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:

Centering Equity, Reconciliation and Community in Coastal Adaptation

Willapa Bay, WA visit, photo by Bobbak Talebi

With 3,300 miles of coastline exposed to sea level rise and coastal flooding, Washington state is ramping up its work on resilience planning and design. The San Francisco Bay Area and Vancouver, BC also have ongoing efforts to advance regional shoreline adaptation and collaboration.

Initiatives in all three places illustrate how coastal adaptation can shift the needle for the better, bringing immediate and direct benefits for communities affected by coastal flooding and sea level rise — often communities of color or low-income rural communities that have been historically disinvested. To achieve these far-reaching benefits, adaptation can build from Indigenous values, advocacy, and science, increase the health and scale of shoreline ecosystems, connect people safely to the shoreline, and address other community priorities through equitable investments.

Though they range widely in focus and scale, examples in each place embed equity and justice considerations, and connect long-range coastal-adaptation visions to current community priorities. These visions are setting the stage for regulatory shifts, cross-jurisdictional collaboration and alignment in built projects.



Washington state is involved in making systemic improvements to governance, funding and coordination to help shape coastal adaptation projects that address immediate needs and build long-term community resilience to coastal hazards. Henry Bell, coastal planner at the Washington State Department of Ecology said, “We’re doing a lot, including providing grant funding for local sea-level rise planning and vulnerability assessment projects. We are also in the early stages of the state rulemaking process to integrate sea-level rise planning requirements for local governments with marine shorelines, and supporting various local and regional coastal resilience project proposals for federal funding.”

“Just last year, the state legislature provided ongoing funding to Ecology for a multi-organization coastal resilience team that is dedicated to helping small and underserved communities access funding opportunities for resilience work,” Bell said. “We piloted this concept as part of the Resilience Action Demonstration Project between 2019 and 2021.” Ecology recently received an $850,000 grant to partner with the Washington departments of Transportation and Fish and Wildlife, and Washington Sea Grant. A similar partnership between the Pacific Conservation District, Sea Grant, and Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership has supported a series of public workshops with affected communities centered on sea-level rise risks to help identify priorities and potential project opportunities.

“Our approach is based on finding where future conditions or changes overlap with today’s priorities,” explains Jackson Blalock from the Pacific Conservation District. “It’s harder for communities to dedicate limited resources to future conditions if they don’t also address an active priority, so this has helped get projects moving, instead of falling into a planning wormhole.”

It’s been said that it’s a privilege to think about the future. Equitable long-term visions acknowledge this reality — that planning must address the needs of capacity-limited communities that have experienced harm and disinvestment as the first step toward a better future where everyone can reap the benefits. A long-term vision rooted in current priorities enables coastal adaptation work to be more than a Band-Aid, addressing future flood risk as one of many important objectives that improve the quality of life for affected communities today, and support the wellbeing of future generations.

“This has helped develop projects that break out of the disaster-response cycle and move toward more sustainable process-based approaches, such as collaborations that span property lines or jurisdiction’s boundaries,” Blalock said.

Coastal adaptation can have far reaching benefits for communities, prompting critical evaluation of design and planning processes, and leading to important shifts in the systems that shape the built environment. In the San Francisco Bay, the RSAP is setting the stage for regulatory shifts, regional alignment and cross-jurisdictional collaboration. In Vancouver, planning processes and visions support reconciliation with Host Nations, and define a path toward repaired shoreline relationships. In Washington, coastal adaptation efforts are identifying current needs of affected communities to drive investments that aim to improve present wellbeing, and shape better shorelines for future generations.

Read more about the work in the Bay Area and Vancouver here and read the full edition of Environmental Outlook here.

From CSO

[NEW FACTSHEET] Islands: Coastal Adaptation Through Planning 

A summary of research conducted as a part of dissertation research at the University of Hawai'i in partnership with the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center & FEMA, CSO has recently published a factsheet on coastal adaptation planning progress and capacity in island state and territories in the U.S. These islands are areas where climate threat and adaptation challenge are great but that have received little planning research attention. View the factsheet to learn more about key takeaways and recommendations from this research. https://www.coastalstates.org/islands-research/

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

35 Miles East of Long Island, the U.S. Has Its First Large Offshore Wind Farm

America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm is officially open, a long-awaited moment that helps pave the way for a succession of large wind farms. Danish wind energy developer Ørsted and the utility Eversource built a 12-turbine wind farm called South Fork Wind 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Montauk Point, New York. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul went to Long Island Thursday to announce that the turbines are delivering clean power to the local electric grid, flipping a massive light switch to "turn on the future." Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was also on hand. Achieving commercial scale is a turning point for the industry, but what's next? Experts say the nation needs a major buildout of this type of clean electricity to address climate change. Read more here.

