Beach News

Overview


Beach News is a courtesy service provided by the Carteret County Shore Protection Office that furnishes on-line news relevant to the beaches of North Carolina with special emphasis to Carteret County.  Please visit http://www.carteretcountync.gov/list.aspx if you wish to be added to or removed from the "Beach News" distribution list.   Recent "Beach News" is provided below.


BEACH NEWS for 2017


6/20/17
Topsail Dune Rule: Is Legislative Fix Possible? 
https://www.coastalreview.org/2017/06/topsail-dune-rule-legislative-fix-possible/

Bogue Inlet markers in place again
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_5c593336-534f-11e7-bced-4b6f68533484.html 

Beaches: State budget adds $5 million for storm repairs (SC)
http://coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/061517/3.html 

Virginia Beach City Council will oppose offshore oil and gas exploration
https://pilotonline.com/news/government/local/virginia-beach-city-council-will-oppose-offshore-oil-and-gas/article_8c350a25-a66c-5428-a895-7298fd16f2a4.html

6/18/17
Coast Guard reestablishes navigation aids marking bogue inlet channel
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170618/navigation-aids-back-in-bogue-inlet

Offshore Energy Debate Renews
http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/maritime/2017/06/16/offshore_energy_debate_renews/16233 

Stormwater flooding in South Carolina an expensive problem and a hot issue
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/stormwater-flooding-in-south-carolina-an-expensive-problem-and-a/article_64b87df4-4fb5-11e7-8bbb-eb181cb68852.html 

6/16/17
Short Term Dredging is Completed, but Connecting Channel isn’t Out of Hot Water Yet
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/06.14.2017-ShortTermDredgingIsCompletedButConnectingChannelIsntOutOfHotWaterYet.html 

Buxton beach nourishment project to start on Saturday
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/06/16/buxton-beach-nourishment-project-to-start-on-saturday/

Where $1B in coastal storm protection was spent in N.J. after Sandy
"The federal government and New Jersey have spent $1.05 billion on 11 major coastal storm protection projects since Hurricane Sandy decimated much of the state’s coastline on Oct. 29, 2012."
http://www.nj.com/ocean/index.ssf/2017/06/1b_spent_in_coastal_storm_protection_for_nj_after.html

Oak Island OKs two-cent hike, unspecified assessments to fund major renourishment project
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_02e0cbd4-5138-11e7-af5f-87c6bb6bc8c6.html 

Oak Island Town Council votes to increase taxes
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170614/oak-island-town-council-votes-to-increase-taxes

'Edisto Attitude' helps SC beach town rebuild after Hurricane Matthew
http://www.wcnc.com/weather/hurricane-central/edisto-attitude-helps-sc-beach-town-rebuild-after-hurricane-matthew/449386243 

The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html

House committee advances first flood insurance reform bills
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E, June 16, 2017
The House Financial Services Committee advanced two bills yesterday aimed at revamping and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program.  The "National Flood Insurance Program Policyholder Protection Act," H.R. 2868, from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), passed 53-0. It would authorize a study of flood insurance coverage for urban properties and allow more flexibility for owners trying to prevent damage to high-rise buildings.  The "21st Century Flood Reform Act," H.R. 2874, from Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) passed 30-26. It seeks to improve the financial stability of the NFIP by increasing the role of private markets in flood insurance, among other things.  The bills are the first two of seven before the Financial Services Committee as Congress races to reauthorize the NFIP before it expires in September. The program owes $24 billion to the Treasury, and lawmakers have focused reform efforts on ways to ease that debt.  One of the more controversial aspects of Duffy's bill was a provision that would end grandfathering new construction after four years.  Currently, the NFIP allows homeowners to pay subsidized rates for properties that predate the NFIP but adhere to housing codes from their time of construction. The NFIP also offers subsidized rates for homeowners whose property was not in a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood zone when built but ended up there when the agency updated its maps.
Ranking member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) pushed back against an end to new grandfathering, saying people should not be punished for "doing everything right" and building to code.  "It is not fair to have them be responsible for higher costs they never had anticipated," she said.  Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) countered by saying innocent taxpayers will ultimately have to pay for subsidized flood insurance rates.  He said, "The single mom in my district who drives the UPS truck did everything right, so why is she being penalized and asked to subsidize new construction? Somebody's got to bear this risk. Why not the person who bought the property?"  New York Democratic Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Gregory Meeks said they feared limiting grandfathering for new construction would slow economic development. They also worried about forcing new construction onto an underdeveloped private flood insurance market.
Duffy defended his legislation.  "If we have new construction in dangerous areas, do we want to take that risk onto the federal government, or do we say, well, if there is a private market, let's let them take it?" he asked.  "If we build more properties that are nicer properties in more dangerous areas, then when storms hit we can't be shocked that the cost to cover damage to these homes is also going to increase."  Democrats also expressed concerns with elements of Duffy's bill that would increase premiums and fees for policyholders. Though Duffy calculated that the average NFIP policyholder's premium would only increase $42 between fiscal 2016 and 2017, Democrats argued it was not affordable for low-income owners.  "I have said from the very beginning that my main priority, when it comes to flood insurance, is affordability, and that is what bothers me," Waters said.  Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) disagreed, saying raising the cap on premium increases from 5 to 8 percent is a way to mitigate loss to the program.  "If we cannot mitigate the risk we are insuring, then maybe it is not insurance we are providing but assistance," he said.  Duffy agreed. Whether Democrats "want to argue it's global warming or that we are building more homes in dangerous areas," he said, "the cost of recovery is going up."  The committee yesterday only tackled two of the seven bills on its docket. It will reconvene Wednesday to mark up the rest:
The "Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act," H.R. 1422, from Ross and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), to accelerate the development of the private insurance market.
The "Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act," H.R. 1558, from Reps. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), to require communities with repeatedly flooded properties to map those properties and associated public infrastructure.
The "Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act of 2017," H.R. 2246, from Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), to repeal the mandatory flood insurance coverage requirement for commercial properties located in flood zones.
H.R. 2565, also from Luetkemeyer, to require the use of replacement cost value in determining the premium rates for flood insurance coverage under the National Flood Insurance Act.
The "National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act of 2017," H.R. 2875, from Velazquez, to prevent fraud and abuse in the program.


6/14/17
NOAA opens public comment period related to seismic blasting
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170613/public-comment-period-begins-on-siesmic-testing-requests

Storm protection: 10 things to know about East Shore seawall project (NY)
http://www.silive.com/news/2017/06/check_out_the_planned_east_sho.html

Kill Devil Hills Board puts a lid on talk of taller hotels
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/06/13/kill-devil-hills-board-puts-a-lid-on-talk-of-taller-hotels/ 

KDH Board says 'No' to raising hotel heights
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/kdh-board-says-no-to-raising-hotel-heights/article_0bc7cf08-503f-11e7-8d10-d75aa0b3c6b4.html 

This Hilton Head private beach reopened after hurricane damage
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article155930564.html

Mayor of Tangier Island says he got a call from President Trump. And they talked about sea level rise 
http://pilotonline.com/news/government/nation/mayor-of-tangier-island-says-he-got-a-call-from/article_4ef881aa-10f2-5141-8dad-81cec306476f.html

6/12/17
Outer Banks beach widening ahead of schedule as sunbathers watch
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/outer-banks-beach-widening-ahead-of-schedule-as-sunbathers-watch/article_309f4408-0ae6-58b4-b66e-5d5317485ace.html

Floodwalls, sand dunes and wetlands: Norfolk residents weigh in on possible flood-prevention steps
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/floodwalls-sand-dunes-and-wetlands-norfolk-residents-weigh-in-on/article_a9cc7ccc-2e47-529f-8053-c2115de95b6a.html

Flood insurance in Norfolk just got a little cheaper for homeowners
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/flood-insurance-in-norfolk-just-got-a-little-cheaper-for/article_7575ad2b-60e3-57be-89c4-5a302cbf1d51.html

New ships may control fate of Charleston's eroding Crab Bank shorebird rookery
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/new-ships-may-control-fate-of-charleston-s-eroding-crab/article_61614366-4ae7-11e7-823a-8f01ac53a2b7.html

Mark Sanford, environmental groups in race against clock to stop offshore drilling
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article155331069.html

6/9/17
Coastal flooding increasing by ‘leaps and bounds’ in South Carolina, Georgia
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/weather/article155090349.html

Southeast Virginia region ranks No. 5 nationwide for storm-surge risk
https://pilotonline.com/business/consumer/southeast-virginia-region-ranks-no-nationwide-for-storm-surge-risk/article_381c951a-f288-518c-9eef-ad1fdaa66712.html

County wants to update 25-year-old management plan
http://www.coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/060817/2.html 

Drilling, Seismic Opponents Rally … Again
https://www.coastalreview.org/2017/06/drilling-seismic-opponents-rally-again/


6/8/17
Could Oak Island Levy a 10-cent tax to pay for beach nourishment?
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170605/could-oak-island-levy-10-cent-tax-to-pay-for-beach-nourishment

Oak Island decision on beach nourishment, financial options drawing near
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_0a6bb6fe-4bbe-11e7-8bac-7b4bb0114aad.html

New Seismic Permitting Process Begins
https://www.coastalreview.org/2017/06/new-seismic-permitting-process-begins/ 

Concerned about seismic testing? Tell NOAA
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170606/concerned-about-seismic-testing-tell-noaa

Panel debates flood insurance rate caps, privatization
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News, June 8, 2017
Lawmakers grappled with dueling priorities of keeping flood insurance affordable while tying insurance rates to risk during a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee yesterday.  The hearing touched on a package of six drafted bills, one of which would increase the annual limit on premium increases under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from 5 to 8 percent. Other bills in the package would focus funding on mitigation, including one that would fund buyouts of properties that suffer repeated severe losses.  Caitlin Berni, vice president for policy and communication at Greater New Orleans Inc., an economic development organization, told lawmakers that any allowed rate bump was too much.  "I am concerned it will increase the cost of the policy," she said.
But Taxpayers for Common Sense Vice President Steve Ellis, along with other witnesses, argued lawmakers should oppose any "artificial rate cap" and instead fund mitigation efforts.  "Rates are a clear communication of risk and provide incentives to mitigate, a far better way to reduce rates than by maintaining the risk and subsidizing the rate," he said.  Ellis said he favored providing rate assistance to "those who need it," but that insurance rates should ultimately be related to the actual flood risk of a property, with homeowners able to earn credits for improving their homes.  Congress, he said, should "encourage and fund mitigation measures that could serve to reduce rates by reducing risks."  "These mitigation efforts should be targeted at higher-risk and lower-income property owners," he said.  Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) appeared to favor mitigation funding, criticizing Berni for opposing premium increases.  "Are you advocating that this should be a continued subsidy, that it is the taxpayer who should make up this shortfall?" he asked.
Rebecca Kagan Sternhell, deputy director and general counsel of New York City's Office of Federal Affairs, said she was concerned about another draft bill that would eliminate NFIP's practice of subsidizing flood insurance rates for homes that were originally built in compliance with building codes of the time, even if they are currently out of date.
She defended "grandfathering," saying, "If you built to code at the time, you shouldn't be penalized for the world changing around you."  That rankled Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), who noted that grandfathered properties are not owned by "only poor people."  He argued wealthy policyholders who own grandfathered properties are unjustly being subsidized by "all other ratepayers" who are paying more expensive rates, including lower-income families.  "I find it outrageous we have a program where poor people are subsidizing rich people who can afford it," he said.
On the other side of the debate, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) said he was in favor of funding more mitigation but was worried that the draft proposals would make it more difficult for "those families that are most at risk to obtain the affordable insurance."  A number of the draft proposals would cede segments of the insurance market, like new construction in floodplains, to private insurers.  That idea split the panel of witnesses, with Berni and Sternhell worrying that forcing homeowners into the private market would automatically increase their insurance rates.  "We do not object to people going out and getting private insurance — if they go out and get a better price, go ahead, but we don't want to force them," Sternhell said.  They also worried that allowing private insurers to compete with NFIP for customers could result in lower-risk properties being privately insured while leaving NFIP financially unsound with the higher-risk properties.  But Ellis and R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a free market think tank, disagreed.  Lehmann argued that because homeowners living within 100-year floodplains are required to buy flood insurance, NFIP is "already a high-risk pool."  "There are by and large no cherries to pick," he said.  Ellis agreed, saying fears about "cherry-picking" are "simplistic" and that insurance companies would want to hold some higher-risk policies in order to make more money.  He also noted that competition for policies would incentivize private companies to offer better or cheaper policies.


6/6/17
Oak Island considering $3 million beach renourishment contract
http://www.wect.com/story/35589822/oak-island-considering-3-million-beach-renourishment-contract

NOAA sets table for seismic testing offshore, including off South Carolina
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/noaa-sets-table-for-seismic-testing-offshore-including-off-south/article_65a5ed56-49fb-11e7-b800-bffa5fb7e624.html

Trump opposition adds new hurdle to revenue-sharing debate
Geof Koss, E&E News, June 6, 2017 
Republicans and oil companies are vowing to push ahead with their long-standing efforts to expand the sharing of federal offshore drilling revenues with coastal states, despite the unexpected opposition of a key federal official: President Trump.  The administration caught top GOP allies off guard last month with the release of its fiscal 2018 budget request, which called for the repeal of state payments under the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA).  That law, enacted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, allowed four Gulf of Mexico states — Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas — to share 37.5 percent of oil and gas revenues produced in federal waters off their coasts.  At the time, the bill included caps on the annual payments for the first 10 years, a move that facilitated passage by lowering the measure's deficit impact. Payments are set to rise significantly this year.  Proponents of expanding the revenue-sharing formula nationally were gearing up for another try, confident they would have Trump's support. Then the budget came out.  In documents related to the spending plan, the Interior Department said repealing GOMESA would "ensure the sale of public resources from Federal waters owned by all Americans, benefit all Americans."  Gulf Coast states, it noted, "currently receive significant economic benefits from activity in their States associated with offshore energy development and are further set to receive additional benefits from the payout of the $20.8 billion BP oil spill settlement agreement reached in 2015."  Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was among those surprised by the administration's position because it echoed President Obama's fiscal 2016 request, which sought to "redirect" the GOMESA payments to national watershed and conservation programs.  Murkowski said about the Trump proposal last month, "That one got my attention because it is not unlike what we saw coming out of the last administration."
As they did with the previous administration, Murkowski said she expected congressional lawmakers to ignore the new president's idea.  "I know that there's been every effort made to make sure that this budget that was laid down balances, but, boy, that's sure going to be a tough lift for the people in the Gulf states to come around and support anything like that," she said. "I certainly don't."  Not only will lawmakers ignore the president, Murkowski and other drilling boosters say the budget would not deter her push to expand the revenue-sharing formula.  Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who invoked Trump's win last year and the prospect of more drilling to pressure Democrats into expanded revenue sharing to Alaska and Atlantic states, is one of those undeterred lawmakers (E&E Daily, Nov. 16, 2016).  "Unfortunately, D.C. folks want to have power retained by D.C. folks," he said before the Memorial Day recess. "The Obama administration went after this, too. The idea of giving it to a state and letting federalism work, allow the state to do that which is needed, for whatever reason, offends folks here." Cassidy noted that under Louisiana's amended Constitution, the GOMESA funds are legally required to be used to restore the state's rapidly eroding coastline.  "We're going to protect those dollars," he said. "In our state, we're losing all this land as we speak, and so that's what we're going to use to rebuild our coastline."

