion in their life in coastal wetland systems where they
find shelter, food, nurseries and spawning grounds.
Photo credit: Brunswick, Georgia 
by Mike Molnar, CSO

Find more information on the work being done by the State Coastal Zone Management Programs on CSO's Publication page: www.coastalstates.org/csopublications/
In the States and Regions
East Coast and Caribbean
Puerto Rico Small Businesses and the 2017 Hurricanes
The 2018 survey was fielded from March through May 2018 and asked firms to report on their business experiences in 2017, including the impacts of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Seventy-seven percent of Puerto Rico small businesses self-identified as having incurred a loss directly from hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Puerto Rico Small Businesses and the 2017 Hurricanes report focuses on understanding those firms' challenges and responses to that impact. Read more.

CRMC to celebrate Quonochontaug Phase One restoration and elevation
To acknowledge the completion of Phase one of the Quonochontaug salt marsh restoration and enhancement project, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and project partners, as well as members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation, will be gathering for a celebration at the project site on Thursday, April 25.

The CRMC, along with the Town of Charlestown, Save The Bay, Salt Ponds Coalition, US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, RI Department of Environmental Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and contractor J. F. Brennan will be present. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will also be attending. Read more.
West Coast and Pacific
“Day in the Life of a Samoan” Gives Tourists a Taste of Island Life
The islands of American Samoa boast beautiful beaches, dense coastal villages, and a tropical paradise. Six cruise ships arrived in American Samoa in early 2018 to give more than 20 tourists an experience of local island fare, traditional storytelling and plate making, and a trip between villages by canoe. When these visitors were asked in a survey, “How much would tourists pay to participate in the excursion?” their answers averaged $75 per person, a hopeful sign for partners working to make the activity a permanent tourist attraction. The American Samoa Coastal Zone Management Program partnered with the American Samoa Visitors Bureau to carry out this pilot expedition. Read more.
Gulf of Mexico
GOMESA: Dept. of Interior Announces $214.9 Million for Gulf state Coastal Projects
U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt announced that the Department will disburse nearly $215 million in FY 2018 energy revenues to the four Gulf oil and gas producing states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and their coastal political subdivisions (CPS) – an increase of 14.3 percent over the prior year. This represents the second disbursement under Phase II of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA). The funds will be used to support coastal conservation and restoration projects, hurricane protection programs, and activities to implement marine, coastal, or conservation management plans. Read more.

Gov. Edwards Announces Partnership Between CPRA and Nicholls State to Create Coastal Center
Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Dr. Jay Clune, president of Nicholls State University and Chip Kline, head of the Coastal Protection Restoration Authority (CPRA) in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a new coastal studies center at Nicholls. The center, which will be similar to the LSU Center for River Studies, will concentrate on studying and researching the Terrebonne and Atchafalaya Basins and creating models and displays of the Atchafalaya River in order to aid in the implementation of integrated coastal protection projects in the region. Read more.

Collier County explores making its beaches wider, taller
County Manager Leo Ochs directed county beach managers in 2017 to look into making the beaches 50 feet wider and 1 foot taller. Bigger beaches are less susceptible to damage from high winds and storm surge, said Gary McAlpin, Collier County’s Coastal Zone Management director.

"History says that the more sand you have on the beach, (the more it) protects the structures behind it," he said.

The goal is to make the beaches resilient enough to withstand a 100-year storm, a measurement that refers to the estimated probability of a storm happening in any given year. Read more.
Great Lakes
Wisconsin’s Coastal Program Invests in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley
Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley was once the “Machine Shop of the World.” In the post-industrial era, the area was abandoned and unusable, creating a barrier to the city’s South Side and leaving the Menomonee River unappreciated and misused. The state’s coastal program was one of the early believers in the area’s potential and funded an initial project to address stormwater and sustainability. The program has continued to invest in the area over the past 15 years, funding the design of several public access and community education projects. As a result of these and other efforts, the area has seen a renewal with new sustainable business standards that call for living-wage jobs, open space and green infrastructure, public access amenities, new businesses, and a connection with communities across the river. Read more.

Education Program Takes Root in Illinois Classrooms
An environmental education program that started with a single pilot school has branched out and taken root. Supported by the Illinois Coastal Management Program,  Pipes and Precipitation  offers annual teacher trainings, in-school lessons, and field trips for third and sixth graders focused on the importance of Lake Michigan. From the precipitation above ground to the pipes that give us our drinking water below, this education program covers the ins and outs of our water cycle. Over the past four years, it has reached 1,500 students. Read more.

Good Neighbor Septic System Campaign Safeguards Waterways and Public Health
About 40,000 households in Indiana’s coastal counties use home septic systems, but not everyone knows how to maintain them properly. That lack of awareness can lead to costly backups and overflows that contaminate waterways with E. coli and endanger public health. A successful initiative is educating thousands of homeowners and officials on actions that keep septic systems operating safely and smoothly. Joining forces on that effort are the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lake Michigan Coastal Program, Northwest Indiana Septic System Coordination Work Group, and multiple partners. Read more.
Events & Webinars
Announcements
CSSF Board Recognizes Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings
Coastal States Stewardship Foundation recognizes the life of one of the first national champions of coastal management, former Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, who passed away April 6 at his home in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. We at CSSF are grateful for his career in public service that spanned nearly six decades – from the South Carolina State House of Representatives, to a term as the Governor of South Carolina, and finally as a U.S. Senator from 1966 until his retirement in 2005. Senator Hollings will be recalled by many for pushing economic and education reforms, but is remembered here especially for his role in helping to shape the modern era of ocean and coastal resource management. Read more.