Maryland’s Oyster Restoration Sanctuaries Show Promising Signs for Shellfish Recovery

At first, oyster biologists were concerned. Monitoring efforts at some restoration sanctuary reefs in 2022 weren’t pulling up many oysters, even though the sites had previously been performing well. So divers with the Oyster Recovery Partnership went into the water to investigate. What they found there wasn’t a shortage of oysters, but such a dense and mature population that the shellfish had cemented into three-dimensional reefs, thick enough that the team’s patent tongs sampling gear weren’t able to get them out of the water. “We’re excited because we feel like we’re starting to reach our goal of self-sustaining reefs,” said Olivia Caretti, the partnership’s coastal restoration program manager. “In another sense, it becomes a question of how we adjust our sampling plan. It’s a good problem to have.” These sites in the Tred Avon River are a part of an ongoing and long-term experiment in oyster recovery. In an effort to shore up declining numbers of the bivalve, Maryland dramatically expanded oyster sanctuaries in 2010 to cover 24% of historic oyster habitat in the Bay, a span of about 9,000 acres spread over a wide geographical area. Then, in June 2014, Maryland and other regional governments signed onto the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement that outlined a goal to “restore habitat and populations in 10 tributaries by 2025 and ensure their protection.” Maryland and Virginia split these 10 tributaries, and both states embarked on five large-scale restoration projects. In Maryland, these are known as the “Big Five” sanctuaries in Harris Creek and the Little Choptank, Tred Avon, St. Marys, and Manokin rivers. Now, nearing 10 years after the agreement, Maryland’s restoration sanctuaries are on track to be completed in time to meet next year’s goal. Across these restoration sanctuaries, scientists are finding impressive signs of recovery, with considerable reproduction and the establishment of dense, vertical oyster reef structure. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Establishes 4-Million Acre Conservation Area in Western Florida

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is creating a 4 million-acre conservation area in western Florida. The Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area was announced Monday Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The 4 million acre conservation area extends across 12 counties west of Lake Okeechobee between Lakeland and Naples. It includes the Peace River, Myakka River, Fisheating Creek and Caloosahatchee River watersheds and borders the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area. Everglades to Gulf is home to Florida black bears, Everglade snail kites, Florida panthers, sand skinks and more than 100 other threatened or endangered species. The announcement came during a celebration commemorating the 121st anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System — a collection of 571 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland-management districts. "I can think of no better way to celebrate the national wildlife system's 121st birthday than right here at Pelican Island, and commemorate the newest addition to our special network of lands and waters," said Haaland. "The national wildlife refuge system plays an invaluable role in providing vital habitat for wildlife, offering outdoor recreation and bolstering climate resilience." Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area is the fourth refuge established under Haaland after Wyoming Toad Conservation Area in Wyoming, Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee and Lost Trail Conservation Area in Montana. Read more here.

Louisiana Coastal Authority Sends $1.7 Billion Restoration, Flood Reduction Plan to Legislature

A record $1.71 billion annual spending plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection was unanimously approved for fiscal year 2025 this week by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority board of directors. The plan includes more than $480 million for the controversial Mid-Barataria and Mid-Breton sediment diversions. A series of public hearings had already been held on the plan, and there were no comments from members of the authority or public before the vote on Thursday to forward it to the Legislature for an up or down vote. At the Feb. 21 authority board meeting, Lieutenant Gov. Billy Nungesser and officials from Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, as well as representatives of fisherman organizations opposing the Mid-Baratara diversion, urged the authority to reconsider its support for the $2.92 billion project. Authority chairman Gordon "Gordy" Dove said at the time that a comprehensive report on all details of the project to date, from budgeting to ongoing legal challenges, was being prepared to give to Gov. Jeff Landry. No mention of that report was made during Thursday's meeting. The same public officials and representatives of the fishing community also oppose that $799 million Mid-Breton diversion project for similar reasons, including concerns about increased flood risk from construction of the projects and expected impacts on oyster, shrimp and saltwater finfish catches, as well as expected deaths of bottlenose dolphins living in areas where freshwater from the diversion would make them sick. The annual plan includes the largest amount of money in the 16-year history of annual spending plans for the authority, and about $90 million more than the current fiscal year. The plan, if approved by the Legislature, begins on July 1. Read more here.