'Insulting'
Cassidy's Senate predecessor, former Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.), didn't mince words in discussing Trump's call to repeal GOMESA — one of her signature legislative achievements in the three terms she served in the upper chamber.  "It's shocking, it's disappointing, it's upsetting, it's insulting," Landrieu said in a phone interview with E&E News last week. "I can't think of enough words to say what it is, and I hope it was a mistake. I hope they rethink it."  Landrieu recounted that GOMESA was borne out of her frustration that Western states split onshore mineral extraction revenues with the federal government, which she called "a cornerstone of Western land policy" dating back to the 1920s.  She credits such revenue sharing for the broad support Western states have for resource development "because they're basically treated as respected partners." Coastal states, on the other hand, "have been, in my view, shortchanged for decades," she said.  During her first term, Landrieu pushed a broad resource bill that would have created a nationwide coastal restoration program, funded by federal oil and gas revenues. She says the measure had more than 60 votes in the Senate, but then-Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) refused to bring it up for a vote.  After Hurricane Katrina struck, devastating New Orleans and highlighting Louisiana's fragile coastline, Landrieu said she put together the more narrow measure that President George W. Bush eventually signed.  "I never came to Washington just to get money for Louisiana," she said last week. "Even though that was my No. 1 goal, I thought all coastal states — and still do — need help.  "But it ... just ended up being four states. So that's why it's sort of like pouring salt on the wound when people say to me, 'Well, why should we fund this program just for four states?'"
'Extension ... more likely'
Despite Trump's GOMESA repeal proposal, the new administration's push to rewrite Obama's five-year offshore drilling plan has actually prompted an effort to expand the law.  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last month introduced legislation, S. 1041, to extend a 125-mile ban on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf.  That moratorium — a key part of the negotiations that led to GOMESA's enactment — expires in 2022. Rubio's bill would extend the ban through 2027 but would also allow Florida to qualify for GOMESA revenue sharing (E&E News PM, May 5).  "This would give Florida a new source of funding, and recognize that as long as our shores shoulder some of the risk, it's only fair that Floridians share in some of the benefit," he wrote in an op-ed in the Pensacola News Journal last month.  In an analysis issued shortly after the budget's release, ClearView Energy Partners LLC said the underlying political dynamics "could make GOMESA extension under existing terms more likely than GOMESA revision or rescission."  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke last month told reporters there would be discussions with critics of the proposed GOMESA repeal but suggested new economic opportunities would eventually mitigate the fears (Energywire, May 24).  But Jack Gerard, the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said last week the administration's position hasn't lessened the group's support for revenue sharing.  "You look at all the great benefits it's provided up and down the coast," he told E&E News, singling out Louisiana in particular. "Great jobs, well-paying jobs, opportunities for them to do some environmental restoration. It's all a win-win, and I think it's just an equitable way to think about energy policy."

Feds take step toward allowing Atlantic exploration
Nathanial Gronewold, E&E News, June 5, 2017
The Trump administration is proposing to approve five ocean seismic survey companies' requests to search for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, prompting fury from environmentalists.  This morning, the National Marine Fisheries Service posted draft authorizations for firms to incidentally harm marine mammals while employing seismic airguns for exploration of hydrocarbons off the East Coast. The technology sends sound waves deep into the Earth's crust, monitoring the "echoes" to determine the likelihood of hitting sufficient crude oil and natural gas reserves.  The proposed authorizations will be officially published tomorrow morning in the Federal Register, kicking off a 30-day comment period.
The move was widely anticipated after President Trump repeatedly vowed on the campaign trail to open up more onshore and offshore federal leases to oil and gas drilling. He signed an executive order in April calling for considering parts of the Atlantic for possible drilling (Greenwire, April 28).  Ocean conservation groups blasted the proposed permits, saying they will harm whales and other marine life.  The five draft incidental take permits, or incidental harassment authorizations, essentially would absolve seismic survey companies of responsibility should they inadvertently harm, harass or kill marine mammals in the course of their activities.  "Deafening whales and dolphins to hunt for dirty oil in these sensitive coastal environments is reckless and cruel," Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release.  CBD also argued that the decision goes against the wishes of coastal communities along the Eastern Seaboard. The authorizations would cover an area stretching from Cape Canaveral off Florida north to the mouth of Delaware Bay, extending east throughout the United States' exclusive economic zone.  "According to the government's own estimates, seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic could injure as many as 138,000 marine mammals like dolphins and whales, while disturbing the vital activities of millions more," said Oceana. The Southern Environmental Law Center also slammed the move.  
Seismic survey companies employ mitigation efforts aimed at avoiding harming marine life while conducting airgun surveys. Some firms have also been known to invite conservation groups to monitor the work or to serve as spotters alerting vessels to the presence of marine life that can be potentially harmed by their work. Companies also follow federal protocols designed to protect animals.  The Obama administration had earlier considered seismic exploration for oil and gas in the Atlantic and had even proposed lease sales in Atlantic waters, but later President Obama rescinded those decisions, citing community opposition and the oil price crash that began in mid-2014. Obama's Interior Department also pulled back on plans to sell offshore oil and gas exploration leases in the Arctic Ocean.  Trump has long promised to reverse those decisions. Green groups are vowing to fight back.
Monsell said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management can reject permits if they go against mandates under the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act.  "We'll be commenting, urging the administration to deny these harmful applications," CBD's Monsell said in an email. "Before any seismic [test] can occur, BOEM will also need to issue permits and do supplemental analysis under NEPA and the ESA to analyze the impacts of seismic blasting on North Atlantic right whales and other imperiled species. We believe such analysis should lead to rejection of the permits given the significant, unnecessary harm to marine life already struggling to survive."  The Natural Resources Defense Council is eyeing alliances with the fishing industry to push back against Atlantic oil and gas exploration.  Michael Jasny, director of NRDC's Marine Mammal Protection Project, said post-seismic airgun tests can result in "net losses in catch by 40 to 80 percent" for the fishing industry.  Rick Baumann, founder and owner of Murrells Inlet Seafood in South Carolina, expressed his determination to oppose the permits in a call with reporters organized by NRDC this morning.  "It should be obvious to anyone who looks at this issue seriously that seismic blasting and offshore drilling are a real threat to our way of life and our ability to provide fresh seafood to the public," Baumann said. "It is very difficult for us to understand how the U.S. government would seriously entertain" the companies' requests, he added.
Industry earlier applauded the administration's decision to reconsider the applications to conduct seismic surveys.  "Existing resource estimates for the Atlantic [outer continental shelf] are based on data collected from seismic surveys conducted more than 30 years ago," Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said in a release at the time. "As the Trump administration moves forward in developing a new Five Year Program for offshore oil and gas exploration, new surveys using modern technology are vital to providing an up-to-date and scientifically accurate picture of the offshore oil and gas resources off our Atlantic seaboard."  Following the oil price plunge from $100 per barrel to as low as $26 per barrel, interest in exploring for crude in the Atlantic and Arctic virtually evaporated. Offshore exploration activity in the Gulf of Mexico fell by more than half as companies shied away from offshore drilling. But with steadying crude prices in the $50-per-barrel-range, oil companies are again eyeing opportunities in ocean energy exploration. The number of active rigs employed in the Gulf of Mexico has stabilized.


6/5/17
One way Beaufort County residents are protecting homes from next hurricane: By moving them (SC)
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article154011634.html

Floods, sea rise might take bigger toll on estuary properties than beaches in South Carolina
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/floods-sea-rise-might-take-bigger-toll-on-estuary-properties/article_603ac028-4616-11e7-8ed4-2fdf198bc3e4.html

Pilkey: The Paris agreement, climate change, NC coast and rising seas
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article154240764.html

Panel seeks 'taxpayer's perspective' on flood insurance
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News, June 5, 2017
The House Financial Services Committee will continue its discussion of flood insurance on Wednesday with a hearing aimed at getting "a taxpayer's perspective."  At issue is the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which will expire at the end of September.  This week's hearing is the latest on the program for the Financial Services panel.  Earlier this year, NFIP chief Roy Wright told lawmakers that he doesn't know how the program could repay the $24.6 billion it owes to the Treasury (E&E Daily, March 10).  Lawmakers have begun floating solutions of their own, including forgiving the debt and opening up more of the flood insurance market to the private sector.  The Government Accountability Office has noted that expanding private insurance options could allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to focus on better flood mapping and mitigation (E&E News PM, April 27).  According to a report the watchdog released last month, a larger private footprint and a more focused FEMA "could address the policy goal of reducing federal fiscal exposure while promoting flood resilience."
Schedule:  The hearing is Wednesday, June 7, at 10:30 a.m. in 2128 Rayburn.


6/2/17
2017 Hurricane Season Preview (NEW - Shore Protection Office Newsletter)
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/951

Bag Ban Repeal, Topsail Dune Rule Advance
https://www.coastalreview.org/2017/06/bag-ban-repeal-topsail-dune-rule-advance/

Coastal communities preparing for hurricane season
http://www.witn.com/content/news/Coastal-communities-preparing-for-hurricane-season-425821364.html


5/31/17
The World is Running Out of Sand
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/29/the-world-is-running-out-of-sand 

Business View: ‘No Good Reason For Drilling’
https://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/business-view-no-good-reason-drilling/

Trump Opens Carolina Coast To Seismic Blasting
http://wunc.org/post/trump-opens-carolina-coast-seismic-blasting#stream/0 

5/30/17
Funding ‘for now’ for NC beach projects
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170526/funding-for-now-for-nc-beach-projects  

With Feds Reversal on Seismic, What’s Next?
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/feds-reversal-seismic-next/

Trump budget kills offshore oil revenue sharing for Louisiana, other Gulf states
http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/05/trump_budget_kills_offshore_oi.html

How Rising Seas and Coastal Storms Drowned the U.S. Flood Insurance Program
http://e360.yale.edu/features/how-rising-seas-and-coastal-storms-drowned-us-flood-insurance-program


5/25/17
Beach Nourishment Project Update for Buxton
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/05.25.2017-BeachNourishmentProjectUpdateForBuxton.html 

Voice TV: Get a close-up look at beach widening in Duck
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/24/voice-tv-get-a-close-up-look-at-beach-widening-in-duck/

Myrtle Beach awarded long-awaited money to rebuild its beach
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article152628544.html

Army Corps of Engineers is using Norfolk as a model to fight off coastal flooding
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/army-corps-of-engineers-is-using-norfolk-as-a-model/article_9b81913f-36a2-53b1-8abb-dad8633022fd.html

Charleston port on its way to East Coast's deepest harbor with federal dollars in hand
http://www.postandcourier.com/business/charleston-port-on-its-way-to-east-coast-s-deepest/article_51a3f3be-40d4-11e7-982b-ff4f04ac8d2e.html

5/24/17
Bogue Inlet getting new navigational channel
http://www.witn.com/content/news/Bogue-Inlet-getting-new-navigational-channel--423956824.html 

Big dredge arrives off Duck; nourishment could start overnight
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/23/where-are-they-working-on-beach-nourishment/ 

BOEM Aids Dare County, North Carolina, in Rebuilding Coastal Shoreline This Summer
https://www.boem.gov/note05242017/

Report: Inland Cities Could See Influx Of Residents As Sea Level Rises
http://wunc.org/post/report-inland-cities-could-see-influx-residents-sea-level-rises#stream/1

5/23/17
Study: Rising seas could influence NC migration patterns
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170522/study-rising-seas-could-influence-nc-migration-patterns 

The Netherlands to Increase Beach Nourishment Activities
http://www.dredgingtoday.com/2017/05/22/the-netherlands-to-increase-beach-nourishment-activities/

Going deep: Ports in Virginia and Charleston compete for bigger ships, deeper harbors
http://www.postandcourier.com/business/going-deep-ports-in-virginia-and-charleston-compete-for-bigger/article_8afbd0de-3ef7-11e7-9ea6-17f05a7217ea.html


5/22/17
Bogue Inlet more confusing 
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_4d2970d2-3d93-11e7-b5a0-bfe43e205529.html

South Carolina beaches get ready for tourist season; Edisto on the rebound from Hurricane Matthews
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-beaches-get-ready-for-tourist-season-edisto-on/article_db533c94-30f5-11e7-a858-e7bb0c9f27a1.html

Focusing on military's approach to sea level rise, filmmaker hopes to disarm some disbelievers
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/focusing-on-military-s-approach-to-sea-level-rise-filmmaker/article_cce8d55a-1d83-54e4-a870-cb26a731535f.html 


5/19/17
No red, right, return
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170519/no-red-right-return

KDH Planning Board denies proposal to limit home sizes
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/kdh-planning-board-denies-proposal-to-limit-home-sizes/article_bcf7f554-3b50-11e7-a12d-eb8fd846b388.html 

New Video on Connecting Channel Dredging Released by Dare County
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/05.17.2017-NewVideoOnConnectingChannelDredgingReleasedByDareCounty.html


5/17/17
Carteret County Beach Commission Meeting Agenda
May 22, 2017; Pine Knoll Shores Town Hall, 2 pm
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05222017-923

Coast Guard temporarily discontinues navigational aids in Bogue Inlet
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_be6ed044-3a8b-11e7-970b-8fc9ddf119e0.html

NEWS RELEASE - US Coast Guard to Remove Aids to Navigation in “Old” Bogue Inlet Connecting Channel; Is Expected to Re-position ATON to “New” Channel in June
http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/us-coast-guard-to-remove-aids-to-navigation-in-%E2%80%9Cold%E2%80%9D-bogue-inlet-connecting-channel-is-expected-to-re-position-aton-to-%E2%80%9Cnew%E2%80%9D-channel-in-june

PLF asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear Nies case
https://www.pacificlegal.org/releases/release-4-27-17-nies-4-1534


PROJECT COMPLETE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/17/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Meet the floating vacuum cleaner that's moving 1.7 million tons of sand from the bottom of the bay to Ocean View
http://pilotonline.com/business/ports-rail/meet-the-floating-vacuum-cleaner-that-s-moving-million-tons/article_174d7031-f9bf-5594-ad5f-0f2371793c0a.html

Feds announce re-start of seismic testing process
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/feds-announce-re-start-of-seismic-testing-process/article_76418382-3a42-11e7-b8d3-2ba532f5139d.html

Report: Sea level rise could threaten 65,000 Beaufort County residents, even inland (SC)
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article150969457.html

It’s time for new shoreline vision for Hunting Island
http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/op-ed/article150801947.html


5/16/17
Oak Island dune repair on hold
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170515/oak-island-dune-repair-on-hold

Get off the beach mound. Officials say it’s not a sandbox, it’s a hurricane-damaged dune.
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article150604047.html

Permit shows North Myrtle Beach ok’d seawall construction in 2007
http://wbtw.com/2017/05/11/permit-shows-north-myrtle-beach-okd-seawall-construction-in-2007/ 

Murrells Inlet: County will dredge deeper in Marsh Walk channels
http://www.coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/051117/3.html

Feds push new seismic testing in Atlantic
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170511/feds-push-new-seismic-testing-in-atlantic 

Hold line against offshore oil
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/hold-line-against-offshore-oil/article_c6911526-3698-11e7-9251-3ba2f7c22f0e.html


5/15/17

NEW UPDATE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/15/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Beach nourishment set to begin off Duck around May 20
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/12/beach-nourishment-set-to-begin-off-duck-around-may-20/


5/11/17
NEW UPDATE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/11/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


NEWS RELEASE - DOI/BOEM Processing Applications for G&G Survey Permits in Atlantic
https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-advances-america-first-offshore-energy-strategy 

Department of Interior announces re-start of seismic testing process
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/department-of-interior-announces-re-start-of-seismic-testing-process/article_e9d52224-35e5-11e7-9e52-234543f9b4a2.html

Work expected to begin in Duck beach nourishment project
http://wavy.com/2017/05/10/work-expected-to-begin-in-duck-beach-nourishment-project/

Cahoon Gavels First CRC Meeting as Chair
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/cahoon-gavels-first-crc-meeting-chair/

First OBX sea turtle nest found; earliest since 2002
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/first-obx-sea-turtle-nest-found-earliest-since/article_35528c5d-d300-5dc2-b9c1-3fddc8664358.html 

5/10/17
Geodynamics: Mapping Beaches, Inlets
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/geodynamics-mapping-beaches-inlets/

Q&A: Renee Cahoon ready for her new role as CRC chair
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/09/qa-renee-cahoon-ready-for-her-new-role-as-crc-chair/ 

One more time: N.C. 12 closed to rebuild dune in Kitty Hawk
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/10/one-more-time-n-c-12-closed-to-rebuild-dune-in-kitty-hawk/

Carolina Beach nourishment money 'in limbo'
http://www.wect.com/story/35387103/carolina-beach-nourishment-money-in-limbo

