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:

Massachusetts Unveils a New Strategy to Help Coastal Communities Cope with Climate Change

Massachusetts governor Maura Healey unveiled a new strategy Tuesday that she said will help the state’s 78 coastal communities work together to better cope with the challenges brought on by climate change.

One element of the “ResilientCoasts” initiative is grouping distinct geographic regions that share similar landscape characteristics and face similar climate hazards, dubbed “coastal resilience districts.” Massachusetts has more than 1,500 miles of coastline that spans salt marshes, beaches, rocky shores, dunes, ports, and harbors, as well as residential and commercial areas.

The program’s goal is to help the communities within each district come up with tailored policies and strategies to address the impacts of climate change, and to pursue federal funds.

Other goals of the strategy announced Tuesday include creating nature-based solutions for coastal erosion—including flood protection—streamlining the permitting process, and making sure future resiliency projects take into consideration the latest projected rise in sea level.

“Climate change poses a very real threat to our coastal way of life, but it also presents a unique opportunity for us to build communities that are safer and more equitable,” Healey said. Read more here and here.

From CSO

The image is blue lettering on a bright blue backgroud. At the top of the image in small text is "American Shoreline Podcast Network". Centered in large all caps text is "The Capitol Beach".

PODCAST: Navigating the Future: Paul Scholz on NOAA's New Strategic Vision

On The Capitol Beach, host Derek Brockbank, speaks with NOAA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the National Ocean Service (NOS), Paul Scholz, about the recently released NOS strategic plan. Paul has worked within multiple parts of NOAA, implementing programs and advancing NOAA’s operations, for nearly 30 years. He shares his excitement for where NOAA is heading and the current opportunities to improve NOAA’s service delivery to be more equitable, even as some of the coastal and ocean challenges get more dire with sea level rise and other climate impacts. Paul outlines what’s included in the NOS strategic plan and talks about how it provides guidelines for NOS to work with partners, increase coastal resilience in the U.S.; accelerate growth of the ocean enterprise and the blue economy; conserve, restore, and connect healthy coastal and marine ecosystems; all while making equity central to the NOS mission. Listen where ever you get your podcasts and here.

In the States and Territories

East Coast and Caribbean

Maine DMR Receives $17 million to Support Maine’s Lobster Industry, Improve Flawed Right Whale Data

Governor Janet Mills and Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher announced December 11, 2023, that Maine has received $17,252,551 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help improve data on endangered North Atlantic right whales (NARW). The lack of data on NARW presence and fishing effort in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) has resulted in high uncertainty in existing models that the federal government uses to determine the risk of serious injury and mortality to right whales by lobster gear, according to DMR. This funding will allow DMR to expand NARW research and improve the assessment of risk to NARWs posed by fixed gear fisheries in advance of future federal rulemakings. Read more here.

Four Living Shoreline Projects Enhance Climate Resilience in Anne Arundel County, MD

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently helped complete four living shoreline projects in Anne Arundel County that are designed to protect communities from erosion and flooding. These projects represent small and large scale restoration efforts through the department’s Resiliency through Restoration Initiative. “Living shorelines are vital for coastal communities grappling with the short- and long-term challenges of climate change and associated erosion,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz. “Projects such as these demonstrate the effectiveness of nature-based solutions and provide lasting environmental benefits for every Marylander.” DNR partnered with Arundel Rivers Federation to design and construct two shoreline projects benefiting state and county parks. Projects were completed in June 2023. Read more here.

Gulf Coast

Louisiana Breaks Ground on $2.3B Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion

 When measuring the impact of land loss plaguing the state of Louisiana, the staggering statistics verify the significance and need for coastal restoration. With over 2,000 acres lost since the 1980s, peril was traded for progress with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) breaking ground in late summer on its $2.3-billion Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) project. The MBSD coastal restoration endeavor is located at mile 60.7 on the Mississippi River between Ironton, La., and the now-closed Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery. Its boundaries span the Mississippi River's west bank to the Mid-Barataria Basin, west of what is referred to as the back levee. The project focuses on capturing rich sediment and freshwater from the river and then diverting it to the Barataria Basin. The MBSD is a joint venture between Archer Western and Alberichi. Read more here.

Cedar Key’s Living Shorelines Show Study Success After Hurricane Impact

Mark Clark, a University of Florida associate professor in the soil, water, and ecosystem sciences department, said he and colleague Savanna Barry, a UF/IFAS Extension regional specialized Florida Sea Grant agent, began texting back and forth after [Hurricane Idalia]. “This was the first big test for these living shorelines,” Clark said, explaining that 2016’s Hurricane Hermine was a driving force behind jumpstarting the projects. “We had no guarantees the plants would make it, let alone come out somewhat unscathed.” As the 2023 hurricane season comes to a close, the living shorelines of Cedar Key should be considered one of the year’s success stories. In the span of a few hours on Aug. 30, Hurricane Idalia brought a record storm surge to the tiny coastal town, and the water level peaked at 6.89 feet above the typical highest tide level, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But the shorelines largely thrived, with Clark and Barry collecting data that proved, among other highlights, that the installations reduced the wave energy coming ashore. Even where the inundation of floodwaters damaged the natural barriers, new growth has already begun – echoing the resilience of the Cedar Key community these shorelines protect. Read more here.

