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:
New Jersey Releases State's First Climate Resilience Strategy With Coastal Resilience Plan
New Jersey has released a draft of the State’s first Climate Change Resilience Strategy for public review and comment. The Strategy outlines six state priorities, each of which includes recommendations to guide state and local government efforts to protect vulnerable communities, infrastructure, businesses, and the environment from the devastating effects of climate change. The Strategy includes over 100 recommendations to strengthen New Jersey against climate impacts, including the State’s unique risks from sea-level rise, chronic flooding, rising temperatures, and more frequent and intense storm events.

As part of the Climate Change Resilience Strategy, New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection developed the draft Coastal Resilience Plan, which addresses the issues specific to New Jersey's coastal zone. The plan guides policies, regulations, resource allocation and funding in the coastal zone to: reduce the impacts of coastal hazards; increase resilience for structures, infrastructure systems, environmental resources, and coastal communities; address the needs of socially vulnerable populations; and attract equitable and sustainable investment. 

Learn more about the Climate Change Resilience Strategy and the Coastal Resilience Plan here.
In the States and Regions
West Coast and Pacific
California Lawmakers Seek Cleanup of Old Dumped DDT Barrels
California lawmakers are urging federal officials and Congress to act after researchers mapped what appeared to be more than 25,000 barrels dumped in an area off the coast of Los Angeles known for DDT contamination. The Environmental Protection Agency is also working with state and federal agencies to investigate historical dumping of acid waste containing the pesticide dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) in a nearby area northeast of Santa Catalina Island, Mike Alpern, EPA’s director of public affairs for the agency’s Pacific Southwest region, said in an email. Read more

Hawaii Becomes First State to Declare Climate Emergency
Hawaii made history on Thursday by becoming the first state to declare a climate emergency. Although the resolution passed by the state Legislature is symbolic, it acknowledges that climate change is an immediate threat. The resolution calls on government to make choices that will enable a more sustainable future. It goes as far as to ask for a ban on public and private investments that would make the climate worse. Read more
East Coast and Caribbean
USACE Kicks Off Folly Beach Pilot Study
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District began a pilot study on the northeast end of Folly Beach, placing sand dredged from the federal channel and constructing a berm or sand bar just offshore. According to the Corps, the project has the potential to help with erosion by having sand gradually migrate onto the beach. If successful, projects like this could be a potential interim solution for future renourishments efforts. Read more

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Announces Nearly $150 Million in Awards for Resilient Infrastructure
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that more than $148 million has been awarded to communities through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. The program is administered by DEO and will assist local governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects to make communities more resilient to future disasters, including storm water improvements. “My administration remains committed to providing the resources necessary for Florida communities to build back stronger and be more resilient to future storms,” said Gov. DeSantis, reported the state of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity website. “This transformational mitigation funding will go a long way in helping Florida’s communities invest in their futures through critical infrastructure improvements." Read more
Great Lakes
Two Lakeshore Communities Focus of Shoreline Erosion Study
Nearly 400 communities in Michigan are located in coastal areas. Two of those areas in Southwest Michigan – South Haven and Chikaming Township – are part of a two-year Michigan State University study that will detail how erosion and changing weather patterns in the past several years affects Michigan’s shoreline communities. The monitoring program, developed by MSU’s Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences and Remote Sensing and GIS Research and Outreach Services and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), seeks to survey shoreline residents in six different Michigan coastal communities and train volunteers to collect highly detailed drone imagery of critical coastline segments in each of those communities. Read more

