CSO Newsletter

The Coastal States Organization represents the nation’s Coastal States, Territories, and Commonwealths on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resource issues.

Having trouble opening links? View this on our website:


Visit our Website

Spotlight on Coastal Management:

Secretary Haaland Visits New Hampshire to Launch New Salt Marsh Restoration Initiative

Snow-covered Fairhill Marsh at Odiorne Point served as the backdrop Tuesday for a member of the Biden administration touting its salt marsh preservation efforts and other conservation priorities nationwide.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the country’s first Native American cabinet secretary and a former New Mexico congresswoman, visited the site alongside local and state environmental advocates. A previously announced $2 billion federal funding pool, part of President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful Challenge, will be dedicated to projects across America centered on salt marsh preservation and eight other “keystone initiatives,” Haaland said.

When complete, leaders hope the at-risk saltmarsh sparrow, a bird found mostly in coastal marsh habitats, can return in the spring and flourish at Odiorne Point.

“Through targeted investments and local collaboration, this new salt marsh keystone initiative will help to protect the more than 44 million Americans who live on the Atlantic coast from coastal flooding, safeguard important wildlife such as the saltmarsh sparrow, and foster partnerships across federal, tribal and local governments,” Haaland said Tuesday. “I always say nature is our best ally in our fight against climate change. We have an obligation to our world, to these ecosystems, and together we can build a future in which we respect nature, restore balance to our environments and value every living creature on this planet.”

In November, the Biden administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced more than $141 million in grants for public-private conservation projects. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services received $2 million of those funds for three salt marsh projects, including restoration efforts at the 62-acre Fairhill Marsh, ditch remediation at the Hampton Seabrook Estuary salt marsh, and drainage at Philbrick Pond Salt Marsh in North Hampton.

Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by tidal salt water, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“As the climate crisis threatens biodiversity, wildlife communities and their economies everywhere, investing in our landscapes and expanding nature-based solutions are critical to maintaining that connection to the land for future generations,” Haaland said. Read more here.

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

Port of Virginia Becomes First 100 Percent Clean Energy Port on East Coast

On Jan. 1, the Port of Virginia announced it had achieved its goal of being powered by 100 percent Clean Energy, eight years ahead of schedule. The announcement makes the port the first one on the East Coast to power all of its terminals from clean energy sources. And the achievement eight years ahead of schedule will accelerate the port’s goal of being carbon-neutral by 2040, officials said. “Virginia is the first major US East Coast port to power its entire operation using 100 percent clean electricity,” Stephen A. Edwards, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority (VPA), said. “Our cargo operations and overall performance are world-class, and we are advancing sustainability goals that are aligned with how we operate. This is a modern approach to meeting our environmental targets and we are setting ourselves apart as a result.” Read more here.

NC State Program Aims to Build Belonging, Increase Diversity in Marine Sciences While Aiding Oyster Sanctuaries

To combat the loss of these natural water filters and their vibrant habitats, the North Carolina Coastal Federation has been establishing oyster sanctuaries. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finalized a grant of more than $14 million dollars to aid these efforts. But establishing new reefs isn’t enough. Marine biologists have to make sure the oyster restoration efforts are actually working. The Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, or CMAST, is leading the new NOAA-funded oyster project. CMAST director and professor Dave Eggleston said about $1.2 million will fund four graduate students in the program for three years, plus three undergraduate students each summer. While these students will monitor the ecological performance of restored reefs, Eggleston said the program has another goal for his profession. “It's not very diverse,” Eggleston said. “What we see in general is the more diverse the population, the better the ideas, so that's what's driving this.” Read more here.

Gulf Coast

Beach Re-Nourishment Continues Along Alabama Coast

For those planning trips to Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast for spring break or summer vacation, expect to see an abundance of change for the better, including beach re-nourishment projects at the East End of Dauphin Island and in Baldwin County from west of Little Lagoon Pass all the way to the Florida-Alabama line. “It is great to see our beach being re-nourished. From the Florida line through Gulf State Park and Gulf Shores to west of Little Lagoon Pass, the beaches in Baldwin County are getting several million cubic yards of fresh, clean sand,” said Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship. The engineered beach renourishment projects involve pumping more than three million cubic yards of sand from nearshore areas onto the Alabama beaches. Those projects, which also include raising the sand dune heights, planting vegetation and building sand fences, are partially funded by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration), the NFWF (National Fish and Wildlife Foundation) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), and from state and local dollars. Read more here.