Tips now that turtle nesting season is underway
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170509/tips-now-that-sea-turtle-nesting-season-is-underway

Outer Banks oceanfront rental: With 24 bedrooms, is it still a single-family home?
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article149338974.html

5/8/17
NEW UPDATE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/8/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Saving Brunswick County beaches might cost when you go out to eat
http://portcitydaily.com/2017/05/05/proposed-half-cent-brunswick-county-tax-may-be-both-too-much-and-too-little/

Irish beach washed away 33 years ago reappears overnight after freak tide
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/irish-beach-washed-away-reappears-freak-tide#img-1 

Editorial: Imprudent planning
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_8a6b5f3c-3299-11e7-8428-4712185dd11d.html

5/5/17
5 things to know about California Supreme Court case on seawalls
http://www.scpr.org/news/2017/05/04/71491/5-things-to-know-about-california-supreme-court-ca/ 

Get down with it: The dredge Liberty Island helps shore up a Norfolk Beach
http://pilotonline.com/business/ports-rail/get-down-with-it-the-dredge-liberty-island-helps-shore/article_174d7031-f9bf-5594-ad5f-0f2371793c0a.html

The Trump administration may expand oil drilling. Local mayors say it’s a bad idea.
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article148585109.html 

Court to decide if state can cap sea walls at 20 years
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter, May 5, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO — California Supreme Court justices yesterday scrutinized state rules on sea walls in a case that could impact myriad homes on bluffs and beaches affected by climate change.  Nine high court justices heard oral arguments in Lynch et al vs. California Coastal Commission. It focuses on Encinitas, Calif., homeowners Barbara Lynch and neighbor Thomas Frick, who sued the commission after the agency put conditions on a replacement sea wall. They needed it after extreme storms in 2011 destroyed an earlier barrier.  The commission issued a permit but said it expired in 20 years. The agency required Lynch and Frick to file with the San Diego County recorder deeds attached to their homes that stipulated the conditions.  The court's decision could establish a major precedent on the state's ability to police sea walls more stringently as seas rise. The concrete structures contribute to sand loss, the commission argues. With the walls acting as a fixed back of the beach, higher water could make the sandy beach disappear.  Questions from the justices focused heavily on the state's contention that the homeowners waived their right to legally appeal because they accepted the permit the commission issued in 2011 and erected a 100-foot concrete structure beneath both homes.  John Groen, attorney for the families, argued that's separate from the state law giving residents the right to sue if they file papers within the required time frame.  "So actually undertaking the construction in no way waived their rights?" asked Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, who was nominated for the court by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).  Groen, who works for the Pacific Legal Foundation, said that the families erected a sea wall that met all the requirements of the coastal commission, and that those criteria mitigated environmental losses. The Lynch family has said the wall plus legal fees have cost $1 million. It should last 75 years, he said.  Justice Carol Corrigan, nominated by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said, "Now there's a great big wall there, which is quite different from a piece of paper."  She added that the families had the right to challenge the commission's permit conditions they disliked, "but they went ahead and built the great big sea wall, and that changes the circumstances going forward."  Hayley Peterson, representing the California attorney general's office, said the commission imposed the time limit on the wall "based on the impacts the wall could have in 20 years." She later added that "with sea-level rise and the great uncertainty, and the uncertainty about how quickly" it will happen, there needs to be a mechanism to look at the permit again.  Outside the courtroom, Groen said the justices focused on the waiver issue because they have to get past that before deciding whether the coastal commission acted within the purview of the California Coastal Act when it imposed the 20-year cap on the permit. The Pacific Legal Foundation is handling the case for free. Groen said the other issues in the case are covered in legal briefs.
Potential for broader impact
The California Supreme Court typically releases a decision within 90 days.  The case comes as the state Legislature is looking at sea walls. Assemblyman Mark Stone's A.B. 1129 would change the rules on erecting the barriers. Under the bill, any structures that alter natural shoreline processes could receive permits only if the home they protect was built by Jan. 1, 1977. That's when the Coastal Act took effect.  Right now, there are limits on sea walls for houses constructed after the Coastal Act took effect. The commission has said those people need to find a way to build a safe home without a wall.  Jon Corn, an attorney who represented the Lynches and Fricks in San Diego Superior Court, said currently the commission asks people in that situation to waive their right to a wall. But if their home is in danger, they can still build a wall. A.B. 1129 would change it so any homes built after Jan. 1, 1977, could not get a sea wall, he said.  In addition to the state precedent likely to be set by the case, it could have broader impacts. Barbara Lynch died in 2016, and her adult children are advancing the case. Her daughter Jennifer Lynch said if the families lose and the Pacific Legal Foundation continued to act pro bono, they'd likely appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jennifer Lynch, who is an attorney, said it would be a good case for the federal high court, as her family's suit raises the issue of the constitutional rights of homeowners to protect their property. The state high court, she said, is trying to balance that with the California Coastal Commission's interests.  Lynch said she's concerned that the coastal commission might ask the Legislature for additional authority over sea walls if the agency loses the case.
"It seems like they're trying to step on the property rights of owners," Jennifer Lynch said.  She attended the hearing with her sister, Peggy Lynch, and Marian Frick, wife of Thomas Frick.  Groen said in the hearing that the 20-year limit on the sea wall is aimed at giving the commission another review of the barricade if there is a change in state policy on the walls. The Legislature could decide, he said, to deny sea wall permits or change the existing rule that the state must allow a sea wall to protect existing structures.  Corrigan asked, "What if there is a change in the ocean, where the tide is hitting the sea wall" or the bluff on either side is eroding?   Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar, who was appointed by former Gov. Pete Wilson (R), said there's a legal argument that the 20-year limit on the sea walls amounts to a legal "taking" of the homeowners' property because it greatly affects property values.  Peterson with the state attorney general's office responded that "most land use regulations cause a diminution" in property values. She contended it wasn't the 20-year cap that presents the problem, but rather that the home had been built on an 80-foot bluff.  Werdegar responded that the owners, if they tried to sell, would have to tell a prospective buyer about the 20-year limit.  Peterson said that "the fact that the commission may deny this in 20 years does not constitute a taking today." Groen later said that the current lawsuit does not claim a taking but that "there may be a taking in the future, there may be a taking now." It depends on whether the commission's 20-year condition on the sea wall is upheld.

Families: With bluff homes, sea walls can't wait
There were questions about whether the commission should have waited to issue the permit for the sea wall, knowing the homeowners had filed a lawsuit. Peterson said that commission staff "has no discretion to withhold a permit once the conditions have been met." If they had withheld it, she said, "there would have been a different lawsuit filed."  Associate Justice Goodwin Liu, a Brown appointee, said because of this case, it seems like "one of two things will happen." The commission could hold permits until all litigation is finished, or there could be a flurry of litigation after people get permits with conditions they dislike because there's "nothing to lose."  "Neither seems very palatable as a result," Liu said.
Justices asked whether the families should have applied for an emergency permit to build the sea wall instead of using the one that had conditions. That came after Groen said the homes were in danger without the wall, and it was unrealistic to ask the families to wait, given that the permit was approved in 2011 and the case took six years to reach the state Supreme Court.  "They're hanging out there with a home on a bluff," Groen said.  He said the homeowners already were trying to secure a permanent permit when those storms hit. It would impose extra time and costs for them to have to go back and apply for an emergency permit after winning the permanent one with the 20-year limit.  Peterson said there are at least three sea walls with emergency permits within 1 mile of the Lynch and Frick homes.  The homeowners also sought to replace the lower part of a staircase to the beach in 2011 that the storm destroyed. The commission denied that, saying it was inconsistent with the city of Encinitas' local coastal plan, a development rulebook required by the commission.  Peterson said that the bluffs in Encinitas are subject to landslides, and that bolting staircases into the hillside contributes to their erosion. Groen said President Obama declared a disaster area in the region after the 2011 storms. The homeowners don't need a permit to replace property destroyed in a disaster, he said.  The families pay for sand replacement as one of their environmental mitigations. Peterson said when they calculated their fee for that, they based it on 30 years, not 75, even though they've claimed that the wall they erected will last for 75 years.  In the commission staff's experience, she added, most walls only last two decades as they're battered by waves.  Generally, you need to make significant repairs or replace the existing sea wall," Peterson said.


Mitigation funding key to flood insurance reform
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter, May 5, 2017
Money for mitigation efforts is key to bringing the National Flood Insurance Program out of debt, a panel of experts told the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee yesterday.  "Mitigation is how we work our way out of it," said Larry Larson, senior policy adviser for the Association of State Floodplain Managers.  Up for reauthorization this year, the National Flood Insurance Program is $24.6 billion in debt, and lawmakers have spent weeks hearing from experts about possible solutions.  Michael Hecht, speaking for the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance, said the group supports gradually increasing insurance rates to make them more representative of the actual flood risks properties face.
But flood mitigation could help relieve the potential burden on policy holders, he said, by decreasing their risk of needing to rely on those policies.  "To the degree that we can put funds into mitigation upfront, and do that mitigation upfront, that will allay the need to subsidize policies down the road," Hecht said.  Steve Ellis, vice president for Taxpayers for Common Sense, agreed. "The best way to reduce rates is to reduce risk," he said.  
That idea had traction among committee members from both sides of the aisle. "We need to do a lot more on mitigation," said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). "That is part of how you control cost."  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called mitigation "a vital part of NFIP's flood resilience efforts." She said, "Low-interest loans to elevate or proof structures could lower premiums and decrease government subsidization."  Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) agreed. "If we help subsidize mitigation," he said, "then the property is safe."  Lawmakers have previously expressed interest in privatizing a segment of the flood insurance market as a way to lessen the burden on NFIP.
That's a view Ellis said he supports, noting private insurers could also compete with NFIP and provide more affordable rates, particularly to people living in low-risk floodplains.  "We want to see more people with flood insurance," he said.  Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said he thought private insurance could be a good option for wealthier homeowners who live on the coasts, noting that the NFIP caps its payouts at $250,000.  "Those home values are way beyond what NFIP can handle," he said. "That's where private insurance comes in."


5/4/17
NEW UPDATE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/4/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Team Tracks Ocean Energy From Land, Sea (Part II of II)
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/team-tracks-ocean-energy-land-sea/

Legal Action Taken Against Offshore Drilling
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/legal-action-taken-offshore-drilling/ 

Tybee Island mayor looking for federal funding for beach, dune development 
http://www.wtoc.com/story/35337040/tybee-island-mayor-looking-for-federal-funding-for-beach-dune-development 

The Shape of the Coast and the National Flood Insurance Program 
(Click LINK)

5/3/17
Wealthy Homeowners Take on Oystermen in War for the Coast
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2017-05-01/a-new-oyster-war-rich-homeowners-vs-working-class-watermen

Updates on Ocracoke and Hatteras Dredging Projects
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/05.02.2017-UpdatesOnOcracokeAndHatterasDredgingProjects.html

County chips in $12.5 million for Nags Head project
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/county-chips-in-million-for-nags-head-project/article_c4ea7884-2f3b-11e7-9bfe-a7a3d58c535a.html

Project Looks to Tap Gulf Stream’s Energy
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/05/project-looks-tap-gulf-streams-energy/ 

What Trump’s offshore drilling plans mean for NC coast
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article148025239.html 

5/2/17
Dare OKs covering half of Nags Head’s $26 million beach project
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/05/02/dare-oks-covering-half-of-nags-heads-26-million-beach-project/ 

Residents react to the first dredge of the Cherry Grove canals
http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/35297798/residents-react-to-the-first-dredge-of-the-cherry-grove-canals

Seismic companies appeal for permits to do Atlantic oil and gas surveys
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/seismic-companies-appeal-for-permits-to-do-atlantic-oil-and/article_415c010f-2d63-582e-ac92-5cb8a2023da1.html 

Economics of Atlantic oil plan still don't add up
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/economics-of-atlantic-oil-plan-still-don-t-add-up/article_70f1677e-2c61-11e7-8e5c-2b431de048f3.html

Supreme Court to decide who wins beach protection as tide rises
Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter, Tuesday, May 2, 2017
ENCINITAS, Calif. — Barbara Lynch once saw her home on a coastal bluff here as a dream retirement sanctuary, a place to gaze at a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and gather with grandchildren. Then, in late 2010, a series of severe storms savaged the region.  The hillside beneath Lynch's home partly collapsed. A wooden wall erected at the base toppled over. An engineer deemed the 80-foot-high bluff in danger of further structural failure.   Now the modest, two-story brown house bedecked with brightly colored flowers — and the one next door — sits at the center of a California Supreme Court case likely to set a statewide precedent on homeowners' rights to erect sea walls and the state's ability to police those structures.  The California Coastal Commission in 2011 granted a permit for a replacement sea wall but put a 20-year duration on it. The Lynch family and next-door neighbors Thomas and Marian Frick must obtain authorization for a new permit in 2031. The homeowners said that amounted to a financial taking of their property. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the lawsuit Thursday.  It's the first case to reach the high court that looks at a key climate change issue. It pits the rights of homeowners to protect their property from sea-level rise against the state's desire to constrain sea walls, in order to preserve beaches for all residents. Concrete structures contribute to sand loss, experts said.  
Barbara Lynch died in 2016. Her adult children now are advancing the case. Before her death, Lynch appeared in a video made by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which now represents the homeowners. She talked of her love for the home and lamented the Coastal Commission's action.  "The bluff was our property to keep up. It was our responsibility," she said. "All of a sudden, it's [the Coastal Commission's], which is a little hard to understand, why they can just take that property and say what they can do with it or what we are allowed to do with it."  The Coastal Commission said it needs to protect the beach. While not specifically talking about the Lynch-Frick case, Madeline Cavalieri, coastal planner at the agency, said Californians cherish state beaches and want to keep them healthy. The commission has jurisdiction over most development in 15 counties along 1,100 miles of coastline.  "It's easy to think about it from the perspective of the homeowner," Cavalieri said. "We need to keep thinking about it from the perspective of the public, for our economy, for our resources and really for our way of life in California, because our way of life is so tied to the beach and access to the beaches."  Sea walls and similar protections take up space where visitors otherwise could sit. They also stop the beach from moving landward as the shoreline erodes, she said.  "As the sea level rises, the erosion, the inland migration of the shoreline, is going to increase a lot more," Cavalieri said. When shoreline protection is fixed in a location, "the beach becomes inundated more and more by water, to the point where eventually it will be lost completely, narrowed until it's eliminated."

Wide-reaching implications
The case could reverberate across the Golden State as climate change causes the seas and rivers to rise. That has prompted the California Building Industry Association, the California Association of Realtors, the League of California Cities, the California Cattlemen's Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, the Surfrider Foundation and others to file legal arguments.  If the court rules for the homeowners, "it would not bode well for future efforts by California governments at the state and local level to try and plan, and act proactively, to keep their options open to assess the future impacts of sea-level rise and storm surges along the coast," said Rick Frank, director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at the University of California, Davis.  Should the court side with the state, he said, it will give planning agencies some security that "it's permissible to make their permitting decisions and make their land-use planning decisions with a firm eye on climate change" and its future impacts.  The Supreme Court hearing comes as a number of lawsuits on sea walls move through lower courts in California, said Deborah Sivas, a professor of environmental law at Stanford University. There is notable beach erosion in places like northern San Diego County, and homeowners, green groups and cities are fighting over rules.  It also could cause ripples beyond California, Frank said. Other states similarly are grappling with how to deal with climate change and property rights, he said.
"My hunch is this case, depending on how broadly or how narrowly it's written, and regardless of which way it goes, could have significant influence in other states, as well, not just in California," Frank said.  If the high court sides with the state, the families could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that it's an unconstitutional taking of private property, Sivas said. She wrote a friend-of-the-court brief in the case for the Surfrider Foundation, which supports the Coastal Commission's ability to police sea walls.  The case has three components. The first is procedural. The Coastal Commission in its decision put the 20-year limit on the wall and required that Barbara Lynch and Thomas Frick record that condition with the county, as part of deeds tied to the homes. The families did so. As a result, the state argues that they accepted the terms. There was no option for accepting the authorization under protest, the state argues in court filings.  There's a chance that the state Supreme Court could just address that component, Sivas said. If that happened, the case's ruling would likely have no impact on sea walls.  The other two parts of the case focus on a request to replace stairs to the beach destroyed by the storms and on the reach of the California Coastal Act, an expansive protection law. A major goal of that law is to protect the beach for all residents, a state filing in the case said.
"The Legislature adopted the Coastal Act to 'protect, maintain and where feasible restore the overall quality of the coastal zone environment and its natural and artificial resources" and to "[m]aximize public access to and along the coast," the state told the Supreme Court. It's to be done "consistent with sound resources conservation principles and constitutionally protected rights of private property owners."  In the Lynch-Frick lawsuit, the state argues the Coastal Commission has the purview to look at the appropriateness of a sea wall in 20 years, given how much the beach could transform in that time with climate change.  The Coastal Act mostly prohibits sea walls for homes built after the passage of that law in 1976. Houses built before that were grandfathered in. But if homeowners make revisions beyond half the home's value, it's then considered new and then would not qualify for a sea wall.  The Coastal Commission right now isn't using the 20-year limit imposed in the Lynch-Frick case. Instead, for grandfathered-in homes that qualify, it's allowing sea walls based on the economic life of the property protected. That's generally considered 75 years. If there are home changes of more than 50 percent of the value, however, in general it must be built without a sea wall.