Great Lakes

New Lake Erie Shoreline Maps Reveal Hidden Gems Around Ohio

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Office of Coastal Management has launched two new online resources to help Ohioans and visitors discover publicly accessible parklands and protected lands along Ohio’s 312-mile Lake Erie shore and along the major rivers that flow into the lake. Developed through the Ohio Coastal Management Program, these resources include the updated Lake Erie Public Access Map Viewer and the brand-new Lake Erie Public Access StoryMap. The Lake Erie Public Access Map Viewer is a full upgrade from the previous version. The mapping interface includes up-to-date public access and recreational information. Users can view and toggle on/off many recreational dataset layers, including beach access, fishing access, boating access, and paddling access points, geologic and cultural points of interest, and picnicking facilities. The map viewer also highlights recreational corridors that connect Lake Erie’s public access sites, such as scenic byways, biking facilities, and water trails. Improved search functionality enhances the ability to find access sites and amenities in the map viewer, by county, waterbody, and/or name. Read more here.

Great Lakes Now Releases New Episode "Rivers of Water and Sand" on Ogden Dunes Erosion

In this episode of Great Lakes Now, Indiana shoreline residents take drastic action to save their homes from powerful waves, Michigan DNR officials defend against climate change by removing old dams, and The Catch offers news from around the region. Ogden Dunes is a tiny town sandwiched between a national park and heavy industry at the southernmost end of Lake Michigan.On the last day of October 2019, heavy waves started crashing into the shore. “And they were hitting the wall so hard that our entire house would shake,” said Coombs. “And that undermined the steel wall and eventually the steel wall actually failed. Desperate to hang on to their homes and way of life on the beach, residents in Ogden Dunes raised more than $5-million dollars to build a revetment made of huge boulders. The giant rocks were stacked about 15-feet high on the beach. Usually built on the slope of a shoreline, a revetment is designed to soften the blow of heavy waves. Completed in 2020, the revetment in Ogden Dunes seems to be working. While a revetment may provide immediate relief, environmentalists in Northwest Indiana oppose the construction of revetments to control erosion. Betsy Maher is Executive Director of “Save the Dunes”, an environmental group that is challenging the town of Ogden Dunes in court. “…and we are sympathetic to the town,” said Maher. “But, there are alternatives out there that are more nature based.” Watch the episode here to learn more.

West Coast and Pacific

Santa Cruz County Homeowners Face $4.7 Million in Fines for Blocking Public Access to Beach Walkway

A group of beachfront homeowners in Aptos are facing millions in potential fines levied by the California Coastal Commission following allegations that they have obstructed the public’s access to a walkway next to Seacliff State Beach for decades. Citing violations as far back as 1982, the commission will weigh a staff recommendation to fine the Rio Del Mar Beach Island Homeowners Association – and its estimated 27-home membership, most of which are vacation rentals – more than $4.7 million. Allegations include blocking the public’s access to a 37-foot-wide, almost quarter-mile long stretch of walkway adjacent to the beach and failure to maintain native plants along a revetment abutting the walkway and row of properties. Lisa Haage, chief of enforcement at the commission, confirmed it is the most costly Coastal Act penalty the agency has recommended in Santa Cruz County history. “This type of violation particularly affects disabled persons, moms and dads pushing strollers and others who rely on walkways to be able to enjoy the coast,” wrote Haage. “It is also an issue of environmental justice — access to beaches and walkways are essential to providing low cost access to the coast for those who cannot afford to own homes along the coast but who still should be able to access and appreciate our gorgeous coastline.” Read more here.

Quinault Tribe Builds New Village Site Away From Rising Seas

With winter storms and high tides approaching, the Quinault Indian Nation continues efforts to relocate its seaside villages. In recent years, the village of Taholah, the largest on the Quinault Indian Reservation on Washington’s Olympic coast, has had to evacuate when waves overtopped the seawall separating it from the Pacific Ocean. For about a decade, the tribe has been working to move the village of 660 people out of reach of rising seas and tsunamis. Construction crews installed streets, sidewalks, and underground utilities in the fall of 2023 for a neighborhood of 59 homes about 1 mile inland. “We went from forest land about three years ago, and now we have a finished product full of street signs and sidewalks and drainages, so it's a really cool sight to see,” said Ryan Hendricks, a Quinault Tribal Council member and former construction manager. An expanding ocean, fueled by global warming, is gradually pushing sea levels higher, while king tides that come every November, December, and January can quickly push seas much higher for short stretches. So can winter storms. Read more here.