Recovery Agencies Should Proactively Plan for Community Relocation Before and After Climate Disasters, Says New Report

 Federal agencies such as FEMA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and state and local agencies should proactively plan for community relocation due to environmental risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. For successful relocation, community input should drive the planning process, and policies at the federal, state, and local levels should focus on prioritizing well-being and the establishment of equitable decision-making processes. Between 1980 and mid-2023, 232 billion-dollar disasters occurred in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, with the number of disasters doubling annually since 2018. The variety and frequency of storms have exacerbated historic inequalities and led to cycles of displacement and chronic stress in communities. As disaster recovery costs escalate, state and local governments cannot keep up, while federal recovery programs fall short of state requests for assistance. The new National Academies report focuses on the Gulf Coast region and examines how people and infrastructure relocate and how policies and processes need to support Gulf Coast communities in relocation. Read more here.

Great Lakes

Western Lake Erie Vanishes After Blizzard Winds Cause Seiche

A Great Lake that went missing in Michigan and Ohio this weekend was found swollen and angry after unexpected travel to New York.Lake Erie rose about 4.5-feet in Buffalo on Saturday, Jan. 13 when a blizzard that swept across the upper Midwest caused a tidal-like phenomenon called a seiche. The water came from Toledo, Ohio; where the lake dropped about 5.5-feet on the western end, resulting in an overall difference of 10.1 feet, according to federal data. Photos from Ohio show an entirely exposed lakebed at Cullen Park along the Maumee River mouth in Toledo. An apparent shipwreck with what appears to be a zebra mussel-encrusted cannon was found on the shoreline near Oregon. The receding lake exposed rock formations along South Bass Island which are normally hidden under several feet of water. On the Buffalo end, videos show large waves pounding the shore. “Wind has to be incredibly powerful and strong in order to push up all that water all the way across the surface of the lake,” said Lauren Schifferle, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Buffalo. The National Weather Service recorded sustained winds of 41 miles-per-hour (mph) in Buffalo with gusts up to 65-mph, according to the Army Corps. That wind caused a “seiche,” (pronounced saysh), during which standing water is pushed from one end of the lake to another, resulting in a type of oscillating wave that’s likened to water sloshing back and forth in a bathtub. Read more here.

Early Record-Low Great Lakes Ice Coverage Does Not Necessarily Signal Record-Low Final Extent Later in the Season

Well above average temperatures across the Great Lakes in December, paired with the lack of any major Arctic air blasts across the region early in the winter season, led to record-low ice coverage to start the year. Ice coverage for the entire basin was a measly 0.35 percent on January 1, the lowest ice coverage since records at NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) began in 1973, and well under the historical average of nearly 10 percent for that date. But low ice cover early in the season doesn’t always mean the whole season will be low. For example, 2019 started the year with only 3.9 percent ice coverage and ended up with a maximum ice extent of 80.9 percent, which is well above the average of 53 percent. However, 2002, which also began the year with nearly 3 percent ice coverage, holds the record for lowest maximum ice extent at only 11.8 percent, proving just how volatile and unpredictable ice coverage can be year to year. Since the start of this year, ice coverage has risen to nearly 7 percent, as of January 16. A large chunk of the freezing has occurred in recent days due to a major cold snap that has engulfed much of the United States in bitterly cold temperatures. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.2 Million to Support Tribal Disaster Planning in Southwest Washington State

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million grant to the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, Tokeland, Washington, to prepare local infrastructure for natural disasters. This grant will support the development of a Master Community Relocation Plan to move Tribal facilities away from potential natural disaster conditions and ensure the Tribe’s economic stability. “President Biden’s Investing In America agenda is about providing all communities with the opportunities and resources they need to thrive in today’s economy, including tribal communities in Washington state and across the nation This administration is,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will help ensure the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe has the resources they need to make tribal facilities more resilient to natural disasters and improve their economic security. Read the full announcement here.