Eminent domain vs. 'managed retreat'
The homeowners after the Coastal Commission decision sued and won in San Diego Superior Court. The state Courts of Appeal overturned it, deciding for the Coastal Commission. The families appealed to the Supreme Court.  John Groen, an attorney for the families, said, "The right to protect your property, it's protected by the California Constitution; it's also protected by the [California] Coastal Act." Groen works for the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Putting a 20-year permit on the sea wall "really reaches too far," Groen said. "It converts what's allowed under the Coastal Act as a permanent structure and turns it into a temporary structure." Expecting homeowners to reapply for a sea wall after 20 years isn't reasonable given their expense, said Jennifer Lynch, daughter of Barbara and Jack Lynch, who died in 2001. The sea wall, including analyses, permitting and construction, cost about $500,000. Including attorneys' fees, the family has spent more than $1 million on the case, she said.
"It costs a fortune to go through this process," Jennifer Lynch said. "That was extremely stressful for my mother; she went through most of her assets. She also was literally afraid for quite a while" that "the house might fall into the ocean. She couldn't sleep well" and suffered mini-strokes.  The Coastal Commission, Jennifer Lynch said, is seeking "managed retreat," or having the bluffs moved backward naturally as the sea rises. If the state decided to use its power of eminent domain, or seizing the land for the public good, it would have to pay for coastal homes. But it can't afford to do that, she said.  "Eminent domain means you get a hearing and you get compensation," Jennifer Lynch said. She said the commission instead wants "to let things fall into the ocean and not let properties be protected by owners."  The Lynch family argues erosion of the beach isn't simply caused by sea-level rise or sea walls. Construction of a pier to the north in the city of Oceanside has resulted in less sand, they said. Inland infrastructure also has lessened sand flow into coastal lagoons and river mouths, Jennifer Lynch said.  Jack Lynch bought the house in 1970, paying $88,000, Jennifer Lynch said. The family lived in San Bernardino, to the east of San Diego, and her father worked as a surgeon. They rented out the house for income. He planned to live in it after retiring.  The house caught fire in 1984. When rebuilding, Jack Lynch needed money and sold half the lot to the Fricks. They designed and built their house next door in 1991. They planned to live there for the rest of their lives, Marian Frick said. While they're still in the home, the court battles have caused great stress, Frick said. She fears they'll have to remove the sea wall in 2031.  "It devalues the property also because it's hanging over everyone's heads," Frick said.

'That's the rub'
Of the two homes in the court case, the Lynch home is most at risk. The Fricks, because they built their home after the rules changed, had to install caissons down to the bedrock. They weren't allowed a sea wall until after the 2010 storms, when it was determined the homes were in danger.  The homeowners argue they were hurt by bureaucratic delays when they sought to update their protection. Before those storms, the homes had a 100-foot-wide wooden wall in front of the bluff and a wooden wall in the middle section. They asked the city of Encinitas in 2003 for permission to replace the walls and part of the shared stairway with a concrete sea wall system. Encinitas approved it in 2009. It then went to the California Coastal Commission.  While the application was pending there, the powerful storms hit. The homeowners then asked to build a new 100-foot concrete structure beneath both homes, with an additional 75 feet of protection below the Lynches' house. They sought to replace the lower part of the stairs that had been destroyed.  The commission after extensive back-and-forth allowed the sea wall with the 20-year cap on it, plus the requirement for recording the deed restrictions. The families put up the wall and stairs after the agency's decision.  "We objected to some of the conditions, but the wall was necessary for the safety of the residence," Jennifer Lynch said.  Angela Howe, legal director at the Surfrider Foundation, said the state must respond to the effects of climate change.  "Sea-level rise is happening. We have to do a better job managing our coastline," Howe said. "The Coastal Commission is trying to do that by merely taking a second look at these sea walls in 20 years when the shoreline will have surely changed."  Howe, who lives near the beach, added that "I feel for these people" facing sea-level rise. But, she said, in terms of a Coastal Commission decision forcing homeowners to repeatedly fight for sea walls, "that's the rub. Living in this dynamic area along the coast does have some liabilities and some risks."

5/1/17
NEW UPDATE (w/ pictures– MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
5/1/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Planned new Rodanthe bridge is controversial among Hatteras neighbors
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/transportation/planned-new-rodanthe-bridge-is-controversial-among-hatteras-neighbors/article_1a1c4110-3241-5f03-af5c-eaf13a1ce525.html 

OBX beach widening to go on all summer, night and day
http://pilotonline.com/news/government/obx-beach-widening-to-go-on-all-summer-night-and/article_5aec8afd-86ef-5ac0-8f4a-aa92baf24014.html 

Inside the dredging of the Ocean View beach replenishment project
http://wavy.com/2017/04/28/inside-the-dredging-of-the-ocean-view-beach-replenishment-project/ 

Trump Administration reopens offshore energy drilling
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/trump-administration-reopens-offshore-energy-drilling/article_0f933aea-2cf0-11e7-901d-b77d28baca83.html 

Trump, reversing Obama, will push to expand drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/trump-reversing-obama-will-push-to-expand-drilling-in-the/article_6422dd35-2d2a-5905-95ec-f08077ca4203.html 

South Carolina leaders, from mayors to congressmen, give thumbs down to Trump's offshore drilling order 
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-leaders-from-mayors-to-congressmen-give-thumbs-down/article_2a400db8-1e00-11e7-b576-833f73317798.html

Sea level rise poses serious threat to Charleston
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/sea-level-rise-poses-serious-threat-to-charleston/article_3804ae0a-2c2d-11e7-b5ad-df4fc1f4da8e.html

4/28/17
Could NC regulators make beach nourishment easier, cheaper?
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170427/could-nc-regulators-make-beach-nourishment-easier-cheaper

Nourishment project prepares Atlantic Beach for summer
http://www.wral.com/nourishment-project-prepares-atlantic-beach-for-summer-/16669027/

Beach nourishment in Buxton scheduled to start May 21
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/04/27/beach-nourishment-in-buxton-scheduled-to-start-may-21/

The beach is back at Edisto
http://walterborolive.com/2017/04/the-beach-is-back-at-edisto-news-the-press-and-standard/

Trump to sign order aimed at expanding offshore drilling
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/trump-sign-order-aimed-expanding-offshore-drilling-47071730

Trump To Sign Executive Order On Offshore Drilling And Marine Sanctuaries
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/27/525959808/trump-to-sign-executive-order-on-offshore-drilling-and-marine-sanctuaries

Trump order could expand drilling, roll back sanctuaries
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, April 27, 2017
President Trump tomorrow will call for sweeping reviews of recent federal offshore energy development and conservation policies, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said tonight at a White House briefing.  The reviews, to be led by Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will be required by an executive order targeting offshore oil and gas leasing plans, regulations and permitting standards put in place by the Obama administration after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill as well as marine sanctuaries and monuments created by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush.   "One thing that does not change between administrations is a commitment to safety," Zinke told reporters. "Good stewardship of our lands and waters and responsible offshore development are not mutually exclusive."
The executive order also will seek to reverse a permanent ban on oil and gas drilling in most Arctic waters and portions of the Atlantic Ocean that Obama put in place under a provision of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. But it is unclear whether Trump has the authority to undo those leasing withdrawals (E&E News PM, Dec. 20, 2016).  Zinke emphasized that the order won't immediately open up any areas of the outer continental shelf to drilling. But it will set in motion a two-year public process to reconsider which areas are suitable for leasing for oil, gas and wind development as part of a new five-year plan. The review will tackle lease planning areas in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Arctic.  Zinke said the administration had not heard any oil companies express interest in Arctic drilling and that he wasn't sure how the plan would take into account melting Arctic ice.  "I have not thought about climate change," Zinke said. "I'm sure we'll look at that."
Zinke and Ross will work together to streamline the seismic surveying process, which will include a review of Commerce guidance on minimizing harm to whales and other marine mammals.  Ross also will be instructed to reconsider within 180 days all protected marine areas created within the past decade. Zinke said the process would be similar to the review of national monuments that Trump directed the Interior secretary to undertake earlier this week (Greenwire, April 25).  The order also will call for Interior to reconsider blowout preventer regulations, the well control rule and Arctic drilling requirements.


Privatizing flood insurance could stabilize program — GAO
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter, April 27, 2017
Expanding the private flood insurance market could allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to focus on better flood mapping and mitigation, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.  The idea to expand the private flood insurance market has been gaining traction in Congress as the National Flood Insurance Program comes up for reauthorization (E&E Daily, April 27).
Supporters of increased privatization see it as a way to minimize the financial burden for NFIP, which is $26.4 billion in debt.
According to the GAO report, a greater private footprint and a more focused FEMA "could address the policy goal of reducing federal fiscal exposure while promoting flood resilience."
But, knowing expanding privatization won't be easy, the GAO report presented lawmakers with issues potentially needing reform.  For one, FEMA currently prohibits the use of subsidized rates for policies with a lapse in NFIP coverage for more than 90 days. So if a homeowner who qualified for a subsidy switched to private insurance and then wanted to move back to an NFIP policy, he or she would no longer qualify for subsidized rates.  GAO also noted that NFIP data on flood losses and claims are currently not available to private companies interested in entering the flood insurance market.  "Access to such data would allow private insurance companies to better estimate losses, price flood insurance premiums, and determine which properties they might be willing to insure," the watchdog said. FEMA has been reluctant to share the information because of privacy concerns under the Privacy Act of 1974.
GAO said Congress could circumvent these barriers by clarifying the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance to include private policies, directing FEMA to allow private coverage to satisfy NFIP's continuous coverage requirements, and amending the Privacy Act to allow the government to enter into confidentiality agreements with private insurers.  Reforms are not without pitfalls. GAO found that more private-sector involvement "could cause a greater portion of NFIP's portfolio to be composed of higher-risk policies," driving it further into debt.  A greater presence by private companies in the flood insurance market was one of six potential reform ideas GAO examined in its report.  
The government watchdog also delved into other ways to solve the program's debt. One idea, raising NFIP premiums to reflect risk of loss, would have the benefit of reducing the number of government subsidies.  It would also better communicate risk to policyholders, who may be more willing to live in frequently flooded areas because of low insurance rates, and would allow private insurers to better compete on the market.  However, raising policy rates could also make the NFIP less affordable and decrease the number of policyholders overall, GAO found.


4/27/17
Brunswick County looks to reopen, maintain Lockwood Folly Inlet
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170425/brunswick-county-looks-to-reopen-maintain-lockwood-folly-inlet 

NC looks to tweak protected species list
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170426/nc-looks-to-tweak-protected-species-list

UNC-IMS researchers seek participants in high water recording project
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_9d39884e-2a9e-11e7-9b9f-73c38d69e46e.html

Dredge arrives at Big Foot Slough
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/04/25/dredge-arrives-at-big-foot-slough/

South Carolina legislators put hold on environmental stall tactic bill
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-legislators-put-hold-on-environmental-stall-tactic-bill/article_1ab57ed6-2a9a-11e7-b7d6-77511a4f302b.html 

Flooding an ongoing threat for state
http://www.starnewsonline.com/opinion/20170426/editorial-april-26-flooding-ongoing-threat-for-state

Republicans introduce sweeping ESA reform bill
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, April 27, 2017
Republican lawmakers this week revived legislation that would significantly limit the Fish and Wildlife Service's ability to protect imperiled animals and plants.  Shepherding the "Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act," S. 935, are Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada.  Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced a companion bill in the House, H.R. 2134, the text of which was not yet publicly available.
The Senate package is an expanded version of the Endangered Species Act reform bills that Paul, Heller and Luetkemeyer backed last Congress.  S. 935 would amend the ESA to require Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees FWS, to obtain the consent of governors before making management decisions that would affect species within their states.  It would also require congressional approval of the endangered and threatened species lists and automatically remove plants or animals after five years.  Furthermore, the bill would require federal power marketing administrations to include the direct and indirect costs of complying with the ESA on customers' monthly electricity bills.
An indirect cost, the measure says, would include the "forgone power generation costs and replacement power costs, including the net costs of any transmission power."  S. 935 would also make it easier for landowners to seek compensation from the federal government and prevent groups that successfully sue FWS under the ESA from recouping their attorneys' fees.  A new provision this year would weaken protections for ravens and calf-killing black vultures, neither of which is a listed species.  "We can better protect endangered species by empowering state leaders to implement a strategy more tailored to their specific circumstances," Paul said in a statement. "Instead of continuing Washington's 'one-size-fits-all' approach to regulation, this bill puts local needs first and guards against bureaucratic overreach."  While many Republicans have shown an interest in updating the ESA, the drastic reforms put forward by Paul, Heller and Luetkemeyer may struggle to win widespread support. Neither the House nor the Senate versions of their bills made it out of committee during the 114th Congress.


