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:

Visiting Seacoast Tidal Crossings with NOAA Administrator Spinrad

An unassuming culvert along New Hampshire’s Route 1A near Rye Harbor could play a key role in protecting one stretch of salt marsh from climate change. That’s because it’s sandwiched between the ocean on one side and the Awcomin Salt Marsh on the other. Salt marshes are connected to the tides, so as sea levels rise, they need somewhere to go or they’ll disappear, taking an important ecosystem with them.

“Salt marshes live between mean tide and mean high, high tide, and as sea level rises, it’ll drown that out unless it can migrate landward,” said Thomas Ballestero, an engineer and professor of hydrology and water resources engineering at the University of New Hampshire. “So if you have a site where it can’t migrate because there’s infrastructure, we’ve lost it forever,” he said. “In a site like this, this one has the possibility (of migrating because) there’s undeveloped land to the west.”

The culvert was in need of an expensive upgrade to allow that to happen. Ballestero said about 95 percent of salt marshes on the east coast are expected to disappear by the end of the century because of sea level rise. That’s part of what’s driven state and federal interest in making three Seacoast culverts resilient to climate change. The project has received $2.9 million in federal funding focused on making improvements that can accommodate rising sea levels and increased precipitation.

But the need for coastal resiliency is much greater than just three culverts, according to state officials from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Services, and The Nature Conservancy of NH staff who gathered at the roadside culvert Tuesday, discussing the site with Richard W. Spinrad, administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Read more here.

In the States and Territories

Gulf Coast

Restoring Gulf Coast Barrier Reefs One Oyster Shell at a Time

Restaurateur Brad Lomax never thought much about the oyster shells his patrons discarded after eating the decadent meat inside. A lifelong surf enthusiast and owner of four eateries in Corpus Christi, including Water Street Oyster Bar, Lomax didn’t worry about the oyster shells until his waste management bills started skyrocketing in the late 2000s. “The price of diesel was through the roof, and we were getting significant surcharges on our dumpster bills because of the weight we had in there—and the lion’s share of our weight was oyster shells,” Lomax says. Tough like cement and a bit ugly, oyster shells typically make their way to landfills, where they take years to decompose. Lomax was still thinking about his bottom line when he took a walk with his neighbor, Joe Fox, one evening in 2009. The sage words Fox, a senior fellow at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, told him that night—“An oyster shell in a landfill is a resource out of place”—launched an entire movement. Read more here.

Biden Angers All Sides With Scaled Back Offshore Oil Drilling Plan

The Biden administration's plan to slash offshore oil and gas leasing drew fire from both the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists on Friday, with energy companies saying it will raise fuel prices and greens saying it undermines efforts to stop global warming. The criticism from both sides reflects the difficulty Biden's White House has had in dealing with U.S. oil extraction policies, as it seeks to balance national energy security with the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. Biden had promised on the campaign trail to end new federal leasing, but has been blocked by the courts from doing so, and discouraged by rising pump prices that political analysts say could hurt his chances of reelection. Biden's Interior Department on Friday unveiled a congressionally mandated five-year plan for offshore oil drilling that included just three sales, all in the Gulf of Mexico -- the lowest number in any five-year plan since the government began publishing them in 1980. Read more here.

Great Lakes

For First Time in 160 Years, Fond du Lac Band Nets Lake Trout in Lake Superior

Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have netted lake trout in Lake Superior for the first time in more than 160 years, a testimony to ongoing tribal efforts to exercise hunting and fishing rights under treaties with the U.S. government. Band members and others also say the event marks another chapter in the ongoing success story of Lake Superior’s lake trout resurgence. "This was a huge occasion to celebrate that the lake can now sustain a tribal subsistence fishery,” he said. “And this is culturally important for the community to bring back this subsistence fishery for traditional food.” Read more here.