Events & Webinars

December 4 - March 15, 2024

December 15, 2023

February 12-15, 2024

February 23-24, 2024

March 12-14, 2024

May 12-16, 2024

June 23-27, 2024

NOAA Science Seminar Series


[NEW] NOAA Releases First-Ever National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Visualization Tool

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is pleased to share the release of its National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) Data Visualization Tool on the NOAA Geoplatform. This product is the first-ever tool currently on the NOAA Geoplatform for shallow (0-30m) tropical/sub-tropical coral reef ecosystem status and trends data. NCRMP provides a strategic framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climatic, and socioeconomic indicators in U.S. states and territories with coral reefs. The resulting data provide a robust picture of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the communities connected to them. It is one of the only coral reef monitoring programs in the world to directly include a human dimensions component with biophysical monitoring. The NCRMP GIS-based tool allows you to see where and when coral reef monitoring data were collected, visualize status and trends, and download summarized data in an easier way than ever before. The tool gives scientists, managers, and students a “one-stop” information hub to access and understand NOAA’s shallow water coral data. Access the tool here.

[NEW] EPA Releases Report of the National Estuary Program 2022 Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2022, the 28 NEPs implemented projects that improved environmental conditions and bolstered human well-being. Last year, NEPs made impressive accomplishments in sustainability and restoration. The Accomplishments Report presents the NEP’s national metrics for 2022 alongside success stories from local NEPs demonstrating why their work is important for the health of estuaries and communities that depend on them. The report also highlights each of the 28 NEPs individually, allowing readers to learn more about their study areas, priorities, accomplishments and future initiatives.

[NEW] Mississippi- Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Announce New Resilience Institute

Mississippi- Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is excited to announce their new COAST (Community Outreach and Strategic Training) Resilience Institute. This year-long program is aimed at equipping elected officials, municipal staff and other community leaders with the latest science-based research for enhancing decision-making and increasing resilience. Trainings will be offered in four sessions: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Participants are eligible for AICP and CFM credits. There are no minimum attendance requirements to participate. Learn more here.

[NEW] Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and Lake Superior NERR Release Great Lakes Planting Guide

This guide empowers users to grow, promote, and use plant beings specifically from natural plant communities adapted to coastal areas of Gichigami (Lake Superior) to heal and protect Gichigami shorelines. While the focus of the guide is specific to the Wisconsin coast, the basic premise extends to other regions of the Gichigami basin and watershed, though some of the plant communities may be different. It is designed for use by coastal-land caretakers, resource managers, landscape planners, and anyone who interacts with the Gichigami shoreline. Users of this guide will be introduced to many plants that have thrived on this landscape, and with whom the Ojibwe people have developed long-standing relationships. From its inception, the intent of this planting guide has been to blend different ways of knowing together and to share about plants in a way that intentionally elevates the knowledge and the guidance of Indigenous communities. Read the guide here.

[NEW] White House Announces Ocean Justice Strategy at COP28

The White House announced its first-ever Ocean Justice Strategy Friday at COP28 in Dubai, which it says will advance the nation's commitment to environmental justice for all. The Biden Administration says indigenous communities have stewarded marine habitats for centuries. Now those communities are among those who may be most at risk for health and environmental harm from those habitats. The strategy, which the administration describes as a "vision for ocean justice," was developed with input from public comments and from consultation with Tribal nations and roundtables with U.S. Territories and Native Hawaiian organizations. The new strategy includes a variety of marginalized groups, including Black, Latino and Native communities. “The ocean is a life source for us all, but because of historic injustices and underinvestment, some communities are hit harder by devastating climate change impacts,” said Brenda Mallory, the chair of the White House Council for Environmental Quality. “The Biden-Harris Administration’s new Ocean Justice Strategy will help to address historic inequities, improve the well-being of people in communities connected to the ocean, and safeguard a healthy ocean for everyone." Read more here.

[NEW] Ocean Conservancy Releases Report Justice40 Implementation and Water Equity in Florida

Ocean Conservancy’s Justice40 interim report dives into research conducted in Florida at the nexus of failing water infrastructure, climate risk, and federal infrastructure investments in disadvantaged communities. Florida, one of the most climate-vulnerable states in the country, received a C rating or lower for water infrastructure types assessed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, signaling that robust investments from the BIL are essential. To better understand the nature of critical water infrastructure risk and funding disparities at a localized scale, the Ocean Conservancy conducted a geospatial analysis studying systemically disadvantaged communities exposed to the cumulative effects of failing water systems, water pollution and coastal climate impacts. Read the press release here and the full report here.

