Leo Asuncion welcomes members and takes a roll call.
Board Members present: Leo Asuncion (HI); Brian Lynn )WA); Steve Couture (NH); Jill Andrews (GA); Kathleen Leyden (ME); Mike Friis (WI); Ronda Wuycheck (MI); Patty Snow (OR); Janice Castro (CNMI); Matt Fleming (MD); Rebecca Prado (FL)
CSO staff present: Bradley Watson; Grant Williams; Mike Molnar; Bridget Cotti-Rausch; Bridget Faust
Approval of minutes from April 11, 2018
Mr. Asuncion requests a motion to approve the minutes from the April Executive Committee Meeting. Ms. Leyden, suggests that the notes be reported in more detail and focus on the outcomes of Ex Comm discussions going forward. Ms. Leyden then motions to approve the minutes. Ms. Wuycheck seconds this motion. The minutes for the April Ex Comm meeting are approved without objection.
Steve Couture reviews the Budget v. Actual report and states that CSO brought in more revenue than expected and spent more than expected on the Winter Meeting, but ended up being in the black overall.
Patty Snow notes that with the additional dollars for FY18, the Oregon coastal management program will be hiring a coastal resilience coordinator.
Ms. Wuycheck shares the she attended the Michigan NOAA Congressional Roundtable, and adds that the meeting was well attended, but the panel was comprised strictly of NOAA staff. She notes it would have been nice to have the coastal management program participate in the panel, especially during the discussion on vibrant communities. She made an effort to highlight the “boots on the ground” activities of the coastal program and was inspired to do more state-led roundtables in MI.
Janice Castro notes that Guam’s coastal management program staff are on Saipan for an annual team building and strategic planning workshop.
Matt Fleming notes that the states in the Mid-Atlantic region are responding to the federal register advance notice of proposed rulemaking on OCS. Specifically, they are working together to take stock of what is happening. Mr. Fleming also shares that Rear Admiral Gallaudet attended a cleanup event at Mallow’s Bay, which is being considered for a National Marine Sanctuary Designation. He adds that he had a chance to talk about the coastal programs and NERRS at that event, and that this presentation was well received.
Ms. Leyden reminds members that there are less than 200 days until the Maine gubernatorial election.
Bradley Watson notes that the Unified Regulatory Agenda was released on May 9th, which included an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for the three OCS provisions under CZMA federal consistency. He adds that CSO is trying to provide good objective information on what this means for members and that it will be posted to the CSO Members Only website. Mr. Watson broadly discusses the three OCS provisions impacted and notes both NOAA and BOEM will have a role in this process.
Hill Report and Strategy
Mr. Watson reports that while CSO is calling the new grant funding from the FY18 Omnibus bill the “OCSF”, NOAA still hasn’t given it an official name. He also shared that NOAA, NFWF, and the appropriators have an ongoing dialogue and are involving Sen. Whitehouse in discussions as well. He hopes that CSO will have an idea of how the funding will be administered in the near future but that is not certain.
Ms. Leyden asks whether programs should be calling senators to ask about funding for coastal states out of that pot of money. Mr. Watson responds that “grants to coastal states” language was included in the report language and that it can’t hurt to call your senator. He also notes that CSO does not want an overall organizational push in this regard as it could be perceived as inserting ourselves in a process intended to be carried out by NOAA and NFWF.
Mr. Watson further notes that under the Regional Resilience Grants program the requirement for a letter from the governor was not always effective in notifying coastal programs of investment in the coastal zone and that they hope to see this addressed under the OCSF process. Mr. Asuncion noted that coastal programs should have been informed when a proposal went in to obtain grant money in a Hawaii example.
Ms. Snow noted that other federal dollars have to go through federal consistency review and that it’s ironic that these dollars weren’t subject to that. Mr. Williams noted that the funders won’t be able to subvert this process this time around under the OCSF.
Ms. Leyden noted that the coastal programs don’t want to be in the position of prioritizing proposals. She noted that, at a minimum, it would be great if applicants would need to have an oral consultation with NOAA funded programs in the state (Sea Grant, Coastal Programs, NERRS, etc.) and suggested that we ask for some language that requires that funded projects be “consistent with existing plans”.
Mr. Williams reports that the House budget cut NOAA’s budget to $751M, which is a less drastic cut than what was included in the President’s budget. Details on the CZMP budget have not yet been released.
Mr. Watson notes that in a recent meeting with appropriators the idea of using the National Oceanographic Partnership Program to leverage federal funding was raised. He also noted the discussions at this meeting demonstrated an intent by congressional staff to allow federal agencies to directly hire fellows in order to bring on the generation of scientists and leaders.
Mr. Williams reports that the CSO Friend’s Letter is still lagging behind on signatures, but that the expected cuts to the CZM budget will likely motivate more individuals and organizations to sign-on. There are ~125 signatures now.
Mr. Watson reports that a Senate WRDA hearing was held on May 9th and that the Senate WRDA Bill was introduced shortly after. He also notes the House will introduce their WRDA Bill soon as well. He predicts that both bills will be marked up and ready for a floor vote before the end of the month. Highlights of what was included in the Senate WRDA Bill included:
- Some natural infrastructure language,
- Authorization of Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Study, and
- A proposal to institute a GAO study which would examine the impacts of monetizing benefits that aren’t currently included in BC ratios.
Mr. Watson notes that CSO, ASBPA, NACo, and Audubon are working on a joint WRDA letter that will be sent for a follow up email vote.