Gov. Wolf 2021 Climate Impacts Report Projects Pennsylvania Will Be 5.9° F Warmer by Midcentury, Targets Areas to Reduce Risk
Pennsylvania’s average temperature will be 5.9° F higher by midcentury, with significant consequences for the health and safety of Pennsylvanians, especially those living in Environmental Justice communities, and for ecosystems, agriculture and other areas, according to Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment 2021. Pennsylvania Climate Impacts Assessment 2021 uses federal, state, and local data to show the trend of rising temperatures and increasing rainfall and project how it will continue into midcentury (2041-2070) and beyond, if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced. The extent of impacts, from limited to catastrophic, is projected for numerous aspects of life in Pennsylvania. Inland flooding and coastal sea level rise will result. Water levels on the 56-mile coastline along the Delaware estuary are expected to rise 2.1 feet by mid-century. In Lake Erie, water levels will fluctuate, from low levels to record high levels, such as seen in 2019. Pennsylvanians who live in Environmental Justice areas will be at additional critical risk from rising average temperatures. “Pennsylvanians who have lived in communities with almost a century of disinvestment now also face disproportionate risk from climate change impacts,” said DEP Environmental Justice Office Director Allison Acevedo. Read more
Gulf Coast
Houston Official: Federal Disaster Aid Widens Racial Inequities
Federal disaster relief funding that prioritizes property value over need exacerbates existing racial inequalities, leaving poor neighborhoods and communities of color more vulnerable to extreme weather events, a Houston area official told lawmakers. Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis said Tuesday that equity principles implemented to guide the county’s response following Hurricane Harvey in 2017 made it harder to secure federal dollars for the recovery. “The poorest neighborhoods in Harris County are the hardest hit during storms, floods and other natural disasters, but they received the least amount of resources to recover, rebuild and build resiliency against the next load,” Ellis told lawmakers. Poor and minority families are more likely to live in neighborhoods vulnerable to climate-related disasters because of redlining, he said. Read more

$302 Million In BP Oil Spill Restoration Money Budgeted to Restore Ecosystems
Texas can get up to $79 million in BP oil spill restoration money, Mississippi nearly $69 million, and Florida almost $74 million for ecosystem recovery projects and programs approved or extended this week. Nearly $80 million more in work crossing state lines is listed among the RESTORE Council's $302 million worth of projects and programs made public Wednesday as part 2 in a group of proposals that brought $130 million last year to Louisiana, and $26.9 million to Alabama. However, less than half of Wednesday's total will be provided immediately. Nine of the 20 projects and programs are getting only planning money. The council said it is budgeting $161.5 million in long-term spending to put those plans into action, but they will need more evaluation and later votes. The council, which allocates money from Clean Water Act fines paid by BP and others after the catastrophic 2010 spill, is made up of officials from the five Gulf states and several federal agencies. Read more
Events & Webinars
Solicitation for Nominations for the NOAA Science Advisory Board’s Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group
The Ecosystem Sciences and Management Working Group (ESMWG) was established under the NOAA Science Advisory Board upon request of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere in 2008 to provide scientific advice and broad direction on NOAA’s ecosystem related programs in the context of both national and international activities. The ESMWG focuses on research, monitoring, and management components of NOAA’s ecosystem portfolio, as well as underlying observations and data management issues. The ESMWG is requesting nominations for membership in these specific areas of expertise: social science and economics, coastal engineering, and ocean and marine ecosystem modeling, especially in the context of climate change, but also encourage nominations with other expertise. Nominations, including a CV and full contact information, should be submitted electronically here by May 13, 2021.

FEMA Mitigation Planning Training Opportunities
Hazard mitigation planning and coastal zone management can work hand-in-hand. The FEMA Mitigation Planning Program has several trainings available to help state, local, territorial, and tribal communities create, update, and improve mitigation plans. These trainings include Planning for Resilient Communities, Plan Review Training for Local Mitigation Plans, and much more. These trainings can be accessed here.

A Gulf-wide restoration plan to address Deepwater Horizon impacts on marine life
NOAA and the Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group are seeking public input on their first draft restoration plan. Eleven new projects, totalling nearly $100 million, are proposed to support the restoration of sea turtles, marine mammals, oysters, and birds. Comments are due May 6, 2021. More information is available here.

Water Resources Development Act of 2020 Comment Period and Stakeholder Sessions
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)) is issuing this notice for a comment period for stakeholders and other interested parties to provide input and recommendations to the ASA(CW) on any provisions in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020. The Office of the ASA(CW) will consider all comments received before any implementation guidance is issued. There is one remaining session will be held via webinar on April 13, 2021 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT to receive comments on any WRDA 2020 provisions. The public comment period will end on May 7, 2021. Learn more here.