New Study Shows Sea Otters Helped Prevent Widespread California Kelp Forest Declines over the Past Century

Monterey Bay Aquarium researchers strengthen the link between sea otters and long-term health of California kelp forests in a new study released today. The paper, published in the journal PLOS Climate, finds that sea otter population growth during the last century enhanced kelp forest resilience in the state. This finding reinforces the importance of conservation and recovery of the threatened southern sea otter and highlights a potential nature-based solution for restoring kelp forests along the California coast, and perhaps beyond. The study revealed dramatic regional kelp canopy changes over a 100-year period, from 1910 to 2016. During this time there was a significant increase in kelp forest canopy along the central coast, the only region of California where southern sea otters survived after being hunted nearly to extinction for their fur in the 1800s. At the century scale, the species' favorable impact on kelp forests along the central coast nearly compensated for kelp losses along both northern and southern California resulting in a slight overall decline statewide during this period. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

December 4 - March 15, 2024

January 31, 2024

February 7-8, 2024

February 12-15, 2024

February 23-24, 2024

March 6, 2024

March 12-14, 2024

April 3-6, 2024

May 12-16, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series


[NEW] FEMA Reforms Disaster Assistance Program to Help Survivors Recover Faster

FEMA is reforming its federal assistance policies and expanding benefits for disaster survivors to cut red tape, provide funds faster and give people more flexibility. FEMA developed these new forms of assistance based on direct feedback from survivors and in response to threats the nation faces due to our changing climate. The changes will create more equitable outcomes for all communities by increasing accessibility and eligibility for post-disaster support. FEMA has collected feedback from disaster survivors, communities, and stakeholders for decades, including public comments the agency solicited in 2021 on improving the Individual Assistance program. State partners and members of Congress have echoed these concerns and pressed for simpler, more straightforward programs to assist individuals across the country as they recover. Those shared experiences serve as the foundation of FEMA’s updates. To learn more here and here.

[NEW] National Sea Grant Law Center Accepting LOIs for 2024 Coastal Resilience Program Competition

The National Sea Grant Law Center (Law Center) is accepting applications from eligible applicants to conduct research on the effectiveness of laws and policies related to a wide range of coastal resilience issues including sea level rise, flooding, amplified storm surge, increased frequency and intensity of storms, land use, or other environmental factors, and whether those policies are achieving desired policy changes. The 2024 Coastal Resilience Program grants have a recommended funding level of $75,000, and the Law Center anticipates selecting up to two projects for funding. Matching funds will not be required. Letters of Intent must be received by 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, March 8, 2024. Full proposals must be received by 5 p.m. Central Time on Friday, June 7, 2024. The anticipated award start date is February 1, 2025. The following entities are eligible and encouraged to participate in this funding opportunity: Sea Grant Programs, institutions of higher education, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that have the ability and capacity to conduct rigorous, non-partisan law and policy research. Learn more here.

[NEW] NOAA Fisheries Releases Video on Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Clam Garden

NOAA recently worked with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and key partners, including Washington Sea Grant, to help build the first modern clam garden in the United States. Located in Skagit Bay, Washington, the garden will provide food for the community—and environmental diversity, which is important in the face of climate change. They've produced a video on what the garden means for the Swinomish community and how they will use the harvest. Read more and watch the video here.

FEMA Announces Second "Safeguarding Tomorrow RFL" Grant Program

FEMA announced its second Safeguarding Tomorrow through On-going Risk Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund program “Safeguarding Tomorrow RLF” grant program funding opportunity for $150 million. This opportunity will provide capitalization grants to eligible applicants to award low-interest loans to communities to reduce their vulnerability to disasters, foster greater resilience and reduce disaster impacts. The application period opens on Feb. 1, 2024. The funding notice is available at Grants.gov Eligible entities must apply for funding using the Non-Disaster (ND) Grants Management System (ND Grants). Applications must be received by Tuesday April 30, 2024 by 3 p.m. ET. 

EPA Releases New Resources on Marine Carbon Dioxide Removal and Marine Solar Radiation Management

The Environmental Protection Agency administers two permitting programs under federal statutes that apply to mCDR and mSRM activities in coastal waters and the ocean. Researchers and other organizations proposing to conduct marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR) and marine solar radiation management (mSRM), activities in coastal waters or the ocean may need to seek authorization under a Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act permit or Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The EPA is pleased to share new web resources that include information about proposed mCDR and mSRM activities and provide further information on the EPA’s regulatory responsibilities for ensuring these emerging activities are conducted in a safe and responsible manner to protect human health, the marine environment and other uses of the ocean. Researchers and organizations considering ocean-based mCDR or mSRM activities should contact the EPA with questions about permitting and to discuss how to apply for a permit by emailing [email protected].