Update on NOAA National CZM Strategic Plan
Bridget Faust shares that NOAA is getting close to releasing the final draft of the National CZM Strategic Plan. With respect to next steps, the agency will likely start looking at beginning to implement that plan along with the states and territories. We don’t know what implementation would look like in this case, but she took a few minutes on this call today to ask, what would implementation look like to CSO Executive Committee members and that she is happy to schedule a follow up call with those of you that are interested to discuss this in greater detail. No members responded to this request on the call.
Ms. Faust notes that NOAA recently funded a scoping study which is a precursor to a return on investment study for the coastal zone management program. CSO and NOAA partnered to develop the scope of work for this study. The turnaround time for this scope of work was just over a week so they were unable to share it with this group. That said, written into the statement of work are two positions for CSO members who would serve on the advisory team. This advisory team will have the opportunity to provide critical feedback on the products that the contractor produces throughout the project and represent the interests of the coastal states in this economic assessment. This project will take between 9 months and a year to complete. Ms. Faust asks members for recommendations for regarding CSO members to serve on the advisory team.
Hearing no recommendations, Ms. Faust states that she will send an email to CSO membership describing time commitment and skillsets of ideal candidates, and asking for volunteers to serve on the advisory team.
306A in Fed Reg and CSO Comments
Mr. Molnar states that CSO has heard from one program thus far. He asked that if you have a comment that you’d like to include that you please share it with CSO or send directly to NOAA.
Bridget Cotti-Rausch shares that EPA OWOW has a new Division Director, Brian Fraser. She adds that Mr. Fraser is interested in state engagement and OWOW as the best place for state engagement. Ms. Cotti-Rausch and Mr. Watson will be briefing Mr. Fraser on CSO before the end of the month. In addition, Ms. Cotti-Rausch states that she met with Bob Benson, the EPA Branch Chief that heads the National Estuary Programs, to scope potential for greater coordination between NEPs and CZM programs. Finally, the Executive Order on National Ocean Policy is expected to be rolled out as a part of Capitol Hill Oceans Week.
Mr. Watson cites the Silver Jackets program as an example of how the Corps can leverage internal funds to work with the coastal programs and provide technical assistance. Mr. Watson encourages the Executive Committee to review the memo that Mr. Ryan-Henry created on this matter. In this memo, Mr. Ryan-Henry notes that he can provide assistance to help draft and have a proposal reviewed for coastal programs.
Mr. Watson reports that NFWF has been quiet since inclusion of OCSF language in omnibus legislation. He also notes that CSO has created a directory of state CZMP and NFWF contacts by region and shared with NFWF. The hope is that this document will be a two way resource to encourage communication between NFWF and CZMPs.
Mr. Watson states that there has been a push from RAE to fundraise from the Coastal Management Community. RAE ideally would like to see that a lot of coastal management programs are invested in the Summit. He notes that he can work with Rae to try and incentivize any CZMP sponsorship beyond what is listed in the prospectus.
Brian Lynn asks how much are the CA CZM Coastal Programs are contributing. Mr. Watson says that they are contributing around $5,000 per program.
As for the plenary discussion, Mr. Watson shares that he met with Jeff Benoit to decide how many plenaries there will be at the RAE-CSO Summit. The Mayor of Long Beach might participate in one Plenary. Rear Admiral Gallaudet would be a good candidate for a plenary speaker and requested that the Ex Comm make suggestions for additional plenary speakers.
Work Group Updates
Coastal NPS Work Group
Ms. Faust shares that there is a full CNPS Work Group call next week and that she will be starting up a subgroup for conditionally approved states. Before the end of this week, Ms. Faust will contact the coastal nonpoint staff from each conditionally approved CZMP to ask about scheduling a recurring monthly call with them.
Adaptation Work Group
Ms. Cotti-Rausch states that she will be sending out a membership-wide email to recruit more members to the Adaptation Work Group. She also notes that she and Mr. Watson will work with Joelle Gore and Work Group leadership to coordinate NOAA and CSO efforts with respect to coastal hazards.
Communication Work Group
Mr. Molnar shares that the work group has two co-chairs: Steve Holland (OH) and Kim Cole (DE), and states that the first call will be held on May 23rd at 3pm ET. He adds that subsequent work group calls will be held on the 4th Wednesday of the month at 3pm.
Mr. Molnar also discusses the need for greater geographic representation; specifically, the need for Work Group members from the following regions: SE/Caribbean (need 2 individuals), Gulf Coast (need 1 individual), West Coast (need 1 individual), and Islands (need 1 individual). He asks members to please email him if you have staff that can serve on the work group. Work group members don’t need to be delegates or alternates to participate.
CSO Members Only Website
Mr. Watson states that CSO is trying to reduce the number of emails being sent to membership and will use the Members Only website for posting resources and information. Toward that end he recommends that the Ex Comm look at Members Only site since there has been significant progress made on that front in both content and user friendliness.
Mr. Watson notes that the MOU is being fine-tuned by Members of the CSO Ex Com and CSSF Board and will be sent for a vote soon.
Fall Meeting Discussion
Mr. Watson reports that the Planning Committee had their first call recently where they developed a general conceptual layout of meeting agenda and site visit. Weather and cost permitting, the site visit will be to Block Island Wind Farm. Hotel Providence will be the location for the meeting. He also discusses that the Planning Committee is entertaining the notion of incorporating a couple workshops or trainings into the agenda. The Fall meeting will be held October 15-19, 2018.
Mr. Watson reports that the 2019 Winter meeting will likely be held March 11-15, 2019, and that the Embassy Suites by the convention center would likely be the venue according to coordination efforts thus far with NOAA and NERRA.
Mr. Watson notes that Joelle Gore will likely be sending out an announcement regarding the Unified Regulatory Agenda tomorrow.
Mr. Asuncion thanks the Executive Committee and adjourns the meeting at 4:30 pm. The next EC meeting is scheduled for June 13, 2018.