EPA Announces Availability of Up to $6 Million in Annual Environmental Justice Grants
The EPA has announced the availability of up to $6 million in grant funding under The Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement Program and The Environmental Justice Small Grants (EJSG) Program. EPA will be giving special consideration to the following focus areas:
  • Addressing COVID-19 concerns faced by low-income communities and communities of color
  • Climate Change and Natural Disaster Resiliency outreach and planning
  • New applicants to either opportunity
  • Ports Initiative to assist people living and working near ports across the country
  • Small non-profits

Applicants interested in either opportunity must submit proposal packages on or before May 7, 2021. Applicants should plan for projects to begin on October 1, 2021.Learn more about EJCPS pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding here. Learn more about EJSG pre-application assistance calls and how to apply for funding here.

PEW Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) Program
The Nature Conservancy and Pew Charitable Trusts’ Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration (SOAR) program issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the new $1 million Shellfish Growers Resiliency Fund (Fund). The Fund aims to pave the way for a more resilient and sustainable U.S. shellfish industry that benefits the ocean and the communities which rely upon it. Funding is open to applicants in the U.S. and will be distributed equitably among the West Coast (including Hawaii and Alaska), East Coast, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Fund will award small one-year projects (up to $20,000) targeting shellfish growers, shellfish aquaculture industry associations, and closely linked supply chain companies supporting aquaculture. The application deadline for the small RFP is May 17, 2021, with a second round closing in June 2021. The Fund will also award large two-year projects (up to $100,000) and will target shellfish growers, academic organizations, non-profit organizations engaged directly in the support of shellfish aquaculture, supply chain companies supporting aquaculture, and shellfish aquaculture industry associations. The application deadline for the large RFP is June 14, 2021. Contact Christina Popolizio with questions. Learn more and apply here.

Massachusetts Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Grants
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) announces the availability of up to $500,000 for municipalities located in the Massachusetts Coastal Watershed to assess and remediate stormwater pollution and to design and construct commercial boat-waste pumpout facilities. Related capacity-building activities, such as development of stormwater bylaws, maintenance trainings for municipal staff, and project case studies, will also be considered. As much as $175,000 may be requested and a 25 percent match of the total project cost is required. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2022. See the Request for Responses (RFR) here. Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on June 11. Learn more here.

RAE 2021 NEP Coastal Watersheds Grant RFP
Now in its second year, the NEP CWG Program is a nationally competitive grants program designed to support projects that address urgent and challenging issues threatening the well-being of coastal and estuarine areas within determined estuaries of national significance. In 2020, the NEP CWG awarded more than $1.3 million to eight projects.  RAE will select grantees through a two-step process: 1) Letters of Intent (LOI); and 2) full proposals by invitation only. LOIs are due on June 7, 2021. Only projects occurring within the geographic eligibility areas may receive funding. Informational webinars will occur on April 27 and May 5 for those interested in learning more.

ASBPA Best Restored Shore nominations due this Summer
ASBPA recognizes projects which address natural resource restoration to enhance shoreline resiliency by addressing environmental degradation, storm impacts, climate change, and sea level rise which all increasingly threaten the nation’s coastal, estuarine and Great Lakes communities. ASBPA understands the time, effort, and money that it takes to restore or enhance an inland or bay shoreline, and we want to recognize your accomplishments. Whether your project involves a Great Lake or an estuary, a mangrove or an oyster reef, if your project created thriving habitats, improved water quality, recreation and local economies you should apply to be a Best Restored Shores project.
The award-winning projects may include:
  • Coastal back bays or large freshwater lakes
  • Urban waterfronts
  • Seagrass, shellfish, coral reef, and other submerged habitats
  • Wetlands, mangroves, and other intertidal habitat
  • Living shorelines
  • Beneficial use of dredged material for environmental projects
Projects must have completed construction no later than 2019.

Best Restored Shores Nominations are now open and the deadline is July 16th. Submit your nomination via email here. Learn more here.
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The views expressed in articles referenced here are those of the authors and do not represent or reflect the views of CSO.

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