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:

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s Clam Garden Reclaims an Ancient Indigenous Practice on Ancestral Land

Aerial photo of a clam garden being built. There is a human chain passing rocks and boulders stretching across the middle of the image. The chain ends at the waterline where the clam garden is being constructed. The garden is a narrow wall of rocks and boulders along the waterline.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

From one set of hands to another, each rock was passed down the human chain from the beach to the sea. Some of the rocks could be held in one palm and easily passed. Others were the size of small boulders, requiring strong posture and extra exertion to settle the rocks into their place in the wall. Together, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and guests created history on the beach. In two-days, about 60 people worked to build a wall in the intertidal to become the first modern-day clam garden in the U.S.

After years of research and planning, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community laid the first rocks of their clam garden on Kiket Island in August 2022. On the first day, Swinomish Tribal members worked to assemble the wall’s foundation. On day two, the Tribe invited members of their broader community to participate in the effort, including funders and partners, such as Washington Sea Grant (WSG). “Gathering like this is important to us,” said the late Larry Campbell (wanaseah), a Swinomish tribal Elder and community health specialist. “I want to thank each and every one of you that is here to witness our work. We hope we can all develop this process so that it can become a model for the rest of the world.”

Clam gardening is an Indigenous practice among Northwest coastal communities for more than 4,000 years in which habitat modifications sustainably increase shellfish production and species diversity. As the oceans continue to warm and grow more acidic, clam gardens have the potential to mitigate stressors in the salt water, and strengthen community resilience by securing connections and bolstering access to traditional foods that are vulnerable to these environmental changes. The clam garden’s rock wall will create an intertidal terrace in which marine life can find nutrients and shelter. “Ecological studies have documented significantly higher densities of native littleneck and butter clams in historic clam gardens compared to unmodified beaches,” explained Courtney Greiner, a marine ecologist for the Swinomish Tribe. Read more here.

From CSO

PODCAST: BRIC by BRIC: Building Disaster Resilience with FEMA's New Funding Initiative

On The Capitol Beach, Derek Brockbank hosts Camille Crain, the⁠ Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC)⁠ section chief within the ⁠Hazard Mitigation Assistance⁠ Division at FEMA. Only authorized 5 years ago, BRIC has quickly become one of the (if not the singular) biggest federal funding programs for resilience to natural hazards, in large part due to its funding coming directly from post-disaster funding. Specifically, 6% of Stafford Act disaster funding is now set aside for BRIC to improve resilience in communities pre-disaster. Even though BRIC is too new to have a fully a constructed project to its credit, the program is evolving to better support underserved communities, implement nature-based solutions, and provide technical assistance to communities unable to fully develop their own resilience project applications. BRIC currently has a ⁠funding opportunity⁠ of $1 Billion -- together with a $800 million opportunity from its “sister program”, Flood Mitigation Assistance -- with state applications due to FEMA on Feb. 29, 2024. All community applicants need to be part of state submissions, so individual applications will be due to their states’ hazard mitigation or emergency management office earlier. The next BRIC opportunity is anticipated for fall of 2024. Listen here.

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe's Return to the River

The Upper Mattaponi Tribe will preserve and protect 853 acres of culturally significant territory within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, honoring the tribe’s heritage and rekindling its role as environmental steward. The tribe, with assistance from local partners, completed the Mattaponi River acquisition, marking the tribe’s first return to the river that shares its name and ancestral culture. This visionary initiative, known as the Return to the River program, is restoring vital habitats, including wetlands, forests, native grasslands, and streams on the site of a former sand and gravel mine. By seamlessly connecting this newly conserved expanse with over 3,000 acres of previously protected land along the Mattaponi River, the tribe is poised to enhance the well-being of culturally significant fish, wildlife, and plants through habitat restoration. Read more here.

Shinnecock Kelp Farmers to Expand Long Island, NY Kelp Farm

The Shinnecock Kelp Farmers, a multi-generational, women-led non-profit, is expanding their kelp hatchery and farm in Southampton, NY—the first Indigenous-owned and operated kelp farm on the East Coast. Leveraging knowledge drawn from a more than 10,000-year relationship with the sea and seaweed, the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers intend to expand the hatchery so that kelp can be grown for its many ecologically restorative water-quality, habitat and climate benefits. Eventually, they plan to sustainably harvest the kelp at scale to provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional fertilizer. Empowered by a responsibility to protect the water with which their traditions are intertwined, the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers began work on their kelp farm hatchery in 2020 to revive Shinnecock Bay. By developing a business model that is Indigenous-led from “seed to sale,” the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers also hope to create and sustain green jobs that empower the Shinnecock Tribal community, help restore marine habitat and improve water quality in Shinnecock Bay and beyond. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

Restoring Louisiana Marshes: Protecting Sacred Sites, Increasing Tribal Resilience, and Reducing Flood Risk

Over the past century, extractive energy industries have dug more than 35,000 canals in southeast Louisiana, resulting in 10,000 miles of disrupted wetlands. More than three-fourths of these canals are no longer in use; however, they were not filled back in. The abandoned canals have resulted in extreme land loss, as pictured to the right. The initial dredging of the canals converted 16 percent of the Louisiana wetlands to open water, but today the network of canals created by the oil and gas industry is ranked among the primary causes of coastal land loss by the United States Geological Survey. For Indigenous coastal communities, land loss poses a series of unique threats. Sacred sites, such as burial sites may soon be eroded. Traditional ways of life, such as shrimping, fishing, and subsistence farming, are becoming increasingly unsustainable. If marsh ecosystems are not restored soon, many tribal members will be forced to leave their ancestral lands. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive and effective solution: backfilling canals. Backfilling involves pushing the material dug up to form the canal back into the canal. Over time, backfilled canals restore marsh ecosystems and prevent future wetland loss. Learn more here.

Miccosukee Tribe Works to Protect the Tree Islands of the Everglades

The film highlights the cultural and ecological importance of the tree islands of the Everglades. The PBS documentary, The Secret Islands of the Everglades was filmed by Miccosukee Tribal elder Betty Osceola. Tree islands are patches of elevated lands that provide some of the only dry lands in the region. They serve as critical habitat for wildlife acting as safe havens for a diversity of plants, small mammals, and even large predators. In the early 1900s, people began to alter the hydrology of the Everglades. By draining some lands for agriculture and development, others were flooded. Now tree islands are threatened by both drought and flooding. Long-term flooding can kill an island’s tree populations and the loss of root structures results in erosion causing the loss of the island completely. These islands hold cultural importance for the Miccosukee and the Tribe’s scientists are doing some of the first work to understand the role of tree islands in the Everglades. Learn more and watch the film here.

Great Lakes

Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission Released the Second Version of Their Vulnerability Assessment, entitled Aanji-bimaadiziimagak o’ow aki

Aanji bimaadiziimagak o’ow aki, the second version of the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) Vulnerability Assessment, is an attempt to weave together Traditional and Scientific Ecological Knowledge (SEK) to examine the climate change vulnerability of a set of beings in the upper Midwest Ceded Territories by the mid-21st century. The assessment is divided into several parts: 1) an introduction, including an explanation of treaty rights and the origins and goals of the GLIFWC Climate Change Program; 2) a section on projected climate change impacts to the Ceded Territories and examples of impacts on cultural practices; 3) a methods section describing how the assessment was conducted, including a description of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) interviews and the use of the NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index; 4) a results section, with a summary of results from all beings in the assessment; 5) a discussion section that explores different themes found in the assessment and outlines next steps; and 6) a series of pages for each of the beings in the assessment, containing information from TEK and SEK on how each might be impacted by climate change. The assessment is meant as a resource for GLIFWC’s member tribes and their tribal and non-tribal partners, to help them prepare for upcoming changes and to help them care for those who take care of us. Read the assessment here.