4/25/17
Buxton beach nourishment project on track for an early summer start
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/04.24.2017-BuxtonBeachNourishmentProjectOnTrackForAnEarlySummerStart.html 

Leatherback sea turtle found dead behind Isle of Palms sea wall
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/leatherback-sea-turtle-found-dead-behind-isle-of-palms-sea/article_55eb1a1c-291c-11e7-b004-f7f8a0e6391b.html

Climate change could spell 'extreme poverty' in coastal NZ towns
http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/91778352/climate-change-could-spell-extreme-poverty-in-coastal-nz-towns

4/24/17
NEW UPDATE (w/ pictures– MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/24/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Battling erosion an endless job for South Carolina beach towns
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/battling-erosion-an-endless-job-for-south-carolina-beach-towns/article_09e10444-205a-11e7-88fa-07bc76aa9e23.html 

Debate simmers over Atlantic oil, gas exploration
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2017/04/21/trump-offshore-drilling-energy-oil-gas-atlantic-south-carolina-north-carolina/100621360/

Pamlico Sound Ferry Routes to Run Limited Schedules Due to Shoaling
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/04.21.20017-PamlicoSoundFerryRoutesToRunLimitedSchedulesDuetoShoaling.html

Seven public art projects to call attention to climate change, rising sea levels
http://www.postandcourier.com/features/seven-public-art-projects-to-call-attention-to-climate-change/article_c1a9b160-2475-11e7-84b5-771c5815bd2d.html 

Keeping the coastal freeway clear
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/keeping-the-coastal-freeway-clear/article_dc61527e-0f08-11e7-851a-9fa323420f7f.html  

4/21/17
Coast Guard pulls navigational aids from Lockwood Folly Inlet
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170420/coast-guard-pulls-navigational-aids-from-lockwood-folly-inlet 

Oak Island doubles sea oat output to fortify dunes
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170419/oak-island-doubles-sea-oat-output-to-fortify-dunes

Judge Dismisses Topsail Dune Rule Case
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/judge-dismisses-topsail-dune-rule-case/

Nesting sea turtles face difficulty this summer; more monitors are requested
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_37b7ad1c-260b-11e7-b5dc-13e036de93d3.html 

KDH Planning Board votes against raising hotel heights
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/kdh-planning-board-votes-against-raising-hotel-heights/article_e162b09c-25f6-11e7-bae5-9fa29012218e.html

Insurers face 'enormous' losses from sea-level rise
Erika Bolstad, E&E News, April 20, 2017
Sea-level rise and its future risks must be factored into any reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, warn the actuaries who assess risk for insurers.  A public policy report released yesterday by the American Academy of Actuaries calls on Congress to consider sea-level rise — among many other factors — as part of the reauthorization of the federally backed flood insurance program.  The prospect of rising seas is the change to global climate that's "the hardest to overlook," the report says. The U.S. is especially vulnerable to large property losses because of the amount of valuable property in at-risk coastal areas.  The Academy of Actuaries also suggests that better mapping and data might help people with homes at risk of flooding by opening up the market to greater participation by private insurers and reinsurers. The program remains $24 billion in debt, in part because of large losses after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, as well as losses last year after flooding in Louisiana and after Hurricane Matthew in the Carolinas.
The report found it would be impossible to maintain current premiums coverage and eligibility in the face of sea-level rise, without severe limits on construction or massive investments in infrastructure. Otherwise, the U.S. faces exposure to "enormous program losses" and additional debt.
However, improvements in how flood risks are assessed and modeled already are reducing the uncertainties surrounding flood risk, the report notes.  "Better data and more advanced models are giving us a clearer view of flood risk, which opens up additional opportunities for private insurers and reinsurers to underwrite flood risk," Rade Musulin, the academy's vice president for casualty, said in a statement.  Most Americans support updates to how flood insurance is managed, according to the findings of a national survey released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Flood-Prepared Communities project (Climatewire, April 6).  Most Americans surveyed said they think that when a house is sold, the sellers should have to disclose whether it has ever been flooded. They also think that construction in flood-prone areas should be required to better withstand the impacts of flooding. The poll's finding had broad bipartisan support, a key factor as Congress reauthorizes the program this year.
The American Academy of Actuaries and several partners last year released the Actuaries Climate Index, a way of tracking the frequency of extreme climate events. It's also designed to help actuaries, policymakers and the general public understand climate trends and their potential impact.  The Actuaries Climate Index is a way of tracking the frequency of extreme climate events. The first index showed that the frequency of heat waves and extreme rain events is on the rise, along with sea levels (Climatewire, Dec. 1, 2016).  The index provides a quarterly measure of changes in extreme weather events and sea levels. Risks measured in the index, which spans from 1960 to 2016, are compared against the average frequency of the same events during the reference period.  The index looks at the frequency of temperatures above the 90th percentile, the frequency of temperatures below the 10th percentile, the maximum five-day rainfall in a month, consecutive dry days, winds above the 90th percentile and sea-level rise.  Eventually, insurance companies could use the information in their models to look at what leads to insurance claims and better understand how climate is affecting their claim costs.


4/19/17
NEW UPDATE (Greenville Ave.– MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/19/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


When Rising Seas Transform Risk Into Certainty
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/magazine/when-rising-seas-transform-risk-into-certainty.html?_r=2

Jousting over the Jug-Handle
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/jousting-over-the-jug-handle/article_d99a9b2a-2440-11e7-9d36-a700c029ca80.html

4/18/17
Return to shorter Hatteras ferry route faces strong currents
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/04/17/return-to-shorter-hatteras-ferry-route-faces-strong-currents/ 

Dare County Awarded Increase in CRS Ranking
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/04.17.2017-DareCountyAwardedIncreaseInCRSRanking.html

Ready to visit Hunting Island next month? A bus ride might be required
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article145048099.html

Battle over landmark law already raging out of public eye
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, April 17, 2017
With most of Washington focused on fights over government funding, Obamacare and Russian meddling, a few congressional aides and outside advocates are quietly preparing for what could be an epic battle over the Endangered Species Act.  The contentious conservation law was protected by President Obama's veto from Republican efforts to ease restrictions on farmers, energy companies and developers.  But with Republicans now controlling Capitol Hill and the White House for the first time since 2004, the endangered species law — which hasn't been significantly updated since 1988 — appears vulnerable. On one side of the fight are staffers for House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), who said last year that he wants to repeal and replace the law (E&E Daily, Dec. 9, 2016).  But in the 115th Congress, Bishop is instead focused on narrow sections of the ESA that Republicans and industry groups find problematic.  His first hearing this year centered on a provision requiring input from the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service — agencies that jointly administer the ESA — on government-approved or -funded projects that could "jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of such species"(E&E Daily, March 29).  The hearing was held by the increasingly important Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, a panel Bishop created after winning the Natural Resources gavel two years ago (E&E Daily, Jan. 14, 2015).  Led since January by Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Oversight has seven full-time GOP staffers — more than any other Natural Resources subcommittee, according to data from LegiStorm, a congressional staff tracking service.  Oversight staff director Rob Gordon, a veteran of the Hill's periodic ESA fights, and counsel Megan Olmstead, a relative newcomer, will provide Republican lawmakers with most of the legislative ammunition they need. They and many other staffers featured in this story were not made available for interviews.  Gordon, who spent seven years at the conservative Heritage Foundation before returning to the Natural Resources panel when Bishop took over, also served as the Trump transition team's advisor on regulatory reform (E&E Daily, Jan. 22, 2015). He has been working for decades to overhaul the law.  
"The time is ripe to amend significantly the Endangered Species Act," he wrote in a 1994 article for Heritage's now defunct Policy Review journal. Had the law been in existence during biblical times, Gordon wrote, Noah "might have been reviled as an animal-hater, fined, and kept from launching his ark" because he wouldn't have thought to bring aboard certain reptile and insect species.  At the time, Gordon was the executive director of the National Wilderness Institute. The Vanderbilt University graduate left the oil industry-funded environmental group in 2004 to support the failed ESA reform efforts of former Resources Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.).  Olmstead is working closely with Gordon on the committee's reform efforts. After graduating a decade ago from the University of Portland, a Catholic school in Oregon, she bounced between Capitol Hill, the Idaho governor's office and the University of Notre Dame's law school before ending up with Natural Resources in September 2015, her profile on the social networking site LinkedIn shows. In law school, she studied the gray wolf's status under the ESA.
Senate players
Across the Capitol, staffers for Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are also formulating an overhaul strategy.  So far, Barrasso has held one hearing that sought to build bipartisan consensus for ESA reform and marked up a bill that he introduced with ranking member Tom Carper (D-Del.) that would revive and bolster several wildlife protection programs and launch annual innovation prizes for endangered species management and other conservation challenges (Greenwire, April 5).   Matt Leggett, the committee's deputy chief counsel, and Andrew Harding, who took his first Hill job as counsel in September 2016, are two of Barrasso's lead ESA reformers.  Leggett began working for the chairman in 2012 as policy counsel for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, which Barrasso then led. The University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University Law School graduate also worked in corporate law and served on the House Agriculture Committee and in the offices of Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.). As an intern, Leggett worked with Robert Spencer, when he was U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Erskine Bowles, when he was chief of staff to President Clinton.  Soon after joining the committee, Harding helped get last year's water infrastructure bill (S. 612) passed into law. He is now mainly focusing on wildlife and oceans policies.  Harding previously worked for corporate law firms, President George W. Bush's Energy secretaries and USA Synthetic Fuel Corp., a bankrupt coal liquefaction company. He earned his bachelor's degree at Washington and Lee University and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, according to LinkedIn.
The counselors' efforts are overseen by staff director Richard Russell, who earned a bachelor's degree in biology at Yale University, and deputy staff director Brian Clifford, who has worked for Barrasso in a variety of roles over the past decade.  Any reform legislation Barrasso's team produces will need to secure the votes of at least eight Democrats on the Senate floor to beat a filibuster. Their first challenge, however, will be winning over Mary Frances Repko, Carper's deputy staff director.  "If you have dealt with the environment, if you have dealt with energy, or if you have dealt with the history of the Senate and the House on energy legislation and environmental legislation over the last 20 years, you know Mary Frances Repko," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said in a January floor speech honoring her for a decade of service in his office. The Maryland Democrat also noted she had worked closely with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on "fighting partisan anti-environment riders."  Repko headed to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee the following month, the committee she staffed from 2003 until 2007, when she left to join Hoyer. She has also served on the staffs of Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).  Prior to coming to the Hill, Repko worked on water issues for the World Wildlife Fund, a conservation group, and the Great Lakes Commission. The native of East Lansing, Mich., earned her bachelor's degree at Johns Hopkins University and a master's from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Outside voices
Republicans' push for an ESA overhaul is likely to draw support from the Western Governors' Association.  Under the leadership of Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) in 2016, the conservative-leaning organization began advocating for ESA changes. At the same time, WGA endorsed a policy position urging Congress to reauthorize the law and this year convinced the National Governors Association to adopt a similar resolution (E&E News PM, March 2).  While Mead is no longer WGA chairman, policy adviser David Willms is still leading a series of meetings with a broad coalition of participants that aim to produce a specific set of recommendations that could make the ESA work better.  "We took some of the ideas that came out of that first year and have made them the subject of work sessions during the second year of this initiative," Willms said in a phone interview from Cheyenne, Wyo., which he, his wife and two young daughters call home.  The sessions will wrap up in May, and the WGA hopes to have a list of fixes ready to promote by midsummer.  "Whether that is a set of recommendations that is taken to the Fish and Wildlife Service for regulatory changes, whether it includes recommended statutory changes, policy changes — all of that is to be determined," he said. "But that's what we're moving towards, is seeing if there are places where there is consensus."  The recommendations are being put together by representatives from state and federal government as well as groups representing sportsmen, environmentalists and the energy, lumber and agriculture industries. But Willms, who has also served in the Wyoming attorney general's office and worked in private practice, declined to say exactly who is involved at this point.
One unlikely participant: the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.  "I certainly believe fundamentally that the Endangered Species Act could work better," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, the president and CEO of Defenders. "And if there are ways to work better, we want to help that effort."  Rappaport Clark, who was President Clinton's Fish and Wildlife Service director, and her staff are also involved in the initiative in hopes that they can steer it more toward administrative reforms. That way, she said during an interview in her glass-encased corner office suite, "we can maybe save the battle legislatively, because it's going to be pretty dramatic."  But if a GOP reform bill emerges, Rappaport Clark — who often works seven days a week and uses a treadmill desk when she's in the office — is ready to lead the fight against it.  "I don't see a reform effort strengthening the law" in this Congress, she said. "I can only see a reform effort that will undermine and weaken the law's ability to achieve its purposes."  Rappaport Clark, an avid equestrian who lives in Virginia horse country with her husband and teenage son, is already working to educate Democratic senators about the damage that Defenders fears Republicans could do to vulnerable species and habitats. She is also attempting to rally other more broadly focused conservation groups, which are busy fighting to prevent the rollback of climate protection regulations and other environmental policies.  Her pitch is that the ESA is essentially the law of last resort for the environment.  "When the Clean Water Act fails, when the land laws fail, the Endangered Species Act will save enough," she said. "We're not going to allow extinction."  That should be enough to rally the progressive community of Democratic lawmakers, environmentalists, minority groups, labor unions, religious groups and human rights organizations, Rappaport Clark reasoned.  "If — maybe I should say, when — the Endangered Species Act is truly under an assault, I have every expectation that folks will be there with us," she said, before tapping her desk for good measure. "Knock on wood, please. They'd better be."


4/17/17
NEW UPDATE & PICS (between Wilson Ave. & Money Island Dr.) – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/17/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


The Release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Bogue Banks Master Beach Nourishment Plan (BBMBNP), on Bogue Banks Barrier Island, Carteret County, NC
https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/04/14/2017-07572/the-release-of-the-draft-environmental-impact-statement-deis-for-the-bogue-banks-master-beach
DEIS  - http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory-Permit-Program/Major-Projects/ 

April 2017 Meeting Materials for the Coastal Resources Commission & CRAC
https://deq.nc.gov/april-2017-meeting-agenda

Nags Head beach nourishment in 2018?
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/nags-head-beach-nourishment-in/article_5c0819f8-2215-11e7-bb10-0f24b2b92146.html

Inventory Tracks ‘Armoring’ of Beaches, Inlets
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/inventory-tracks-beach-modifications/

4/14/17
Locals seek action to keep Lockwood Folly Inlet open
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170413/locals-seek-action-to-keep-lockwood-folly-inlet-open

Update on the Connecting Channel – and Some Highly Anticipated Good News
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=421

McMaster cool to offshore drilling
http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article144171324.html

Environmental groups concerned about off-shore drilling executive order
http://www.wect.com/story/35137244/environmental-groups-concerned-about-off-shore-drilling-executive-order

D.C. Circuit Removes Hurdle to Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Designation Challenge
http://www.endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com/2017/04/articles/court-decisions/d-c-circuit-removes-hurdle-to-northern-spotted-owl-critical-habitat-designation-challenge/

4/13/17
NEW UPDATE & PICS (west of Oceanana) – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/13/17 Update http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 


Realtors plant sea oats as part of ‘Action Day’
http://luminanews.com/2017/04/realtors-plant-sea-oats-part-action-day/

4/12/17
Company mapping, surveying Carteret County's shoreline 
http://www.witn.com/content/news/Company-mapping-surveying-Carteret-Countys-shoreline-419214664.html 

Shoreline Stabilization; Terminal Groins in Ocean Isle and Holden Beach
http://whqr.org/post/coastline-shoreline-stabilization-terminal-groins-ocean-isle-and-holden-beach#stream/0 

Coastal Towns Brace For Beach Funding Cuts
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/20572/ 

Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened
http://www.endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com/2017/04/articles/fish-wildlife-service/manatee-reclassified-from-endangered-to-threatened/ 

Appeals court revives industry lawsuit over owl habitat
Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter, Tuesday, April 11, 2017
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that lumber companies had legal standing to sue over the Obama administration's decision to designate more than 9.5 million acres for the threatened species.  The Fish and Wildlife Service's argument that the designation won't decrease the timber available for companies to harvest "defies basic common sense," wrote Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a George W. Bush appointee, for the court.
Judges Thomas Griffith, also a Bush appointee, and Sri Srinivasan, an Obama appointee, joined the opinion, which reverses a lower-court decision to dismiss the case.  The northern spotted owl has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1990. It's found in coniferous forests from British Columbia to central California.
In 2012, FWS finalized its critical habitat for the owl, an area stretching through Washington, Oregon and California.  Kavanaugh noted that the area covered a "huge swath" of forestlands: "For Easterners, imagine driving all the way up and then all the way back down the New Jersey Turnpike, and you will get a rough sense of the scope of the critical habitat designation here."  Trade organization American Forest Resource Council, labor union Carpenters Industrial Council and various lumber producers sued FWS and the Interior Department over the designation. Washington counties also intervened in the case, arguing that they will be harmed by increased regulatory burdens, lost revenue and growing wildfire threats.
FWS initially didn't challenge whether the entities had standing to sue. To show standing, plaintiffs must show that they've sustained or will sustain a concrete injury stemming directly from the action at issue and that that harm is redressable by the courts.  But while the litigation was ongoing, the D.C. Circuit ruled in a separate case, Swanson Group Manufacturing LLC v. Jewell, that some of the same parties lacked standing to challenge a Bureau of Land Management decision on federal timber contracts required by the Oregon and California Railroad and Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant Lands Act of 1937.
Based on that decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last year granted the government's motion to dismiss the spotted owl case.  On appeal, the lumber industry argued that it would suffer because the habitat designation would "clearly" reduce the amount of harvestable timber available.  One company testified in court that it had already suffered a $287,000 loss after the designation blocked three of its timber sales and forced it to purchase more expensive replacement timber on the open market (E&E News PM, Sept. 15, 2016).
The Obama administration, on the other hand, argued that claims of harm were too broad.  The D.C. Circuit ruled that industry had met the standing threshold.  "The decrease in the timber supply is likely to be significant," Kavanaugh wrote. "After all, we are talking about an area roughly twice the size of the state of New Jersey, much of which could previously be harvested for timber but which is now substantially off-limits to logging."  Unlike the district court, the D.C. Circuit found that the decision in Swanson focused on particular allegations that weren't relevant to the challenge to the spotted owl habitat.  Instead, the court relied on an earlier case, the D.C. Circuit's 1996 decision in Mountain States Legal Foundation v. Glickman, which found that firms can sue over government acts that constrict their supply of raw material.  There's a "substantial probability" that the decrease in timber harvest caused by the owl habitat designation is likely to cause timber companies "some economic harm," Kavanaugh wrote for the court.  "Unless the company can fully replace the source of supply at zero additional cost to the company (and by zero, we mean zero), then the company has suffered an economic harm," the judge wrote.  "That is Economics 101 and Standing 101," he said.