Great Lakes

Fewer Fish and More Algae? Scientists Seek to Understand Impacts of Historic Lack of Great Lakes Ice

Michigan Tech University biologists have been observing a remote Lake Superior island’s fragile wolf population every winter since 1958, but they had to cut this season’s planned seven-week survey short after just two weeks. The ski plane they study the wolves from uses the frozen lake as a landing strip because there’s nowhere to touch down on the island. But this weirdly warm winter left the Great Lakes nearly devoid of ice. As climate change accelerates, scientists are scrambling to understand how iceless winters could affect the world’s largest freshwater system. Most of the effects are still theoretical since the lakes are generally too treacherous for data-gathering expeditions during the coldest months and biologists have long thought that little ecological activity takes place under the ice anyway. But they say the changes could have serious environmental, economic and cultural impacts, including by harming certain fish species, eroding beaches, fueling algae blooms and clogging shipping channels. Read more here. Read more here.

New Trails Coming After Michigan Watershed Group Links Thousands of Acres Along Keweenaw’s Lake Superior, River Shorelines

The Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy has bought over 200 acres of land along Lake Superior and the Gratiot river. The purchase will link five conservation areas in a large, contiguous block, according to a spokesperson for the organization. “Projects like the Gratiot River Community Forest help support a sustainable nature tourism economy and further local climate resiliency goals!” said Carl Lindquist the Executive Director of the SWP Land Conservancy. The most recent land buy is made up of about 226 acres, lined along 3,100 feet of Lake Superior and 3,000 feet of Gratiot River shoreline. $600,000 of the necessary funds was provided through a grant by the U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Community Forest Program. With the purchase complete, the spokesperson says the organization is now planning to create a trail network for hiking, skiing and environmental education.

You can find more information about the SWP’s ongoing projects on their website.

West Coast and Pacific

Kīpahulu in East Maui Becomes Hawaiʻi’s Third Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area

After nearly 30 years of grassroots community planning and engagement within their moku and across Maui and the state, Hawaiʻi nonprofit organization Kīpahulu ‘Ohana, Inc. saw their Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) signed into law. Gov. Josh Green signed administrative rules on Friday, March 15 to make Kīpahulu in East Maui the state’s third CBSFA, following Hā‘ena on Kaua‘i and Miloli‘i on Hawai‘i Island. The Kīpahulu CBSFA is located in the moku of Kīpahulu in East Maui along a 5.7-mile stretch of coastline from Kālepa to Pua‘alu‘u Gulch and extending seaward from the high-water mark on the shoreline to three points roughly along the 60-meter depth contour and about a quarter- to half-mile from shore. Rules for the CBSFA are designed by the community in co-management with the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to perpetuate, protect, and reaffirm traditional and customary practices of that place for the purposes of Native Hawaiian subsistence, fishing, and culture, as well as to better manage makai resources. Read more here.

NPS Plans to Remove Cabins Along Highway 101 Due to Coastal Erosion

Coastal erosion continues to plague California beaches and iconic walkways, and the latest victim of the Pacific Ocean is a set of beachside vacation rentals within a West Coast national park. The National Park Service announced this week that it has hired a contractor to remove 10 cabins at Olympic National Park that have become “compromised” due to erosion, according to a press release. The Park Service said in a news release Monday that the structures are about 16 feet from the edge of a bluff that has a sharp drop onto a beach below. The area has lost more than 13 feet of bluff in places since December 2023, and the Park Service said the conditions are creating a safety issue for visitors. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