ASFPM – Holistic Coasts – A Coastal Fellow Story
Have you ever come across a potential project idea that seemed, well…overwhelming, and wondered who might be able to complete it? We had one of those project ideas and found just the person who could take on the challenge – Jake Thickman, who as a NOAA Digital Coast Fellow, worked successfully with ASFPM and the Coastal States Organization to complete a comprehensive coastal management guidance resource in late 2018.

The culmination of Jake’s extensive research and writing resulted in the “Beyond Elevation: Exploring a Holistic Approach to Coastal Flood Risk Management” report, which has just been released on the ASFPM Flood Science Center website

The report focuses on coastal management goals, reviews federal policies and programs, presents state case studies and provides a guide to future strategies and specific actions that can be taken at the federal and state level to make progress towards coastal management policy recommendations. Read the report here.


Trump administration sidelines U.S. offshore drilling plan after court ruling
The Trump administration’s plans to expand offshore drilling are on hold after a March court ruling blocked drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told the Wall Street Journal.

The newly-confirmed secretary in an article published on Thursday said the agency’s five-year plan for oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf would be sidelined indefinitely as it waits for the case to go through the appeals process. Read more.


A Watershed Academy Webcast on Thursday, May 9, 2019 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
The  Water Data Collaborative  is an affiliation of academic, governmental, and non-profit institutions dedicated to harnessing the power of citizen-based water quality monitoring data. Since its formation in 2017, the Collaborative has been working to develop a systematic process and resources that citizen monitors can use to more effectively collect, manage, and share their data in open data repositories to inform decisions.

This webcast will be of interest to groups at every stage of the water quality monitoring process and will cover:
  • a discussion of best practices and the need for planning and implementing a study design to ensure a successful monitoring program,
  • a live demonstration of tools to visualize and simplify data management using machine-readable data, and
  • a conversation on how to conduct a GIS-based analysis that leverages existing EPA Water Quality Portaldata and other data sources to inform on-the-ground watershed restoration efforts.
Register at the Watershed Academy webcast website at:  www.epa.gov/watershedacademy/watershed-academy-webcast-seminars .


EPA Recreation Economy for Rural Communities
EPA's Office of Community Revitalization, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Northern Border Regional Commission are offering planning assistance through the new  Recreation Economy for Rural Communities  program.

Partner communities will work with a planning team to foster environmentally friendly community development and Main Street revitalization through the sustainable use of forests or other natural resources.

The application deadline is May 31, 2019.

Learn more about the program and get the application form at  https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/recreation-economy-rural-communities .


Practical Uses for Drones to Address Management Problems in Coastal Zones
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), commonly called drones, have been making increasing impacts in the maritime domain. As the capabilities of these platforms have increased, so have their contributions to maritime science, defense, and industry. Recognizing this, the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) and the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal and Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), with support from the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), convened a workshop on Practical Uses for Drones to Address Management Problems in Coastal Zones at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (WNERR) in Wells, Maine, in late 2018. The workshop was designed to facilitate sharing of information and best practices to support the rapidly expanding applications of drones in coastal management.


NOAA seeks public comment on proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA is considering a national marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario to protect historically significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources, and is holding four public meetings on the proposal.

This is the first step in the designation process, and the public can comment through July 31 on the proposed sanctuary online, by mail, or in person at the public meetings. Learn more here.


Living Shorelines Project Resources Now Available Online
Northeast Regional Ocean Council, Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS), The Nature Conservancy, and state coastal management programs throughout the Northeast recently completed work on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funded project –  Advancement of Green Infrastructure and Living Shoreline Approaches in the Northeast . During the project period from May 2016 through April 2019, project partners published a  Living Shorelines State of the Practice Report , developed a series of  profiles for living shorelines , evaluated regulatory issues associated with living shoreline practices, hosted workshops, and worked with local communities and stakeholders to advance living shoreline projects. Products and outreach materials from this multi-year effort are available on NROC’s website at:  https://www.northeastoceancouncil.org/committees/coastal-hazards-resilience/living-shorelines-group/advancingls/ . In related news, project team members will host a webinar to share resources, case studies and lessons learned from the project on June 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM (more details coming soon).


National Coastal Resilience Fund 2019 Request for Proposals
Pre-proposal Due Date: Monday, May 20, 2019 11:59 PM EST 
Full Proposal by Invite Only Due Date: Monday, July 22, 2019 11:59 PM EST

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced the National Coastal Resilience Fund for 2019. NFWF will make investments to restore and strengthen natural systems so they can protect coastal communities from the impacts of storms, floods, and other natural hazards and enable them to recover more quickly, while also enhancing habitats for important fish and wildlife populations. Learn more.


National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program was created to acquire, restore, and enhance wetlands in coastal areas through competitive matching grants to eligible State agencies. The Program is funded by revenues collected from excise taxes on sport fishing equipment, electric motors and sonar, import duties on fishing tackle, yachts and pleasure craft, and a portion of gasoline tax attributable to motorboats and small engines. Revenues are deposited into and appropriated from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

Proposals due: June 28, 2019


Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction
The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision making. Here we combine engineering, ecologic, geospatial, social, and economic tools to provide a rigorous valuation of the coastal protection benefits of all U.S. coral reefs in the States of Hawaiʻi and Florida, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We follow risk-based valuation approaches to map flood zones at 10-square-meter resolution along all 3,100+ kilometers of U.S. reef-lined shorelines for different storm probabilities to account for the effect of coral reefs in reducing coastal flooding. We quantify the coastal flood risk reduction benefits provided by coral reefs across storm return intervals using the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Bureau of Economic Analysis to identify their annual expected benefits, a measure of the annual protection provided by coral reefs. Find the report here.
Job Openings
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: gwilliams@coastalstates.org 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.
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