4/10/17
NEW UPDATE (post storm) – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/10/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 

4/8/17
Is Trump getting ready to put Atlantic oil drilling back in play?
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/is-trump-getting-ready-to-put-atlantic-oil-drilling-back/article_16503117-5840-51bb-a7b1-809a80a2fa0d.html 

Trump Preparing Order to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling
https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-06/trump-said-to-ready-order-to-expand-oil-drilling-in-u-s-waters

The Long And Tortured Road To Reach The North Rodanthe Bridge Option
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=420 

4/7/17
Plan Streamlines Re-Nourishment Permitting
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/20451/

Is a 24-bedroom Outer Banks house a single-family dwelling or not?
http://pilotonline.com/news/government/local/is-a--bedroom-outer-banks-house-a-single-family/article_61ccf615-4259-5af6-afc3-f47aee08527f.html 

Ferry Division April meeting on Tuesday to focus on Hatteras Inlet
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/04/07/ferry-division-april-meeting-on-tuesday-to-focus-on-hatteras-inlet/ 

Most in U.S. think flood policy needs a fix
Erika Bolstad, E&E News reporter, April 6, 2017
Most Americans think that when you sell your house, you should have to disclose whether it has ever been flooded.  They also think that construction in flood-prone areas should be required to better withstand the impacts of flooding, according to the findings of a national survey released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trusts Flood-Prepared Communities project.  The survey demonstrated overwhelming and consistent support for policies to reform how current flood issues are handled, said Lori Weigel, a pollster with Public Opinion Strategies, which conducted the poll for Pew.  It was a rare example of support for a national policy initiative that extends across party lines, Weigel said.  "These are things that people think just intuitively make sense," she said. "That support level ran across party lines; it ran across the country. It was something that just intuitively made sense to the voters that we talked to."  
The poll found that 53 percent of American voters have been affected by flooding of some sort.  Three-quarters of those surveyed support prioritizing federal buyouts of repeatedly flooded homes in environmentally sensitive areas. Roughly the same number of people surveyed said they support policies that would "enable communities and the nation to do more to prepare for and respond to the next floods."  Two out of three American voters support requiring people to pay more for flood insurance if their communities don't make investments to reduce the risk of flood damage. And people in those communities agreed. Of those who live in coastal communities, 86 percent supported building to higher flood standards, Weigel said.
The findings of the survey come as Congress considers the National Flood Insurance Program, which is $23 billion in debt and up for congressional reauthorization this year. Lawmakers have already introduced multiple bills to address problems with the program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Among them are proposals requiring communities to better map the locations of repeatedly flooded properties. Many of the bills have bipartisan support.  Those surveyed had a shaky grasp of the NFIP, however. More than eight out of 10 were unaware of whether the program had a deficit or a surplus.
Flood insurance is expected to be a critical part of adapting to climate change. In recent years, catastrophic flooding, often driven by unexpectedly heavy rain events, has swept through many states. Some were tropical systems, like Hurricane Matthew. Many more were big rain events that caught people by surprise in places like Houston and Baton Rouge, La. They overtook communities where few people carried flood insurance, because they were not in floodplains or didn't think they needed it.  Such events are expected to only worsen in the coming years. The 2014 National Climate Assessment predicted that many communities will see such extreme precipitation events more often as global temperatures rise. Because there's more water vapor in the atmosphere caused by higher global and sea temperatures, the intensity of extreme precipitation events is on the rise.
The poll surveyed 1,000 registered U.S. voters across the country. Half were interviewed on a landline telephone and half on a mobile phone. The survey was conducted from March 11 through March 19. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


4/5/17

NEW UPDATE (more funding/sand) – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
4/5/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 

Bills would ease rules on sandbags, pumping sand from shoals
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/04/05/bills-would-ease-rules-on-sandbags-pumping-sand-from-shoals/

Pamlico Sound Ferry Runs Soft Aground Near Ocracoke
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/04.04.2017-PamlicoFerrySeaLevelRunsSoftAgroundNearOcracoke.html 

Let’s end war with ocean
http://www.starnewsonline.com/opinion/20170405/opinion-lets-end-war-with-ocean

4/4/17
CoBRA Pilot Project Resurfaces (NEW - Shore Protection Office Newsletter)
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/947

Wrightsville Beach takes another step forward on flood map appeal
http://luminanews.com/2017/03/wrightsville-beach-takes-another-step-forward-flood-map-appeal/ 

Waterway maintenance, property offers among commissioner discussions
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170401/waterway-maintenance-property-offers-among-commissioner-discussions

Owner of OBX home sues Currituck
http://www.dailyadvance.com/News/2017/04/03/Owner-of-OBX-home-sues-Currituck.html

Bills to Cut Streams, Shoals Regulations
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/deja-vu-regulatory-bills/

How Will Offshore Wind Power Get to Grid?
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/04/how-will-offshore-wind-power-get-to-grid/

What Hilton Head officials are now saying about restoring the sand dunes
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/weather/hurricane/article142449384.html

3/31/17
NEW UPDATE – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
3/31/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 

Oak Island council approves $3.6-million spending for emergency sand placement
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_192bfca0-157a-11e7-8ce0-5f28b5dd2187.html

3/30/17
Ocean Isle Beach Dredging Work Ends
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170327/ocean-isle-beach-dredging-work-ends

Is Atlantic drilling back on the table?
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/03/30/is-atlantic-drilling-back-on-the-table/

Community effort needed to rebuild Hilton Head sand dunes
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/weather/hurricane/article141509989.html

Rabon files Sunset Beach deannexation bill
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170329/rabon-files-sunset-beach-deannexation-bill 

Speak up for Captain Sam's Spit
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/speak-up-for-captain-sam-s-spit/article_f6206c88-13e8-11e7-81b5-8714957c5847.html

3/29/17
Nags Head pushes ahead toward 2018 beach re-nourisment
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/03/28/nags-head-pushes-ahead-toward-2018-beach-re-nourisment/ 

Expanded Holden Beach has a 'whole new look' 
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170329/expanded-holden-beach-has-whole-new-look

Dredging along the coast benefits Beaufort Inlet and area beaches
http://www.witn.com/content/news/Dredging-along-the-coast-benefits-Beaufort-Inlet-and-area-beaches-417389203.html 

ORV Corridor Established near Cape Point
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/03.28.2017-ORVCorridorEstablishedNearCapePoint.html 

Editorial: Base shoreline rules on science, not politics (Ga)
http://savannahnow.com/opinion/editorial/2017-03-28/editorial-base-shoreline-rules-science-not-politics 

House GOP lawmakers aim to reform consultation provision
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, March 29, 2017
In the face of Democratic opposition, House Natural Resources Committee Republicans yesterday took the first step toward updating the Endangered Species Act by targeting the law's consultation requirement.  At issue was a provision of the ESA that requires input from the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service, which jointly implement the law, for projects approved or funded by the federal government that could "jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of such species."  Such consultations are inconsistent, increase process and legal costs, lack certainty, and severely hinder "our nation's ability to provide necessary public services and discourages investment in critical projects needed to boost our economy," said Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho). "Reform is needed to improve consistency between regions; adherence to timelines; and to hold the employees of the services accountable for completing consultations in an efficient, timely and effective manner."  Republicans invited witnesses from the mining and construction industries as well as a property rights lawyer to discuss the costly delays that they had encountered in their work (E&E Daily, March 27).
But Democrats and Ya-Wei Li, vice president of endangered species conservation at Defenders of Wildlife, sought to highlight the role other legal or regulatory requirements played in complicating the projects elevated by the witnesses.  "Today's hearing is the latest in a series of attempts by the majority to blame bedrock environmental laws for holding up infrastructure projects despite copious amounts of evidence to the contrary," said ranking member Donald McEachin (D-Va.).  Li co-authored a comprehensive peer-reviewed study of consultations during the Obama administration that was cited by lawmakers on both sides of the dais. It found that consultations hadn't blocked or significantly altered any development projects during the Obama administration (E&E News PM, Dec. 14, 2015).  The conservation group executive argued that the study also showed consultations rarely exceeded the 135-day window allowed for such project reviews. The median duration of informal consultations, he noted, was 13 days and formal consultations was 62 days.
Republicans, however, pointed out that those figures didn't include sometimes lengthy pre-consultation efforts that agencies undertake or the protracted litigation that may result if environmental groups oppose the outcome.  Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, the chairman of the full committee, vowed to continue examining the issue as lawmakers consider reforms to the ESA, which hasn't been significantly amended in three decades.  "One of the issues I want to address this year is really talking about what consultation is," he said at the end of the 90-minute hearing. "This is something that needs a clear definition so we can actually find out when that clock needs to start ticking and who actually gets to consult and in what manner those consultations need to be addressed and considered by the federal agencies."  
There are efforts underway in both chambers to update the law.  Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) presided over an ESA reform hearing that was both broader in focus and friendlier in tone.  Nevertheless, early signs from the Senate suggest that an overhaul will be difficult to get through the upper chamber (E&E Daily, Feb. 16). At the same time, lawmakers are also pushing a series of piecemeal ESA reform bills.  For example, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) reintroduced the "State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act" earlier this week with the support of Barrasso and Republican Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Pat Roberts of Kansas.  The bill, S. 735, would require disclosure to states of the basis of determinations under such law and require the use of data provided by state, tribal and county governments in the decision-making process.


3/28/17
Council approves dune-repair contract
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170327/council-approves-dune-repair-contract 

New Hyde County digital flood maps to be available at public meetings
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/03/27/new-hyde-county-digital-flood-maps-to-be-available-at-public-meetings/ 

Public hearing scheduled on moving sand to Capt. Sam's project on Kiawah Island
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/public-hearing-scheduled-on-moving-sand-to-capt-sam-s/article_4367765c-1322-11e7-899f-23a11c182acf.html 

Emergency federal beach renourishment funding could still come to Myrtle Beach
http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/34993090/emergency-federal-beach-renourishment-funding-could-still-come-to-myrtle-beach 

Shore Protection Act tabled after it stalls in Senate (Ga.)
http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-03-26/shore-protection-act-tabled-after-it-stalls-senate 

Listen to science about shoreline protection (SC)
http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/editorials/article138864833.html

3/26/17
PROJECT START – MOREHEAD CITY HARBOR DREDGING & BEACH NOURISHMENT
3/26/17 Update - http://www.carteretcountync.gov/724/IOP-2017---Project-Updates 

One of Hunting Island’s last cabins will remain ... for now (SC)
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article140555538.html

PUBLIC NOTICE - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Charleston District is currently involved in the planning phase of a beach emergency repair in the Grand Strand (Myrtle Beach) of Horry County, South Carolina.
http://www.sac.usace.army.mil/Portals/43/docs/civilworks/nepadocuments/mbreachonerestoration/North%20Myrtle%20Beach%20Public%20Notice.pdf?ver=2017-03-20-143222-230 


3/22/17
Carteret County Beach Commission Meeting Agenda
March 27, 2017; Pine Knoll Shores Town Hall, 2 pm
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03272017-915 

Norfolk Prepares For Battle With Rising Sea Level
http://wunc.org/post/norfolk-prepares-battle-rising-sea-level#stream/0

Freeman Park zones set to close this spring due to dredging
http://portcitydaily.com/2017/03/21/freeman-park-zones-set-to-close-this-spring-due-to-dredging/ 

Bumblebee listing buzzes by Trump reg freeze
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, March 21, 2017
The Fish and Wildlife Service today quietly added a wide-ranging insect to the endangered species list.  The rusty patched bumblebee listing was finalized in early January, but it was prevented from taking effect by a 60-day freeze on new regulations that President Trump imposed on his first day in office (E&E Daily, Jan. 23).  That executive order pushed back the effective date of the listing until today, FWS announced in a Federal Register notice Feb. 10 — the day the bee was originally supposed to receive Endangered Species Act protections.  No additional announcements were made about the listing today by the Trump administration.
Pesticides, habitat loss, climate change and disease spread from commercial honeybee colonies have put the species on the brink of extinction, according to FWS. The rusty patched bee lives in scattered populations in 12 states and one Canadian province, covering just 8 percent of its historical range.  Now the pollinator is the first federally protected bee in the continental United States. The rusty patched bee's endangered status makes it a crime to knowingly harass or kill the insect, which as of 20 years ago could be found in 28 Eastern and Midwestern states and Washington, D.C.
The agriculture, energy, timber, and commercial and residential development industries have long feared the economic impacts of protections for the bee (Greenwire, Sept. 18, 2015).  FWS didn't calculate those costs when it proposed listing the species last year but said they would be estimated when the agency issues a recovery plan for the bee (Greenwire, Sept. 22, 2016).  Those costs — which could be substantial — are likely to count toward a separate executive order calling for agencies to prevent adding new regulatory burdens in fiscal 2017.  The order may also require FWS or its parent agency, the Interior Department, to repeal at least two existing regulations to offset the listing rule (Greenwire, Feb. 2).
Interior didn't directly respond to a question about the implications of the deregulatory executive order but said the regulatory freeze order probably didn't significantly harm the bee.  "Fish and Wildlife Service scientists have noted that the brief delay is not expected to have an impact on the conservation of the species since FWS is still developing a recovery plan to guide efforts to bring this species back to what they believe is a healthy and secure condition," spokeswoman Heather Swift said in a statement. "The Department will work with stakeholders to ensure collaborative conservation among landowners, farmers, industry, and developers in the areas where the species is native."  Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, which along with the Natural Resources Defense Council sued FWS in 2014 to speed consideration of protections for the bee, celebrated the long-awaited listing rule taking effect.  "We are thrilled to see one of North America's most endangered species receive the protection it needs," said Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species at the Xerces Society. "Now that the Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered, it stands a chance of surviving the many threats it faces — from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides to diseases."  The only other bees protected by FWS are seven species found only in Hawaii, which were declared endangered last year (Greenwire, Sept. 29, 2016).