NFWF and NOAA Announce $144 Million in Grants to Support Coastal Resilience Projects

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and NOAA announced $144 million in new grants to support natural infrastructure projects in 31 coastal states and U.S. territories. These grants will support design and implementation of projects to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and improve habitat for fish and wildlife across the U.S. The NCRF supports capacity building and larger-scale planning, design, and implementation projects to help improve community and coastal habitat resilience and reduce risks and devastating impacts of rising seas, coastal flooding, and more intense storms. The natural infrastructure projects supported by the NCRF not only buffer communities from more intense storms, they also provide vital habitat for fish and wildlife species. The projects supported by the 109 grants announced today will restore and create important coastal habitats, including salt marshes in New England and restored tidal wetlands in California, and will help Alaskan coastal communities prepare for a changing climate. Read the full announcement here and the full list of projects here.

Fifth National Climate Assessment Released, Coastal Effects Chapter

US Global Change Research Program delivered it's fifth National Climate Assessment to Congress. The assessment includes a "Coasts" chapter. Key messages from the chapter are coastal hazards are increasing due to accelerating sea level rise and changing storm patterns; coastal impacts on people and ecosystems are increasing due to climate change; and, adaptation reduces risk and provides additional benefits for coastal communities. Read the full chapter as well as explore the rest of the report here.

Urban Ocean Lab Publishes Key Findings from Fifth National Climate Assessment

To help coastal cities ground their climate plans in the most up-to-date science, Urban Ocean Lab has released a new resource with key findings from the recently published Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5). NCA5 shows that climate impacts to coastal cities are intensifying, but there are many opportunities to accelerate mitigation and adaptation efforts. The memo summarizes key findings and puts forward actionable policy recommendations to help coastal cities rapidly shift to transformative adaptation, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and prioritize equity-centered approaches to climate action. Read the memo here.

NFWF Announces $141.3 Million in Grants from the America the Beautiful Challenge

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) joined its public partners today in announcing $141.3 million in grants through the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC). The 74 new grants announced today will support landscape-scale conservation projects across 46 States, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal and Native Nations. The grants will generate at least $12 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $153 million. ATBC grants support projects that conserve, restore and connect habitats for wildlife while improving community resilience and access to nature. These projects will enable states, Tribal Nations, U.S. territories, nonprofits, academic institutions, and other grantees to develop and implement multijurisdictional, high-priority restoration projects on both public and private lands. Read more here.

Call for Abstracts: New Jersey Coastal and Climate Resilience Conference

The New Jersey Coastal Resilience Collaborative and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection invite you to submit an abstract to be considered for presentation at the 2024 New Jersey Coastal & Climate Resilience Conference. We welcome abstracts addressing issues related to the following focus issues and topics:

  • Municipal Support for Resilience Planning
  • Communicating Climate Science & Impacts
  • Climate Science
  • Coastal Research
  • Coastal Flooding & Storms
  • Coastal Ecosystem Restoration for Resilience
  • Beneficial Use of Sediments
  • Wildlife Impacts due to Climate Change
  • Coastal Invasive Species
  • Coastal Lake Protection and Restoration
  • Offshore Wind

All abstracts must be submitted by close of business Friday, December 15, 2023. Learn more and submit your abstract here.

American Planning Association Releases Analysis of State Resilience Approaches

A new APA analysis explores governance features states are using to address flood, disaster, and climate resilience issues. Learn which states have created new organizational structures or made new resilience planning commitments. Support for this project provided by The Pew Charitable Trust. Learn more here.

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.

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] 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

[NEW] Lynker, NOAA Climate Adaptation Partnerships Program - Program Specialist

[NEW] US Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Hazards Resources Program - Physical Scientist

[NEW] US Geological Survey - Diverse Knowledge Systems for Climate Adaptation Fellowship

NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research - Deputy Assistant Administrator for Programs and Administration

2024 William M. Lapenta Student Internship Program

In NGOs, Industry, and Academia

[NEW] The Virgin Islands Conservation Society - Residential Erosion Control Program Coordinator

[NEW] Michigan State University Extension - Extension Educator (Great Lakes Sea Grant-GLERL Liaison)

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

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

[NEW] NEIWPCC - Environmental Analyst, Wetlands & Long Island Sound

[NEW] Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation - Coastal Resilience Manager

Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health - 2024 Climate Justice Fellows Program

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Center for Water Policy - Water Policy and Science Communications Graduate Fellow

Reef Environmental Education Foundation - Marine Conservation Fellow

Restore America's Estuaries - Manager, Communications and Government Affairs

Restore America's Estuaries - Associate, Programs

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.

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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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