CIGLR Announces 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program

The Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) announces the 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL). The Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program exposes students to a broad range of STEM disciplines by providing hands-on research training and career development mentoring in a supportive and inclusive environment. Through this program, we seek to support diversity in Great Lakes research by valuing the wide range of identities, backgrounds, perspectives, and skills that enrich scientific exploration and help connect science with society. They are hosting a virtual information session on January 17 at 2:00 pm ET to about the program, give an overview of the application process and timeline, and answer your questions. Read the position descriptions and find the application here. Applications are due Friday February 9, 2024.

Department of Interior Releases Fall 2023 Addition of NEWSWAVE

The Fall 2023 issue of DOI’s NEWSWAVE, highlights examples of DOI’s work fulfilling important stewardship commitments for our nation’s ocean, Great Lakes and coasts. One of the greatest challenges of our time is addressing climate change and it’s impacts on our natural resources and our ability to sustain healthy, resilient communities and economies. In this issue, read stories and find links from across the Department of the Interior to learn more about how they are:

  • advancing renewable offshore energy,
  • restoring important coastal landscapes in the Gulf of Mexico,
  • incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and partnership into our strategies,
  • investing funds to improve accessibility and infrastructure sustainability,
  • using science to underpin and guide management decisions for all Americans into the future.

Secretary Haaland’s NEWSWAVE 5 highlights a broad range of examples that show how the DOI family and their many missions, come together to support their blue portfolio. Visit online: https://www.doi.gov/ocean/newswave, You can also keep up by visiting on Facebook, 'like' or follow us today. Subscribe or contribute to NEWSWAVE! If you have questions, comments, or want to receive NEWSWAVE by email, contact Ann Tihansky ([email protected]) and Liza Johnson ([email protected]) via email.

[NEW] Volunteer for FEMA BRIC National Review Panels

FEMA is seeking volunteers from state, local, tribal and territorial governments and other federal agencies to participate on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) virtual national review panels. The agency is accepting Expression of Interest forms from Monday January 8, 2024–Thursday February 15, 2024. These volunteers will leverage their mitigation experience and expertise to determine how subapplications meet BRIC qualitative evaluation criteria. The virtual panels will run April 8 – May 3, 2024 on Zoom. Panelists will serve 30 hours on one weekly panel from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. ET plus a three-hour training. FEMA anticipates that participants on the panels will commit eight hours a day over the course of five business days. All reviews will be conducted virtually and there is no compensation for participating on the panels.

The agency anticipates participation in these panels will strengthen the BRIC review process by ensuring it is transparent, equitable and inclusive. It will also offer insight into new and creative ways communities are addressing different hazards, an expanded network of individuals and a fresh look at ways to contribute to community disaster resilience. For more information, visit the BRIC webpage on FEMA.gov.

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

[NEW] San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission - Principal Waterfront Planner (Long-Range Planning)

Texas General Land Office - Natural Resources Specialist IV (Coastal Project Manager)

Massachusetts Executive Office Of Energy and Environmental Affairs - CZM Chief Coastal Resilience Officer

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

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

NOAA, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory - Physical Scientist

Lynker, NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships Program - Program Specialist

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prairie Research Institute - Associate Research Scientist, Coastal Resilience

[NEW] San Francisco Estuary Institute - Shoreline Scientist

Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) - 2024 Great Lakes Summer Fellows Program

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation - Program Operations Manager, Restoration

North Carolina State University - Communications Director for NC Sea Grant, NC Space Grant and NC Water Resources Research Institute

[NEW] UC Santa Cruz - Coastal Risks and Nature-Based Adaptation Postdoctoral Researcher

University of Hawai'i, Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology - Indigenous Stewardship Specialist He'eia NERR

PEW Charitable Trusts - Officer, Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs (International Conservation Finance)

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation - Coastal Resilience Manager

Reef Environmental Education Foundation - Marine Conservation Fellow

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
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram