CSO Newsletter
The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.
Spotlight on Coastal Management:
Illinois Boosts Ecology and Community along Lake Michigan Industrial Corridor
The Illinois Coastal Management Program co-founded the Calumet Conservation Compact to reconnect Americans to a rich wetlands ecosystem along Lake Michigan, areas of which had been polluted or neglected by past industrial development, through conservation, restoration, and recreation activities. The Collaboration is working to restore habitat, expand multiuse trails, increase access to paddling adventures, and more.

The Collaboration has restored 1,166 acres of habitat. The state’s coastal management program also provided support and staffing for two projects that convert obsolete rail lines into multiuse trails. The Cal-Sag Trail eventually will run 26 miles and connect to five regional trails near marinas and nature preserves. The 7.6-mile Major Taylor Trail links several Chicago southwest-side neighborhoods. Coming later in 2021 is a kayak landing at Chicago’s William W. Powers State Recreation Area that will reflect Americans with Disabilities Act specifications. Finally, two grants by the Illinois Coastal Management Program are helping the Illinois International Port District strengthen its degraded infrastructure and operations.

Learn more here.
In the States and Regions
West Coast and Pacific
BOEM Issues First US West Coast Wave Lease
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a lease for the first wave energy research project in federal waters off the US West Coast. The federal marine hydrokinetic energy (MHK) research lease was offered to Oregon State University (OSU) for the PacWave South project, a proposed open ocean wave energy test centre. This will be located approximately six nautical miles off Newport, Oregon. Wave energy converters that will be tested at PacWave South are floating or underwater devices that are moored to the seafloor and capture energy from the moving waves. Read more

California Ocean Protection Council Approves $8 Million in Grants to Improve Resilience to Sea-Level Rise Along the Coast
The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) this week approved 15 grants totaling more than $8 million in Proposition 68 funds for projects that will build coastal resilience in the face of sea-level rise. These projects, which include planning, research and construction, will help safeguard public health and safety, preserve biodiversity and cultural resources, and protect public access to and along the coast. They will also provide benefits to communities entitled to environmental justice, with 50 percent of the grant funding invested in projects within or near disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities. Read more
Great Lakes
Coastal Management Grant Agreement Approved
The Marquette City Commission recently approved a coastal management grant agreement for funding from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Coastal Management Program. At its Feb. 8 regular meeting, the commission voted 7-0 to approve the grant agreement and a corresponding budget adjustment. The grant money, awarded by EGLE in October, will be used to help fund the city’s ongoing coastal restoration initiatives. Funds will go toward planning, design and restoration within the project area along Lakeshore Boulevard, city documents state. The city requested $200,000 from EGLE to go toward the total project cost of $402,851, and also has a 50.35% match. Read more

Release Of Nutrients From Lake-Bottom Sediments Worsens Lake Erie's Annual 'Dead Zone'
Robotic laboratories on the bottom of Lake Erie have revealed that the muddy sediments there release nearly as much of the nutrient phosphorus into the surrounding waters as enters the lake's central basin each year from rivers and their tributaries. Excessive phosphorus, largely from agricultural sources, contributes to the annual summer cyanobacteria bloom that plagues Lake Erie's western basin and the central basin's annual "dead zone," an oxygen-starved region that blankets several thousand square miles of lake bottom and that reduces habitat for fish and other organisms. The release of phosphorus from Lake Erie sediments during periods of low oxygen -- a phenomenon known as self-fertilization or internal loading -- has been acknowledged since the 1970s. But the new University of Michigan-led study marks the first time the process has been monitored step by step for an entire season using lake-bottom sensors. Read more
Gulf Coast
Biloxi Wade-ins Were Part Of A National Movement. A Virtual Panel Tells The Story.
During the civil rights movement, Biloxians were far from the only Americans who protested for equal access to beaches. They joined Black people in southern cities like Miami and St. Augustine, and northern towns like Madison, Connecticut, to demand— and win — the right to visit their local beaches. That national history, and Biloxi’s critical role in the story, was the topic of a virtual panel on Monday evening, organized by the Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida, “Still Waters Run Deep: The Fight for Beach Access Across America” will bring together historians, curators, and Biloxi wade-in participant Bishop James Black. Read more