April 18, May 2, May 16, 2024

May 12-16, 2024

May 13-14, 2024

May 15-17, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

October 6-10, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series

NOAA Digital Coast Training Calendar


[NEW] EPA Launches New Website to Improve Transparency in Permitting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of a new website, epa.gov/permits, a centralized web-based platform for information about federal environmental permitting. It highlights EPA’s permitting and environmental review programs and shares information on related statutes and environmental justice initiatives. In support of EPA’s commitments under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41), it also displays the status of EPA permits for large scale infrastructure projects covered by this statute. The website is a resource for the public, permit applicants and federal agency partners. The new website provides: Centralized information about all EPA permitting programs, information on delegations of authority to states and descriptions of other requirements that are often applicable (such as Endangered Species Act and National Historic Preservation Act consultation); Public-facing reports and resources, including environmental justice and civil rights in permitting information; FAST-41 information, including an explanation of EPA’s roles under the Act and a table that shows the status of EPA permits needed for FAST-41 projects and project tracking; Inflation Reduction Act information regarding funding allocated to EPA for improving efficiencies in permitting. Learn more here and access the new site here.

[NEW] NOAA's Annual Coastal Management in Action Photo Contest

From ensuring public access to balancing development with natural areas, coastal management keeps our coasts thriving. For the eighth annual coastal management photo contest, NOAA's Office for Coastal Management wants to see your photos of coastal management in action. Show off your natural infrastructure projects, beautiful beaches you work to protect, recreational uses, and more! Find inspiration from the list of nine categories. Submit photos to the eighth Coastal Management photo contest. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges and will be featured on the NOAA Digital Coast social media accounts during the month of May. Submit your photos by Friday May 3, 2024.

ASFPM Releases Strategic Planning Guide for State Floodplain Management Programs

For state floodplain management programs, strategic planning can put states in the best position to effectively and efficiently manage flood risk and floodplain resources in line with evolving approaches to floodplain management at the federal, state, and local levels. The strategic planning process is driven by the three questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to go? And, how do we get there? To guide states through the process, ASFPM has published Strategic Planning Guidance and Methodology for State Floodplain Management Programs. An updated and expanded version of the 2010 edition, this resource is intended for those who make policy decisions and set priorities for state floodplain programs. It can help states align their floodplain management programs with community needs and the 10 guiding principles for effective state floodplain management programs as well as FEMA’s Tiered State Framework characteristics. Learn more here.

Interior Announces $120M to Support Tribal Climate Resilience

The Department of the Interior announced a new wave of more than $120 million in funding for tribal climate resilience projects ranging from infrastructure reinforcement to relocation efforts. The money will support 146 projects across 102 tribal communities and nine tribal organizations. It is the largest investment under the Tribal Climate Awards Program, a competitive grant program aimed at building tribal climate resilience, since that program’s inception in 2011. This year’s funding more than doubles the $110 million distributed over the last 13 years... Supported projects fell broadly into two applications: adaptation and relocation. Awards ranged from around $98,000 for studying climate impacts on the Port Madison Reservation in Washington, to just over $9.8 million for fortifying and restoring a watershed on the Lummi Reservation. Read more here.

NFWF and NOAA Release RFP for National Coastal Resilience Fund

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released a request for proposals for the FY 2024 National Coastal Resilience Fund. Funded projects will restore, increase, and strengthen natural infrastructure—the landscapes that help absorb the impacts of storms and floods—to ultimately protect coastal communities and enhance fish and wildlife habitat. This year, the fund will invest approximately $140 million in projects. Pre-proposals are due Wednesday April 10, 2024. Applicants invited to submit a full proposal will have a Tuesday July 2, 2024, deadline. The complete request for proposals can be found here. If you have questions, please contact [email protected].

Job Openings

In The States

[NEW] San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission - Student Assistant Summer Intern

Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Municipal Planning Assistance Program - Senior Coastal Planner

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

[NEW] Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement - Environmental Protection Specialist

[NEW] NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office - Program Analyst

[NEW] NOAA - Regional Administrator Pacific Islands Regional Office

[NEW] Environmental Protection Agency - Director, Gulf Ecosystem Measurement and Modeling Division

EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds - EPA Research & Analysis on Issues Related to National Water Programs Fellows (ORISE Fellow)

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] National Wildlife Federation - Senior Manager, Coastal Resilience

[NEW] Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program - Project Coordinator

[NEW] New England Aquarium - Senior Policy Advisor

[NEW] Pew - Senior Associate, Ocean Governance

[NEW] National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program, Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects & The Water Institute - Future Coastal Leaders Fellowship

LegacyWorks - Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape Resilience Specialist

Deep South Environmental Law Center - HBCU Environmental Justice & Climate Corps Internship

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