Michigan Wild Rice Initiative works Toward Statewide Tribal-State Manoomin Stewardship Plan as Nation’s First ‘Native Grain’ Designation is Bestowed

More than 70 partners from across Michigan gathered earlier this year in Roscommon at a two-day workshop to provide input on the draft Michigan Tribal-State Manoomin Stewardship Plan. The MWRI and U-M Water Center, who have partnered to develop the stewardship plan, organized the workshop. Participants represented tribal, state and federal agencies, elders, and ricers from tribal communities, as well as individuals from a wide variety of local governments/boards, colleges, and non-governmental organizations. Michigan’s wild rice, Zizania palustris and Zizania aquatica, is native to the Great Lakes region and portions of Canada. It was recently designated the state’s native grain. Found in shallow waters of inland lakes, slow-flowing streams, and Great Lakes embayments, wild rice has ecological, social, cultural and economic value in the state, specifically and most particularly for Anishinaabe communities in the region, who know the plant as manoomin or mnomin. Once plentiful throughout Michigan, wild rice is under threat from climate change, habitat loss, uninformed harvesting practices, degraded water quality and other factors. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

Indigenous Land Trust Empowers Women to Reclaim and Restore Ancestral Land

In East Oakland, California, traditional and medicinal plants like sage, tobacco and mugwort grow on a quarter acre of land alongside fruits and vegetables. For Corrina Gould, it’s a piece of her tribe’s ancestral homelands. Gould is the tribal chair for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, a tribe not recognized by the federal government. When that quarter acre was returned to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust — an organization Gould co-founded with other Indigenous women — it was the first step in a vision to reclaim Indigenous land, a process called rematriation. The organization defines rematriation as “work to restore sacred relationships between Indigenous people and our ancestral land, honoring our matrilineal societies, and in opposition of patriarchal violence and dynamics.” They want the country to move away from seeing the land and its resources as something to extract from — a practice that is often associated with men’s domination — and toward viewing the land as something to take care of. Indigenous, women-led conservation, in Gould’s view, is one way to bring that balance back to the land. Read more here.

How Far Can $25 Million Go to Relocate a Community That’s Disappearing into Alaska’s Melting Permafrost?

Niugtaq — the Yup’ik name for Newtok, Alaska — means “rustling grass” in Yugtun, the local Yup’ik language. That’s the sound you hear when you step off the small commuter plane that lands here daily. In late fall, tall dry tundra grass rustles in the wind as swans, ducks and geese paddle around the pond that fills a low spot between the runway and the village, dipping their heads into its cool muddy water. Nearly 200 people live in Newtok today, but the vast majority of them know they’re unlikely to stay here safely for much longer. Ideally, the entire community will move as soon as possible. For more than two decades, Newtok has been trying to plan for a full relocation. This fall, the Department of Interior announced a $25 million infusion of cash to the village; two other Indigenous communities have also received grants. The money is meant to help fund relocation — what the government calls “managed retreat” — for communities heavily impacted by climate change. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

December 4 - March 15, 2024

December 5, 2023

December 6-7, 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] NFWF and NOAA Announce $144 Million in Grants to Support Coastal Resilience Projects

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA announced $144 million in new grants to support natural infrastructure projects in 31 coastal states and U.S. territories. These grants will support design and implementation of projects to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and improve habitat for fish and wildlife across the U.S. The NCRF supports capacity building and larger-scale planning, design, and implementation projects to help improve community and coastal habitat resilience and reduce risks and devastating impacts of rising seas, coastal flooding, and more intense storms. The natural infrastructure projects supported by the NCRF not only buffer communities from more intense storms, they also provide vital habitat for fish and wildlife species. The projects supported by the 109 grants announced today will restore and create important coastal habitats, including salt marshes in New England and restored tidal wetlands in California, and will help Alaskan coastal communities prepare for a changing climate. Read the full announcement here and the full list of projects here.

