Leo Asuncion welcomes members and takes roll call.

Members present: Leo Asuncion (HI); Brian Lynn (WA); Steve Couture (NH); Ronda Wuycheck (MI); Jill Andrews (GA); Kathleen Leyden (ME); Bruce Carlisle (MA); Don Benczkowski (PA); Justine Nihipali (HI).

CSO staff present: Mary Munson; Bradley Watson; Grant Williams; Norma Longhi; Erik Kamrath; John Ryan-Henry

Approval of minutes from May 3, 2017

Kathleen Leyden moves to approve the May minutes; Steve Couture seconds the motion; minutes are approved unanimously.

Fall Meeting Planning

Justine Nihipali thanks members for their time and briefly discusses the Fall meeting agenda. She shares that on the last planning meeting the committee discussed panel topics and possible speakers. She asks members to please reach out to their regional counterparts and learn what others may need in order to attend the meeting. A deadline for responses is set to June 30th.


Bradley Watson announces the birth of his daughter, and thanks members for all of the congratulatory messages received.

Mary Munson shares that the Regional Resilience Grant that CSO worked on with NACo and ASFPM has been awarded. She adds that additional details will be shared once available.

Ms. Munson discusses the possible dates for the next Winter meeting and following a discussion members agree to hold the 2018 Winter meeting at a later time in the year.

Treasurer and Membership Dues Report

Mr. Couture reviews the Treasurer’s Report and states that expenses are on track. He discusses and updates members on the current status of the IWR contract.

Norma Longhi updates members on current dues payments and shares that two additional states have submitted their dues payment.

Chair’s Initiative Update – Strategic Planning Retreat

Mr. Asuncion reminds members to review the retreat summary notes attached in the meeting announcement. He discusses the upcoming NOAA strategic plan meeting, and states that CSO will share information with the agency as the organization moves ahead with its strategic plans. Mr. Asuncion adds that he is working on a document that will cover the details discussed today, and will a share a draft by the end of the week.  Ms. Munson shares with members her views on how to best prepare for the upcoming meeting, and suggests that CSO hires a consultant to assist with the process.

Hill Report

  • Appropriations

Grant Williams shares that Congress is currently focusing on the health care bill. He also shares that he continues to meet with senior Hill staff to emphasize the need to protect the CZM programs.

  • Legislation Introduced

Mr. Williams updates members on recently introduced legislation, including the Digital Coast Act, which passed the Senate on May 25th and will now require passage by the House of Representatives and Signature by the President to become law. He also discusses the Flood Protection Act, which would authorize grants for coastal flooding mitigation projects in chronically flooded areas. Next he discusses the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act that would designate toxic algae blooms as an event of national significance and allow states to receive federal funds for response. Finally he discusses the Flood Prevention Act which would allow the District of Columbia to receive federal funding under CZMA.

  • Capitol Hill Ocean Week

Mr. Williams shares that he attended the Capitol Hill Oceans Week and also had the opportunity to participate on a panel about collaboration between fresh and coastal water focused organizations. He also notes that the panel was co-sponsor by CSO, the Women’s Aquatic Network, and Restore America’s Estuaries.

  • Other

Mr. Williams discusses the newly formed estuaries caucus and shares that a Hill briefing focused on the topic of Public Private Partnerships is scheduled for July 20th. He adds that CSO is also planning a briefing before the August recess and that it will likely focus on natural coastal infrastructure and correlating economic benefits.

Mr. Watson shares that CSO and partners at ASBPA successfully assisted Senator Carper (DE), Senator Nelson (FL), and Senator Whitehouse (RI) in their request to the US Government Accountability Office to undertake a study of the benefits and costs of natural coastal infrastructure and how federal agencies are supporting state coastal programs’ implementation of natural coastal infrastructure in the management of their coast.

Work Group Updates

Mr. Asuncion reveals that the Adaptation Work Group met recently to discuss the tools report. He adds that a final product should be ready soon for review.

Mr. Williams states that the next Coastal NPS is scheduled for July 17th.

Other Updates (Transition, Great Lakes Study, RAE/CSO18)

Ms. Munson shares that Bradley and herself are currently working through a transition schedule and all is going well. She also shares that CSO is in the process of discussing the hiring of a contract program person to assist after the transition period.

Mr. Watson thanks Don Benczkowski for getting the Pennsylvania letter of support for the Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Study. Mr. Watson notes that he was unable to attend the most recent regional meeting and ask others to share any updates they may have.  Mr. Benczkowski and Ronda Wuycheck provide some updates and mention that additional discussions are needed to refine the project scope.

Ms. Munson provides updates on the RAE-CSO 2018 Summit.


Mr. Asuncion thanks the Executive Committee and adjourns the meeting at 4:19 pm.  The next EC meeting is scheduled for July 12, 2017.