Lakefront Planners Brainstorm Ways to Protect Lakewood’s Gold Coast from Lake Erie’s Fury

The planners are in the early stages of an 18-month, $1.4 million project to plan a sustainable, climate-resilient future for the Gold Coast. The big idea is to entice homeowner’s associations at 13 residential towers along 3,800 feet of Lakewood’s shoreline to grant public easements for a new trail along the water’s edge in exchange for long-term erosion control measures. Those measures could include replacing the failing stone and concrete barriers with new structures or “cobble” beaches designed to break up wave energy as the lake’s level rises and falls. A trail with connections to city streets atop the cliff above could create access for Gold Coast residents, and the public. Transient boat docks and private spaces for Gold Coast residents could also be part of the package. Read more here.

West Coast and Pacific

Interior Announces $1.4M to Protect, Support Coral Reefs in Insular Areas

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has announced $1,432,994 in fiscal year 2023 Coral Reef and Natural Resources Program grant funding that will go towards supporting programs and projects related to coral reef and natural resources protection in the territories and the freely associated states.

“Coral reefs are important income generators for tourism and food industries in island economies; and while coral reefs protect and harbor fish and other coastal resources, they also provide islands with critical protection from erosion and wave action from storms.,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor. “We are grateful to Congress for providing this funding and helping the Insular Areas protect these unique natural resources.” Read more here.

Elwha River: New Study Examine Effects of Dam Removals on Coastal Ecosystems

In new research, a team of scientists characterize the response of the coastal environment to a massive input of sediment following the removal of two dams along the Elwha River in Washington state. Dam removal has gained traction as a powerful tool for restoring aquatic habitats and eliminating high-risk infrastructure. While most previous studies have concentrated on river and watershed responses to dam removal, the dam removals on the Elwha River, a short river within Olympic National Park that drains to the coast, offered an unprecedented chance to investigate the impact of dam removal on coastal ecosystems. A key finding of the study is the profound effect of sediment deposition on nearshore communities. Read more here.

East Coast and Caribbean

How This Environmental Activist is Protecting Puerto Rico’s Coastlines and Indigenous Heritage

Last April, Alegna Malavé Marrero joined fellow community activists in removing the fencing and vegetative debris that block public access to the Cueva del Indio Nature and Marine Reserve in the northern town of Arecibo in Puerto Rico. As a spokesperson for Defending la Cueva del Indio (DCI-681), an educational, community-based organization promoting the preservation of the Indigenous cave located along the region’s coastal route PR-681, Malavé Marrero is determined to safeguard its cultural significance. On April 9 activists managed to remove part of the fencing, but community access to the caves remains closed. Formally trained as a socio-spatial planner — focusing on land use based on ample citizen participation and sociological knowledge applied within an urban context — Malavé Marrero uses her knowledge of Puerto Rican regulatory policy to educate communities about illegal land use and the threats posed to agricultural and natural resources. She does so against the backdrop of current Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s pro-statehood administration — one that prioritizes the interests of private investors. In this interview, Malavé Marrero shares insights on the current political climate she describes as “a threat not only to those of us living in Borikén [Puerto Rico’s Indigenous name] but also to all of the natural species of marine life that call this their home." Read more here.

Homeowner Group’s Effort to Block Rhode Island Shoreline Access Law Is Denied by Federal Court

U.S. District Court Judge William Smith ruled that the Rhode Island Association of Coastal Taxpayers (RIACT) “lacked the proper standing to sue” over the recently passed law that protects access to Rhode Island’s coast. The decision is a victory for advocacy groups who have been fighting for years to protect the public’s access to the coast. RIACT, a group of anonymous beachfront property owners, filed the federal lawsuit this past summer. The group claimed in announcing the suit in July, “Many of RIACT members own title, in fee simple, to beachfront property in Rhode Island. Under their titles and the common law of the state, the shorelands lying seaward of the mean high water (MHW) line are public, but the lands located inland of the MHW line are held in private ownership." Smith states in his decision, “RIACT fears prosecution or citation if its members attempt to eject or dissuade people from encroaching on their property. Pre-enforcement injunctions against prosecutorial agencies are a rare bird; to succeed RIACT must show its members ‘intend to violate or are violating an existing law,” and “the threat of prosecution is sufficiently real to provide standing.’” Read more here.