3/21/17
Flood maps put downtown housing program on hold
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170321/flood-maps-put-downtown-housing-program-on-hold 

FEMA's updated flood map for Charleston County shows a smaller high-risk flood zone
http://www.postandcourier.com/charleston_sc/fema-s-updated-flood-map-for-charleston-county-shows-a/article_91af83b8-0d96-11e7-bf2d-2b1af90d1fe8.html 

Senator Tillis, state senators promise an investment in our coast
http://www.wect.com/story/34942376/senator-tillis-state-senators-promise-an-investment-in-our-coast

Developer seeks state permit for Capt. Sam's Spit beach restoration on Kiawah Island
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/developer-seeks-state-permit-for-capt-sam-s-spit-beach/article_3ef49d3c-0d84-11e7-b3c3-9be6ca33d798.html 

New permit program in place for ORV users at Cape Lookout National Seashore
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170321/new-permit-program-in-place-for-orv-users-at-cape-lookout-national-seashore 

PUBLIC NOTICE - The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers (Corps) received an application from the United States Coast Guard seeking Department of the Army authorization to modify an existing authorization in order to conduct new dredging within the existing mooring basin, associated with the US Coast Guard Sector Field Office at Fort Macon, in Carteret County, North Carolina.
http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory-Permit-Program/Public-Notices/article-view-display/Article/1123587/saw-2005-00748/

3/20/17
Oak Island weighs beach funding options
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170318/oak-island-weighs-beach-funding-options

Legislation would allow half-cent tax on prepared meals to support beach, waterfront needs
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_7ddec9c4-0b35-11e7-99d8-93d28fd14293.html

Listen to science about shoreline protection
http://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/editorials/article138864833.html 

Park Service Invites Public to Weigh In on Plan
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/park-service-invites-public-weigh-plan/ 

3/17/17
Federal regulation could impact coastal beaches
http://wnct.com/2017/03/15/federal-regulation-could-impact-coastal-beaches/

A Threat by Any Other Name
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/metropolis/2017/03/cities_are_throwing_out_climate_change_in_favor_of_resilience.html

A Primer on the Buxton Beach Nourishment Project
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=417 

NPS initiates program for ORV users
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_5bd0f96a-0a5e-11e7-8d06-3b98781c462c.html 

North Myrtle Beach gets $10 million to repair damaged beachfront
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article139105403.html 

Avangrid Renewables wins bid for Kitty Hawk offshore wind farm lease
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/avangrid-renewables-wins-bid-for-kitty-hawk-offshore-wind-farm/article_e43bb753-817b-5c01-88e3-1f919759d59b.html 

Operator of Pasquotank wind farm wins offshore lease bidding
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/03/16/operator-of-pasquotank-wind-farm-wins-offshore-lease-bidding/ 

Kitty Hawk wind farm lease awarded to Avangrid Renewables
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/kitty-hawk-wind-farm-lease-awarded-to-avangrid-renewables/article_f522093a-0a98-11e7-96a7-53dab7252c5c.html

Bill would allow for more oil and gas lease sales
Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter, March 17, 2017
The Interior Department would be able to add oil and gas lease sales to its existing five-year plan under a new bill from Louisiana senators.  Sens. Bill Cassidy (R) and John Kennedy (R) joined North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in introducing the "Unleashing American Energy Act." S. 665 would hand Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke a shortcut to change a leasing plan that took years for the Obama administration to finalize.  The current plan does not include Arctic and Atlantic leases, limiting new sales to the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska's Cook Inlet until 2022 (Greenwire, Nov. 18, 2016). Under the new bill, Zinke could reverse that, according to the senators.  "The restrictions that have been placed on our energy sector from the previous administration have stunted our economy and cost us thousands of good paying jobs," Kennedy said in a statement. "This bill will provide more job opportunities for hardworking Americans and will help our country realize our goal of energy independence."  The bill would not reverse withdrawals President Obama made under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Those withdrawals — comprising most Arctic waters and some areas in the Atlantic Ocean — were made under an obscure provision in an attempt to permanently remove them from oil and gas leasing (E&E News PM, Dec. 20, 2016).


Cuts could complicate flood insurance reauthorization
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter, March 17, 2017
House lawmakers yesterday grappled with how proposed spending cuts to flood mapping might affect their reauthorization of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program.  The Trump administration is pushing to zero out discretionary funding for the flood hazard mapping program as part of its "skinny budget" released yesterday.  The White House justified the $190 million reduction by arguing that government services should not be "subsidized by taxpayers who do not directly benefit" from the program.  The budget request would also cut funding for the Army Corps of Engineers by $1 billion. The proposal did not specify whether those cuts would affect the agency's flood control programs.  "It is extremely disappointing to see the president's budget would eliminate discretionary funding for mapping," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), ranking member of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, said during a hearing.  "If anything," said Cleaver, "we should be increasing the budget for that."  Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, agreed, saying the cuts would be "devastating" to the program.  "Mapping is the cornerstone of everything else NFIP does," he said. "It impacts mitigation, land use, insurance, everything."  Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) asked Berginnis whether the cut would hurt NFIP and private insurers' "ability to properly assess risk and discourage building where it is particularly dangerous."  Berginnis replied: "It would degrade that capability significantly. That degradation will increase over time as the maps get older."  The Trump administration proposal comes as Congress races to reauthorize NFIP, which expires in September. Lawmakers have already introduced a number of bills to reform the program.  One of them would require communities to better map the locations of repeatedly flooded properties. Another would require the Government Accountability Office to ensure NFIP uses accurate mapping. Those bills have bipartisan backing.
More private insurance
Currently, federal spending and NFIP fees help pay for mapping efforts. Federal policy fees also help pay for flood mitigation and technical assistance programs.  During the hearing, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) expressed concern that allowing further privatization of the flood insurance market would reduce funds for mapping and other services. Private companies do not contribute.  She asked, "If we see private insurers take market shares from NFIP and then the proposed budget cuts to FEMA materialize, what will happen to mapping in this scenario?"  Evan Hecht, CEO of a company called the Flood Insurance Agency, said he would support private insurers instituting a similar fee on their policies to help support mapping.  "We are going to use independent mapping but also have to use your mapping, so I am a big supporter of our participation in your effort," he said.  Republican members of the panel argued that private companies would be a boon to the insurance market. Further privatization is a key point of contention in the NFIP reauthorization talks.  Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), who is sponsoring a bill to increase privatization, said he thought the legislation "would help consumers and show that this Congress wants a flood insurance market that is affordable and accessible to all consumers."  Hecht tried to quell concerns from lawmakers that allowing more privatization in the flood insurance market would lead to increased rates.  He argued that most of the 18,500 policies his company has taken on would be subsidized under FEMA, thereby saving NFIP money.  "While it is understandable that some might believe the private market would only want to write FEMA's best risks and leave all the poor risks to NFIP, almost exactly the opposite is taking place," he said.  Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.) told Hecht that his comments "give me confidence that the private sector can fill the void."  But Hecht qualified his words, saying severe repetitive loss properties, which account for 2 percent of NFIP policies but 24 percent of claims, could not receive competitive rates on the private market. "Of course we would not want to write severe repetitive loss properties at rates that are competitive with FEMA because FEMA charges much too little for those properties," he said. "The rate of those properties have to be coincident with risk."

3/16/17
Corps OKs Ocean Isle’s Terminal Groin Plan
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/corps-oks-ocean-isles-terminal-groin-plan/

Dredge work awaits signed Hatteras Inlet agreement
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/03.14.2017-DredgeWorkAwaitsSignedHatterasInletAgreement.html 

Interior set to auction N.C.'s first offshore wind farm
Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter, March 15, 2017
The Trump administration will broker its first offshore wind energy deal this week as the Interior Department auctions development rights to 122,400 acres of the Atlantic Ocean near North Carolina's Outer Banks.  The Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area, covering 191 square miles of outer continental shelf roughly 24 miles from the beaches where the Wright brothers achieved first powered flight in 1903, has an opening bid price of $244,810, or $2 per acre.  For a business-minded administration committed to an "America first" energy policy, the sale could come as a welcome exercise in government-supported free-market competition. As many as a half-dozen firms are expected to participate in the auction, including some of the world's largest energy firms.  "While it appears President Trump's energy policy is still being worked out, his ambitious economic and job-growth agenda would undoubtedly be strengthened by a robust all-of-the-above energy approach, which would include a strong U.S. offshore wind program," Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, said in a statement. "This is clearly a growing market, which should only grow stronger as technology and infrastructure develops."
Wind energy areas in N.C.
Evidence of offshore wind's promise can be found in the most recent lease sale held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for a 79,000-acre parcel off New York's coast. Statoil ASA, the Norwegian energy conglomerate, paid a record $42.5 million, or $535 per acre, for rights to explore and possibly develop the New York lease area (Energywire, Dec. 19, 2016).  But it remains unclear whether the Kitty Hawk site, which has been studied for nearly a decade, will draw similarly strong interest.  Key questions facing the site involve the economic viability of offshore wind power in a market like the Carolinas, where coal, gas and nuclear power remain cost-competitive and renewables account for just a small fraction of total generation.  Three of the initial nine companies that qualified to bid in the auction have since pulled out, including Shell WindEnergy Inc. of Houston, Apex Clean Energy of Virginia and Toronto-based Northland Power Inc.  "There are excellent winds off the North Carolina coast and lots of shallow water that extends way offshore," said Catherine Bowes, director of the National Wildlife Foundation's Atlantic Offshore Wind Campaign. "What North Carolina doesn't have is a viable state market for selling offshore wind power, at least for now.  "But that's almost certain to change," Bowes added, "and smart businesses know how to get in on the ground floor and wait for that market to develop."
Trump officials remain noncommittal
There is also uncertainty about the Trump administration's disposition toward wind power, which the president himself has derided as an unsightly, bird-killing technology, even as wind has solidified its place as the nation's leading source of commercial-scale, emissions-free electricity.  Since taking office, Trump and his surrogates have said little about where federal renewable energy policy is headed.  Wind power advocates have touted the industry's meteoric growth over the past decade and the sizable economic benefits wind farms bring to rural America through land leases and tax revenue. Others were heartened by Trump's selection of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as secretary of Energy, noting Perry's long experience with conventional wind energy in Texas.  But offshore technology is new to the United States and only recently began to establish its footing along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The nation's first offshore wind farm began operating at Block Island, R.I., late last year, while several other large projects are still in the development phase, notably the 1,000-megawatt Bay State Wind project off Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  Federal officials, including the head of BOEM, declined to be interviewed about the Trump administration's position on offshore wind power.  In written responses to E&E questions, BOEM acting Director Walter Cruickshank said the agency "expects to be busy in both our oil and gas and our renewable energy programs." But he added that until the Interior Department's new leadership team has settled in, "we won't speculate on how [Trump administration] policy goals will translate into specific actions in BOEM."  A spokeswoman for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who took office March 2, was also careful not to commit the administration to renewable energy, either onshore or offshore.  "Secretary Zinke and President Trump are committed to creating public lands jobs that provide affordable and reliable energy for America," the spokeswoman, Heather Swift, said in an email. "The administration supports a comprehensive energy solution, and renewable energy will play a role so long as that energy is affordable and reliable."  But if there's uncertainty at the top levels of the Trump administration, it hasn't dampened enthusiasm among the companies that are vying for U.S. offshore leases.
Among the firms expected to bid in tomorrow's lease sale are Statoil Wind U.S. LLC; Avangrid Renewables, the U.S. subsidiary of Spanish energy conglomerate Iberdrola SA; Enbridge Holdings (Green Energy) LLC, the renewable energy division of the Canadian pipeline company; and PNE Wind USA, a subsidiary of Germany's PNE Wind AG.  Last week, Statoil and PNE Wind also asked BOEM to open an additional 440,000 acres of wind energy areas off the Massachusetts and New York coasts, where officials estimate the continental shelf could support as much as 4 gigawatts of turbines.  BOEM said the two companies' unsolicited applications were sufficient to initiate a new competitive lease process, which could draw even more developers into the Northeast offshore wind market.

Senators debate paths to privatization
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter, March 15, 2017
Senators explored how to best expand privatization in the flood insurance market during a Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing yesterday.  The National Flood Insurance Program is up for reauthorization in September, and some congressional Republicans have been pushing to expand the private sector's abilities to provide insurance as a way to lessen the burden on the federal program, which is $24.6 billion in debt.   Testifying before the committee, Federal Emergency Management Agency Deputy Associate Administrator Roy Wright said he thought Congress should set aside portions of the housing market, like new construction, for private insurers.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) cautioned against that strategy. "You may be working at odds against yourself if you let new construction be outside the program because you will only be taking on older homes," he said.  Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who last week introduced a bill to accelerate development of the private flood insurance market, also questioned whether the strategy could "put NFIP at a greater risk situation" with private insurers taking up lower-risk new construction.  
But Wright argued that he would rather cede a broad space for private companies to have as their own rather than allow them to cherry-pick which of NFIP's current policies they want to take over.  "If we are going to give some space, let's give it on the new side," he said. "What I don't want them doing is arbitrarily combing through the book and leaving us as the insurer of last resort, because at that point, I am convinced we would require infusions of cash every single year."  Wright added that, at the end of the day, the priority should be that people living in flood zones are insured, regardless of whether their policies are with NFIP or private companies.  "From a public policy perspective, the more people insured, the better," he said.  Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested the program should let private companies take over insuring second homes instead of having taxpayers help foot the bill.  "If you can afford a million-dollar beach estate in Nantucket, you don't need the downtrodden to support you," he said.  Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) asked Wright about the possibility of simply requiring private insurers to include flood damage in home policies, which could create a risk pool broad enough for companies to make money, potentially eliminating the need for the NFIP.
But Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she was concerned that ceding too much of the market to private insurers would affect NFIP's ability to also work on mitigation efforts and other aspects of the policy's "core mission."  "We have got to make sure we are still maintaining these other resources," she said. "Someone has to pay for funding mapping and flood-plain management. Over time, letting private plans crowd out federal plans and skip out on that bill could destroy that funding."  Wright agreed, saying he wanted to make sure private companies entered the market in a way that provides "mutual gain."  "If that happens, all of us are better off," he said. "If their gain simply comes with culling and reducing my policy base, that is the point in which our income goes down."  Wright also urged senators to make flood insurance rates reflect the risk, saying that "the solvency of the program depends on it."  He said, "Given concerns related to affordability, it may take some time, but the program needs to be on a course to eventually arrive at full risk rates for all policyholders."


3/14/17
Virginia Beach may fund Croatan beach replenishment
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/virginia-beach-may-fund-croatan-beach-replenishment/article_b6e15a27-b330-5dcb-91e2-0b35e0b20606.html

NTB expecting to earn more than $620,000 from property auction
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170313/ntb-expecting-to-earn-more-than-620000-from-property-auction

Nags Head commissioner appointed to head N.C. Coastal Resources Commission
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170313/nags-head-commissioner-appointed-to-head-nc-coastal-resources-commission

New Hanover Resident Steps Down As Chair Of Coastal Resources Commission
http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/government/2017/03/13/new_hanover_resident_steps_down_as_chair_of_coastal_resources_commission/15899

3/13/17
Coastal Commission Chair Gorham Resigns
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/gorham-resigns-crc/

Charleston County residents could be affected by new flood maps
http://www.postandcourier.com/charleston_sc/charleston-county-residents-could-be-affected-by-new-flood-maps/article_6dd36660-029e-11e7-922f-ffd6f9817451.html

Lawmakers grapple with $24.6B debt (NFIP)
Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter, March 10, 2017
Congressional mandates are keeping the National Flood Insurance Program from paying off its debt, its head told a House subcommittee yesterday.  Roy Wright, Federal Emergency Management Agency deputy associate administrator, said he did not know how the program could repay the $24.6 billion it owes the Treasury under current conditions.  "I don't have the ability to do so," he told the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance.
Wright blamed Congress requiring the flood program to subsidize insurance for low-income residents living in flood plains.  "There is not a practical way for us to repay this debt based on the discounts and subsidies that I have been directed to give under the National Flood Insurance Act," he said.  Repayment "would require an exponential" increase in policy premiums, Wright told subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-Wis.).  A number of major weather events, like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, as well as major flooding events this year in North Carolina and Louisiana, have contributed to the program's debt, Wright said.  But he rebuffed accusations from Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) that "FEMA did a poor job of accounting for risk."  "We are collecting the premiums allowable under statute," Wright said. "Eighty percent of my book is actuarially sound, the other 20 percent is based on statute."  The hearing yesterday came as Congress begins the reauthorization process for the NFIP, which will expire at the end of September.  Duffy was among several lawmakers who argued that keeping NFIP policies "accessible and affordable" is one of lawmakers' top priorities. But they disagree on how to do that.
Partisan divide
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), ranking member on Financial Services, said she believes Congress should forgive the program's debt.  "There is no way you could plan to pay this debt by raising the premiums or doing something else," she said.  Duffy and other conservatives on the panel, however, expressed interest in allowing private insurers into the flood insurance market as a way to lessen its burden.  Wright suggested that Congress could set aside portions of the housing market, like new construction, for private insurers.  "Give us an opportunity to create dedicated space to let the markets take hold, take root and flourish," he said.  But Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) argued that private insurance would likely offer more expensive rates than the NFIP and that requiring new construction to go private could inhibit growth.
'Draw the line'
Lawmakers also asked Wright how to best tackle properties that flood repeatedly. Those represent about 1 percent of total policies but add up to 25 to 30 percent of the claims and about $12 billion of the program's debt.  Wright suggested that Congress limit how many times a property can flood, or how much money it could receive from the NFIP, while still receiving subsidized insurance rates.  "There is a point by which we've got to draw a line that says if you exceed 150 or 200 percent of your policy limit that at least we need to take the subsidies and grandfathering away from you and you pay the actual face value premium or we tell you to get on the private market," he said.  But, Wright acknowledged, some properties that flood repeatedly are "in places where the homeowners are of less means" and could not afford such policies.
Bills
Lawmakers have introduced a flurry of NFIP bills in recent days. Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced S. 563 to accelerate the development of a private flood insurance market. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) introduced a companion, H.R. 1422, in the House.  Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) introduced H.R. 1423 to improve oversight over the NFIP's "Write Your Own" program, which allows insurance companies to service standard flood insurance policies in their own names.  The bills join an ever-growing list of flood insurance legislation already introduced that may eventually be incorporated into a final reauthorization (E&E Daily, March 8).