[NEW] EPA Announces NOFO for Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grant Programs

EPA’s new Environmental and Climate Justice Community Change Grants program (Community Change Grants) has announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity for approximately $2 billion dollars in Inflation Reduction Act funds in environmental and climate justice activities to benefit disadvantaged communities through projects that reduce pollution, increase community climate resilience, and build community capacity to address environmental and climate justice challenges. These place-based investments will be focused on community-driven initiatives to be responsive to community and stakeholder input. They are designed to deliver on the transformative potential of the IRA for communities most adversely and disproportionately impacted by climate change, legacy pollution, and historical disinvestments. Technical assistance is available for eligible applicants. Applications packages must be submitted on or before Thursday, November 21, 2024 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time). For more information, please contact [email protected].

[NEW] Fifth National Climate Assessment Released, Coastal Effects Chapter

US Global Change Research Program delivered it's fifth National Climate Assessment to Congress. The assessment includes a "Coasts" chapter. Key messages from the chapter are coastal hazards are increasing due to accelerating sea level rise and changing storm patterns; coastal impacts on people and ecosystems are increasing due to climate change; and, adaptation reduces risk and provides additional benefits for coastal communities. Read the full chapter as well as explore the rest of the report here.

[NEW] Urban Ocean Lab Publishes Key Findings from Fifth National Climate Assessment

To help coastal cities ground their climate plans in the most up-to-date science, Urban Ocean Lab has released a new resource with key findings from the recently published Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5). NCA5 shows that climate impacts to coastal cities are intensifying, but there are many opportunities to accelerate mitigation and adaptation efforts. The memo summarizes key findings and puts forward actionable policy recommendations to help coastal cities rapidly shift to transformative adaptation, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and prioritize equity-centered approaches to climate action. Read the memo here.

[NEW] NFWF Announces $141.3 Million in Grants from the America the Beautiful Challenge

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) joined its public partners today in announcing $141.3 million in grants through the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC). The 74 new grants announced today will support landscape-scale conservation projects across 46 States, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal and Native Nations. The grants will generate at least $12 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $153 million. ATBC grants support projects that conserve, restore and connect habitats for wildlife while improving community resilience and access to nature. These projects will enable states, Tribal Nations, U.S. territories, nonprofits, academic institutions, and other grantees to develop and implement multijurisdictional, high-priority restoration projects on both public and private lands. Read more here.

[NEW] Call for Abstracts: New Jersey Coastal and Climate Resilience Conference

The New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection invite you to submit an abstract to be considered for presentation at the 2024 New Jersey Coastal & Climate Resilience Conference. We welcome abstracts addressing issues related to the following focus issues and topics:

  • Municipal Support for Resilience Planning
  • Communicating Climate Science & Impacts
  • Climate Science
  • Coastal Research
  • Coastal Flooding & Storms
  • Coastal Ecosystem Restoration for Resilience
  • Beneficial Use of Sediments
  • Wildlife Impacts due to Climate Change
  • Coastal Invasive Species
  • Coastal Lake Protection and Restoration
  • Offshore Wind

All abstracts must be submitted by close of business Friday, December 15, 2023. Learn more and submit your abstract here.

[NEW] American Planning Association Releases Analysis of State Resilience Approaches

A new APA analysis explores governance features states are using to address flood, disaster, and climate resilience issues. Learn which states have created new organizational structures or made new resilience planning commitments. Support for this project provided by The Pew Charitable Trust. Learn more here.

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.

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.

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].

BOEM Studies Plan Solicitation

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.

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.

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

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

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 Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research - Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs and Administration

[NEW] Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center - Biologist

2024 William M. Lapenta Student Internship Program

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] Environmental Defense Fund - Manager, Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds

[NEW] Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health - 2024 Climate Justice Fellows Program

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

[NEW] The Center for Coastal Studies - Marine Debris Operations Assistant

[NEW] Reef Environmental Education Foundation - Marine Conservation Fellow

[NEW] Restore America's Estuaries - Manager, Communications and Government Affairs

Restore America's Estuaries - Associate, Programs

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.

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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