Events & Webinars

October 10-13, 2023

October 11, 2023

October 12-13, 2023

POSTPONED TO 2024 October 16-19, 2023

October 17, 2023

October 24-25, 2023

November 12-16, 2023

November 16-17, 2023

February 12-15, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series


[NEW] NOAA Releases FY2024 Federal Opportunity for Effects of Sea Level Rise Program

For this opportunity, the ESLR Program is soliciting proposals to improve adaptation and planning in response to regional and local effects of sea level rise (SLR) and coastal inundation (storm surge, nuisance flooding, and/or wave actions) through targeted research on nature-based solutions (NBS), modeling of physical and biological processes, and testing mitigation strategies for implementation. The overall goal of the ESLR Program is to facilitate informed adaptation planning and coastal management decisions through funding multidisciplinary research that results in integrated models capable of evaluating vulnerability and resilience under multiple SLR, inundation, and management scenarios. The opportunity has two focal areas; General Coastal Resilience and Alaska Regional Coastal Resilience. A more detailed summary of the two focal areas can be found below. A letter of intent is required to submit a full proposal. The letter of intent (LOI) is due by Monday November 13, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET, while full proposals will be due by Wednesday January 24, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET. The LOI is for guidance purposes only, and all teams that submit a LOI may submit a full proposal. Please see the funding announcement for information on the requirements and process for submitting a LOI and full proposal. There will be an informational webinar at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Friday, October 6. See registration link below. If you are not able to make the webinar, a recording will be available on the ESLR website after the event.

[NEW] 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.

[NEW] White House Hosts First-Ever Climate Resilience Summit and Releases National Climate Resilience Framework

Last week, the Biden-Harris administration hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Building Climate Resilient Communities, which included representatives from more than 25 states, territories, and Tribal Nations. In conjunction with the Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Climate Resilience Framework, a vision for a climate resilient nation designed to guide and align climate resilience investments and activities by the federal government and its partners. The Framework identifies common principles and specific actions to accelerate progress towards six objectives. Federal agencies also announced new actions – including the awarding or availability of more than $500 million in dedicated funding – to build climate resilience. Read more here.

[NEW] NOAA Announces $12.7 Million in Funding to Advance Climate Smart Communities

The Department of Commerce and NOAA announced $12.7 million in funding to advance the Climate-Smart Communities Initiative. This funding, which is available as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda under the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate investment in history — will bring climate adaptation expertise to communities across the U.S. over the next four years. Read more here.

[NEW] NOAA Fisheries Releases New Interactive Tool Consolidates Data from Climate Vulnerability Assessments

NOAA Fisheries has launched its new Climate Vulnerability Assessment Tool. It provides easy access to vulnerability information from all of the current Climate Vulnerability Assessments in one convenient location. Previously, these assessments were only available as individual reports on the NOAA Fisheries website or via scientific journals. As part of its commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change, NOAA Fisheries conducts Climate Vulnerability Assessments on fish stocks, protected species, habitats, and fishing communities. The Climate Vulnerability Assessment Tool provides an easy way for scientists, academia, and decision makers to find vulnerability information on nearly 400 marine-related species and habitats. Read more here.

[NEW] FEMA Releases New Guide on Making The Economic Case for Coastal Resilience

FEMA developed the Economic Case for Coastal Resilience guide for communities thinking about how to reduce their risks from coastal hazards. It gives background on coastal natural disasters and their effect on communities nationwide. It then explains how to reduce risks. The guide also contains two infographics that you can use in explaining coastal risks and resilience options. They are available as PDFs and JPGs for your use.