How Much Carbon Can Louisiana's Wetlands Hold? New Study Aims To Find Out
Louisiana's marshes are masters at capturing carbon from the air, locking it in the soil beneath the water's surface where it won't disturb the atmosphere or the climate. They act as a huge carbon sink along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, steadily accumulating more gas than they emit. That ability will become increasingly valuable as the state moves toward the carbon neutrality goals set last year by Gov. John Bel Edwards. He has his eyes set on zero net emissions by 2050. A new study seeks to quantify just how much carbon is already sequestered by the state's coastal habitats and to develop a methodology for calculating the carbon benefits and costs of coastal restoration projects. Read more
East Coast and Caribbean
Atlantic Beach Council Signs Off On Draft Restoration and Resiliency Plan
Town officials have agreed to a draft plan for protecting and restoring water quality and reducing stormwater runoff, and the plan now goes to state officials for approval. The Atlantic Beach Town Council met for its regular meeting. During the meeting, the council received a presentation from town staff and consultants on a draft watershed restoration and stormwater resiliency plan, which the council unanimously approved for submission to the N.C. Division of Water Resources. Stormwater runoff is the biggest non-point source of water pollution on the North Carolina coast. While washing over impervious surfaces, it picks up pollutants and carries them to local water bodies, a problem exacerbated by increasing property development. Read more

North Carolina’s Seagrass Habitat Is Declining, State-Federal Partnership Data Show
The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) has published a report showing a net loss in the extent of high-salinity submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) habitat in North Carolina’s sounds between 2006 and 2013. Also known as seagrass or underwater grasses, this valuable natural resource improves water quality, decreases shoreline erosion, and is an essential habitat for many fishery and wildlife species.
While the data also confirm that the state possesses the largest acreage of seagrass along the east coast of the United States, around 100,000 acres, the overall extent of seagrass meadows in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary decreased by 5,686 acres or 5.6% between 2006 and 2013 despite the availability of suitable habitat for expansion of the resource. Read more
Events & Webinars
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Awards for 33 New National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program Projects
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will award more than $27 million to support 33 projects in 14 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance almost 28,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. State, local and tribal governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute more than $22.2 million in additional funds to these projects. These grants will have wide-reaching benefits for local economies, people and wildlife – boosting coastal resilience, reducing flood risk, stabilizing shorelines and protecting natural ecosystems. Learn more here.

Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grants
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) today announced it is seeking applicants for the FY 2021 round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program to fund transportation projects of national and regional significance that are in line with the Biden Administration’s principles for national infrastructure projects that result in good-paying jobs, improve safety, apply transformative technology, and explicitly address climate change and racial equity. The funding available for this year’s grants totals approximately $889 million. For the first time, the USDOT seeks INFRA projects that address climate change and environmental justice. The NOFO will remain open through Friday, March 19, 2021. More information on the NOFO and informational webinars is available here.

2021 Call for Proposals Great Lakes Research Consortium Small Grants Program
This small grants program provides seed funding for new, cooperative projects that improve our understanding of, and/or management of, New York's Great Lakes basin. The program supports collaborative projects and grant awards that can be used for basic or applied research and project planning that will lead to larger projects. Routine monitoring and one-time site-specific infrastructure projects are not appropriate topics for this RFP. Proposals are due March 1, 2021. Learn more and apply here.

NOAA Sea Grant & Ocean Acidification Program Funding Opportunity: Shellfish Aquaculture Partnerships
The National Sea Grant Office and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program are funding a joint competition to fund proposals that seek to establish, continue, and/or expand collaborations between researchers and the shellfish aquaculture industry. Specifically, applications to this competition should utilize new or existing research/industry partnerships to study how ocean and coastal acidification in combination with other stressors impacts shellfish aquaculture. Applications must include at least one researcher and one shellfish grower acting as co-Principal Investigators, and the proposed work must utilize a co-production of knowledge framework. Total funding for this competition includes up to $2,000,000 in federal funds to support 2-6 projects. Each project will be funded at the approximate level of $100,000 - $300,000 per year for 1-3 years. Applications are due March 16, 2021. Learn more here.

Coastal and Estuarine Research Foundation Scientific Awards Nominations
Help CERF recognize excellence among colleagues, mentors, and former students and nominate them for a CERF Scientific Award. The nomination deadline is April 7, 2021. Learn more and submit nominations here.
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