Biden-Harris Administration Launches American Climate Corps

The Climate Corps is a workforce training and service initiative that will ensure more young people have access to the skills-based training necessary for good-paying careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy. The American Climate Corps will mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 Americans – putting them to work conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program. Learn more here.

FEMA Selects First Recipients to Administer Resilience Revolving Loan Fund

FEMA is announcing that seven states and the District of Columbia will receive a combined $50 million in capitalization grants to help communities reduce vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters. These capitalization grants, provided through the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund Program, and made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will enable states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia to administer revolving loan funds that will help local governments carry out hazard mitigation projects that build community climate resilience. Local governments may use capitalization grant funding to make structures more resilient to natural hazards. This includes improving flood control, implementing changes in zoning and land-use planning needed to adapt to a changing climate and enforcing adoption of resilient building codes. Local governments may also apply the funding to satisfy their cost-share requirement for FEMA hazard mitigation assistance grants, lessening their financial burden to implement climate resilience activities. Read more here.

HHS Launches Environmental Justice Community Innovator Challenge

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) are seeking community-led strategies and tools to address health disparities in communities disproportionately impacted by environmental risks and hazards including those related to climate change, and the cumulative impacts of other stressors. The Challenge mechanism provides an opportunity for community voices to participate in developing novel innovative approaches to addressing the adverse health impacts of environmental conditions and increase community resilience within their local, disproportionately impacted communities. Learn more here.

NOAA Announces Members of Inaugural Marine and Coastal Area-Based Management Advisory Committee

NOAA has announced the members of a new Marine and Coastal Area-based Management Advisory Committee, which will advise NOAA on science-based approaches to area-based protection, conservation, restoration, and management in marine and coastal areas, including the Great Lakes. With this new Advisory Committee, NOAA has convened a group of ocean and Great Lakes experts and stakeholders who represent diverse perspectives on resource management, commercial and recreational fishing, ocean industry, recreation and tourism, conservation, tribal and indigenous communities, youth serving organizations, environmental justice, and individuals with natural and social science expertise. Learn more here.

FEMA Designates First Communities to Receive Targeted Assistance for Hazards Resilience

FEMA is announcing the initial designation of 483 census tracts that will be eligible for increased federal support to become more resilient to natural hazards and extreme weather worsened by the climate crisis. Congress directed FEMA to make these designations in the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022 and implement this bipartisan legislation to help build resilience to natural hazards in communities most at-risk due to climate change. FEMA will use Community Disaster Resilience Zones designations to direct and manage financial and technical assistance for resilience projects. This initial set of designations covers all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These designations can be explored on an interactive map on FEMA’s website. Additional information on the designation methodology and criteria is available. More Community Disaster Resilience Zone designations, including tribal lands and territories, are expected to be announced in the fall of 2023. Read more here.

Registration Now Open for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Partners Workshop

The 2023 Hazard Mitigation Partners Virtual Workshop will bring together over 800 federal, states, local communities, tribes and territories, as well as private sector entities, private non-profit organizations, and individuals who work in emergency management, floodplain management and hazard mitigation positions. This year, the focus of the workshop is All Together for Climate Resilient Communities. The conversations throughout the workshop will focus on building mitigation champions, driving community resilience, providing technical assistance for grant programs, and supporting community resilience and hazard mitigation. Register here.

Applications Open for FEMA Heritage Emergency and Response Training (HEART)

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force, a partnership between FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution, HEART trains emergency managers and cultural stewards to gain the skills and hands-on experience needed to protect, evacuate, and salvage the irreplaceable objects that bring meaning and understanding to their community. The deadline to apply is Thursday September 28, 2023. Learn more here.

Request for Proposals on Including Indigenous Ways of Knowing in Decision-Making for Ocean and Coastal Management

The Lenfest Ocean Program released an RFP for projects that elevate Indigenous Peoples in sharing their traditions, culture, knowledge, and wisdom to improve evidence-based decision-making for the management, conservation, and restoration of coastal marine species, habitats, and ecosystems. The RFP is intended to support identification, analysis, and/or communication of Indigenous Knowledge and wisdom (where it is culturally appropriate); and engagement approaches that facilitate the inclusion of this knowledge into ocean and coastal management decisions. The deadline to apply is Monday, October 16, 2023.

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Opens Annual RFP

WCMP is seeking proposals to enhance, preserve, protect and restore resources within the state’s coastal zone – all counties adjacent to Lakes Superior and Michigan, with their nearly 1000 miles of shoreline. They anticipate awarding up to $1.6 million in grant funding. WCMP Grants are available for coastal wetland protection and habitat restoration, nonpoint source pollution control, coastal resource and community planning, Great Lakes education, public access and historic preservation. The due date is Friday, November 2, 2023. There will be a virtual grant workshop September 19, 2023 (A recorded presentation will be made available and posted at http://coastal.wisconsin.gov.) Application materials are available on the WCMP Grants Program webpage. For more information please contact staff at [email protected].

NOAA Marine Debris Program Releases Two New Funding Opportunities

The NOAA Marine Debris Program announced two Fiscal Year 2024 Notices of Funding Opportunity for both Marine Debris Removal and Interception Technologies under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These are two separate funding opportunities, and they have different application requirements. Applicants wishing to compete under both funding opportunities must submit separate letters of intent (LOI) for each. Applicants who submit successful LOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal following the LOI review period. The NOAA Marine Debris Program will award up to $28 million across the two funding opportunities. The Marine Debris Removal letters of intent deadline is Friday October 27, 2023, and an applicant webinar will be offered on September 12, 2023 at 3:00 PM ET (registration required). The Marine Debris Interception Technologies letters of intent deadline is Wednesday November 15, 2023, and an applicant webinar will be offered on September 13, 2023 at 3:00 PM ET (registration required).

Job Openings

In The States

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Beachfront Management Project Manager

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Beachfront Management Project Manager

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Compliance Project Manager

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Enforcement Project Manger

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Critical Area Line Project Manager

[NEW] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Critical Area Permitting Project Manager

[NEW] New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Climate Resilience, Blue Acres - Administrative Analyst 2 - Fiscal Management

Wisconsin Division of Intergovernmental Relations - Coastal Program Manager (Program and Policy Supervisor)

Maine Department of Marine Resources - Coastal Habitat Restoration Specialist

Maine Department of Marine Resources - Maine Coastal Program Policy Specialist

Maine Department of Marine Resources - Coastal Resiliency Specialist

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Coastal Programs Section - Restoration Project Coordinator

Margaret A. Davidson Fellowship

California Coastal Commission - Multiple Coastal Program Positions

In The Agencies

[NEW] NOAA, National Ocean Service, Office for Coastal Management - Management and Program Analyst

[NEW] NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Services - Marine Habitat Resource Specialist

[NEW] NOAA, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research - Research Program Specialist

[NEW] NOAA, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research - Research Program Specialist

[NEW] NOAA, National Marina Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office - Supervisory Fish and Wildlife Administrator

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] Tulane University Institute on Water, Law & Policy - Senior Research Fellow

[NEW] Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Maryland Staff Scientist

Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Maryland Coastal Resource Scientist

PEW - Senior Associate Ocean Justice

NEIWPCC - Environmental Analyst – Long Island Sound Regional Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy and The Pew Charitable Trusts – Contractor for Supporting Oyster Aquaculture & Restoration (SOAR) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Strategic Plan

Environmental Law Institute - Senior Attorney

Environmental Law Institute - Staff Attorney

National Fish and Wildlife Federation - Manager, Coastal Resilience

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.

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Coastal States Organization | 50 F Street. NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC 20001 | 202-508-3860 | [email protected] | www.coastalstates.org
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