3/9/17
Upcoming Buxton Beach Nourishment Project Outlined in Detail at Public Meeting
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/03.08.2017-UpcomingBuxtonBeachNourishmentProjectOutlinedInDetailAtPublicMeeting.html 

Southern Shores Council OKs beach nourishment
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/southern-shores-council-oks-beach-nourishment/article_72a12270-0462-11e7-8c02-1b3ef1c46c48.html 

N.C. looking for new fisheries director
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170308/nc-looking-for-new-fisheries-director
NCDEQ Press Release - https://deq.nc.gov/state-searching-head-nc-division-marine-fisheries 

More people are driving on Hatteras beaches while record number of sea turtle nests are found
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/more-people-are-driving-on-hatteras-beaches-while-record-number/article_622e67d5-c32f-5894-8179-e4d6c46fc0ea.html 

DHEC board spurns staff, allows use of controversial seawalls
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/article137463333.html 

3/8/17
One Stop Carteret County Dredging & Beach Nourishment Update - Spring 2017
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/946

Bald Head Island Seeks to Mine Shoals Sand
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/bald-head-island-seeks-mine-shoals-sand/

Southern Shores OK’s nourishment project for later this year
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/03/08/southern-shores-oks-nourishment-project-for-later-this-year/

Even outside flood zones, insurance now a must
Erika Bolstad, E&E News reporter, March 8, 2017
NEW ORLEANS — To understand how ill-prepared for flooding most Americans are, and how vast the flood insurance problem is in the United States, take a look at South Carolina, the state's insurance commissioner told a panel yesterday.  In October of 2015, South Carolina weathered such a downpour that rainfall could be measured in some places by the foot. It was a record-breaking amount of water that drenched the middle part of the state, a swath of South Carolina not only unaccustomed to such deluges, but also mostly outside flood zones.  Then came Hurricane Matthew a year later, said Ray Farmer, the state's insurance commissioner.  "If you look at South Carolina, my position is our entire state's in a flood zone," Farmer told a panel at the annual RES/CON Global Resilience Summit here. "Everyone, unless you're living on top of a rock, everyone needs to have flood insurance."
Over the past several years, catastrophic floods, often driven by heavy rain events, have swept through many states. Some were tropical systems, like Hurricane Matthew. Many more, though, were big rain events that caught people by surprise — in Houston; Baton Rouge, La.; West Virginia; South Carolina; and beyond. They swamped places where few people carried flood insurance, because they did not think they needed it.  With rising global temperatures, the 2014 National Climate Assessment predicts that many communities will see such extreme precipitation events more frequently. Climate scientists know that the intensity of extreme precipitation events is on the rise because there's more water vapor in the atmosphere caused by higher global and sea temperatures.
Such storms have also exposed one of the greatest weaknesses in the National Flood Insurance Program, known as NFIP: People often don't have insurance outside high-risk flood areas because local governments have successfully petitioned to have the rates lowered by proving they've invested in levees or other defenses.  "The most gut-wrenching part of it is person after person after person would come up and say, 'I have no coverage at all. I lost my home. What do I do now?'" Farmer said.  Many panelists also worried about some of the incentives in NFIP, which is $23 billion in debt and up for congressional reauthorization this year.
Many communities successfully protest their flood zone ratings to help homeowners lower their rates. When they do so, it also allows many homeowners to exit the program, said Ned Dolese, who started a private flood insurance company, Coastal American Insurance Co., after growing frustrated with the cost of insurance after Hurricane Katrina. Coastal offers flood insurance as a policy on top of a regular homeowners insurance policy, and it is working to enter additional state markets.  "Are we cannibalizing the program because a community can then say, 'I no longer want to be in the flood zone?'" Dolese asked. "Where we're sitting today, a lot of this area that flooded during Katrina is no longer a flood zone. That's a political process. That has no basis in science or actuarial science or anything else. It's politically driven."
Few panelists addressed climate change outright. Instead, they focused on the more sweeping topic of the conference: how to build greater resilience in communities.  That should start by preparing before the water rises, said Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), whose district includes the areas flooded in Baton Rouge. Local officials have a responsibility to adequately assess their vulnerability, he said. "We've got to flip this whole paradigm over," Graves said. "There is a responsibility of local governments ... to make sure that your building codes and that your zoning ordinances are really compatible with the areas that these people are moving to. To make sure that you're not, as a county official, as a parish official, as a city official or as a state official, that you're not actually creating more liability by building roads to areas that are vulnerable."


Bipartisan flood insurance bill linked to rising seas
Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter, March 8, 2017
Bipartisan flood insurance legislation from two Florida congressmen would extend rate caps to the owners of second homes and rental properties, in the latest bid to address the challenge of sea-level rise.  Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican who represents the Keys, partnered with Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist yesterday to introduce legislation to reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Congress is working toward reauthorizing the program, which would otherwise expire in September (E&E Daily, March 6).  Crist said his panhandle-based district, which he called a peninsula on a peninsula, "is ground zero for climate change and the impact of rising sea levels and storm surge."  "In the face of these threats," Crist said, "it is more important than ever to work across the aisle to keep flood insurance affordable for Floridians protecting their homes and businesses."
Raising awareness about the repercussions of rising seas presents unique challenges, said a recently published paper in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science.  The initial focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions may have prevented action — and public communication — on how to respond to the effects of climate change, including sea-level rise, said co-authors Karen Akerlof, Michelle Covi and Elizabeth Rohring.  Public opinion polls rank sea-level rise as a lesser concern than other global warming impacts, even in some of the most affected parts of the world, they note.
Curbelo is co-chairman of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, a group he launched last year with fellow South Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D) to educate members on economically viable options to reduce climate risk and to explore mitigation and adaptation. Crist joined the caucus last month (Greenwire, Feb. 9).  "Across the country, rental properties like those affected by this bill not only serve as primary income for many landlords but also provide reasonably priced housing for the workforce in our coastal communities," Curbelo said yesterday.  Though his statement on the bill did not refer to climate, Curbelo has spoken out recently about the impact sea-level rise is having on roads and infrastructure in his low-lying district.  "The 2015 king tides led to flooding that lasted more than three weeks in several neighborhoods, causing damage to homes and businesses, and leaving my constituents unable to move freely to and from their homes," Curbelo said in a recent speech on the House floor that commended local planning efforts.
Curbelo advocated for federal transportation infrastructure research grants to "help ensure we have the best engineering at our disposal" and mitigation policies.  With President Trump pushing to work with Congress on infrastructure, Curbelo has urged for funding to address sea-level rise to be part of the package.  Curbelo said after Trump's recent address to Congress that infrastructure could provide a lot of opportunity for lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are concerned about climate impacts (E&E Daily, March 1).


3/6/17
Coastal scientists draw a line in the sand after new Shore Protection Act passes House
http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-03-04/coastal-scientists-draw-line-sand-after-new-shore-protection-act-passes-house

South Carolina groups sue to protect Endangered Species Act
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/south-carolina-groups-sue-to-protect-endangered-species-act/article_860a7626-ff63-11e6-a860-1bb095a629d3.html

100 homes have been raised above Dare County flood areas in last 20 years
http://pilotonline.com/news/government/local/homes-have-been-raised-above-dare-county-flood-areas-in/article_6bc75232-f768-5ce7-9463-5c558fab2756.html

Trump action on water regulation garners praise, concern along N.C. coast
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170303/trump-action-on-water-regulation-garners-praise-concern-along-nc-coast 

3/3/17
Legislators Eye Beach Sand Funding, Rules
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/03/legislators-eye-beach-sand-funding-rules/ 

Beach committee continues review of how best to pay for long-term shore protection
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_879c1aae-ff49-11e6-9302-e74c2467031d.html

Some Virginia barrier islands are shrinking by the day: "You can just feel it"
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/some-virginia-barrier-islands-are-shrinking-by-the-day-you/article_db707859-b6a4-5cf3-8d8e-9c8d45c70ebf.html

Ocean Isle Beach has all permits for terminal groin
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170302/ocean-isle-beach-has-all-permits-for-terminal-groin 

Oak Island seeking bids to place 156,000 yards of sand on areas of eroded beachfront
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_47e2de70-ff49-11e6-b943-2ffbf4b235ad.html

Trump Orders ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule Changed
http://ens-newswire.com/2017/03/01/trump-orders-waters-of-the-united-states-rule-changed/

NC must act now to avoid a disaster as sea levels rise
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article135854573.html

3/1/17
Work Continues on Rich Inlet Biological Study
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/02/work-continues-rich-inlet-biological-study/

North Topsail leaders to finalize decision on contract for hardened structure project
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170301/north-topsail-leaders-to-finalize-decision-on-contract-for-hardened-structure-project 

Few Weeks Left In Holden Beach Renourishment Program
http://www.wwaytv3.com/2017/02/27/few-weeks-left-in-holden-beach-renourishment-program/

Bill offers new definition of sand dunes in Georgia
http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-02-26/bill-offers-new-definition-sand-dunes-georgia 

Yale Climate Opinion Maps – U.S. 2016
http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2016/

'Deadline' lawsuits largely determined FWS's focus — GAO
Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter, 2/28/17
The Fish and Wildlife Service faced 122 "deadline" lawsuits between 2005 and 2015, prompting the agency to negotiate settlements that largely dictated which species were considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.  The GAO report is an overview of so-called Section 4 deadline lawsuits. Under the Endangered Species Act, outside groups can sue FWS or the National Marine Fisheries Service for not meeting statutory deadlines for listing petitions.  Republicans have long criticized the process, sometimes saying it allows environmental groups to force species listing. The GAO report does not support that contention, concluding that settlement agreements "did not affect the substantive basis or procedural rule-making requirements" under ESA.
But the settlements did eat up resources.  "For fiscal years 2005 through 2015, FWS officials said they have focused much of their Section 4 program on completing actions required under settlement agreements and court orders," GAO analysts wrote, adding that a multispecies settlement in 2011 made that focus particularly evident. "To fulfill its commitments under these agreements, FWS's efforts related to listing have required the use of substantially all of its petition and listing budgetary resources, according to FWS documents."  ESA sets a firm deadline of 90 days for FWS and NMFS to review petitions for changing, adding or removing animals and plants from the endangered and threatened species lists. If the agencies find a petition presented "substantial" information in support of action, they then have 12 months to determine whether the move is warranted.  The result is that FWS and NMFS usually settle deadline lawsuits, because they can't dispute that they missed a required deadline.
Between fiscal 2005 and 2015, plaintiffs filed 141 deadline suits against FWS and NMFS, involving 1,441 species. More than half the lawsuits came from two groups: the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians.
CBD pointed out that the report shows that the number of lawsuits filed has declined since 2011, when FWS agreed to consider listing more than 250 species over five years. The group also emphasized that some imperiled species wait years for protection.  "Lawsuits have targeted species that in many cases have been waiting decades for protection and ensured they at least get a decision about that protection," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at CBD. "The Fish and Wildlife Service, however, has still largely determined the priorities for which species get protection, and in no cases have settlements determined the outcome of decisions or cut industry or states out of the process. This is clear from the GAO’s report."  The agencies negotiated settlements for 72 percent of the lawsuits, while 22 percent were dismissed voluntarily because actions were completed.  Only nine lawsuits — all involving FWS — were resolved by court order, according to the report. The court dismissed six of them.
House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who requested the report, said today that the report confirmed that such lawsuits "do not force the government to list species."  "Now it should be clear to everyone that the GOP 'sue and settle' conspiracy theory belongs in the garbage along with its claims of global cooling and massive voter fraud," he said. "Instead of targeting American citizens and the conservation groups that help them hold the government accountable for breaking the law, congressional Republicans should adequately fund species conservation efforts so that agencies can actually meet statutory deadlines." 
But Republicans saw the report differently.  "Litigation is driving ESA decisions and taxpayers are paying millions in attorney's fees to the groups that sue the government on those cases," Parish Braden, spokesman for the Natural Resources Committee, said in an email.  Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) has said the ESA should be repealed and replaced, and Braden reiterated today that ESA was a "broken" policy. He also criticized Grijalva for serving on the advisory board of CBD's Climate Law Institute. The institute aims to wage "legal and public-pressure campaigns" to prevent extinction amid global warming.

2/27/17
Who should pay for beach nourishment?
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170224/who-should-pay-for-beach-nourishment 

Oak Island and other coastal communities work to restore beaches
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170223/oak-island-and-other-coastal-communities-work-to-restore-beaches

Long-awaited beach nourishment project along Outer Banks set to start in May
http://wtkr.com/2017/02/22/long-awaited-beach-nourishment-project-along-outer-banks-set-to-start-in-may/ 

Mason Inlet catching more boaters
http://luminanews.com/2017/02/mason-inlet-catching-boaters/

Oak Island closes street to accommodate Publix; pursues tax to prepared meals
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_6cb4124c-f930-11e6-abe1-8f333da91579.html

Numbers against offshore oil
http://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/numbers-against-offshore-oil/article_c9553f46-fa05-11e6-964f-c75a5aa5ba25.html 

2/22/17
NEW - Final Report to Congress: John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System Digital Mapping Pilot Project
https://www.fws.gov/ecological-services/habitat-conservation/cbra/Act/Pilot.html  

Topsail Beach’s Request for Sand Site Stalled
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/02/topsail-beachs-request-for-sand-site-stalled/

Offshore drilling opponents re-gear for new round of battles
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/offshore-drilling-opponents-re-gear-for-new-round-of-battles/article_543f0c84-f855-11e6-ad08-cb4a8eee6105.html

2/17/17
Myers: Modernize Endangered Species Act
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/02/19463/

Widening will work its way down the beach in 1,000-foot chunks
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/02/16/widening-will-work-down-the-beach-in-1000-foot-chunks/ 

Dredging could benefit Holden Beach, Intracoastal boaters
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170217/dredging-could-benefit-holden-beach-intracoastal-boaters

Oak Island seeks prepared meals tax (for nourishment)
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170217/oak-island-seeks-prepared-meals-tax

Acting Ferry Division director urges islanders to support passenger ferry and the Dredge Report
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/02/17/interim-ferry-division-director-urges-islanders-to-support-passenger-ferry/ 

Challenge to DeBordieu seawall starts over (SC)
http://www.coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/021617/1.html 

‘Last standing’ no more, Hunting Island’s Little Blue torn down
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article133319774.html

Creating ‘Virtual Storms’ To Help Design Coastal Defenses
http://www.eurasiareview.com/16022017-creating-virtual-storms-to-help-design-coastal-defenses/

2/16/17
Updates on Upcoming Inlet Dredging Presented at Waterways Commission Meeting
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/02.15.2017-UpdatesOnUpcomingInletDredgingPresentedAtWaterwaysCommissionMeeting.html 

Hilton Head Island looking at changes to the beach management plan
http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/34514820/hilton-head-island-looking-at-changes-to-the-beach-management-plan

Cape Hatteras National Seashore has opened the Cape Point Bypass Road extension to the public.
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/cape-hatteras-national-seashore-has-opened-the-cape-point-bypass/article_78a9c1a2-f2d0-11e6-a883-c7faea19a60f.html 

Want to help rebuild Hunting Island? You might have the chance soon
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article132827739.html

Rep. Iler updates transportation group on highway funding and projects, ports spending
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_6c95078e-f391-11e6-86a7-b776e4d36b4e.html 

GOP senators reintroduce bills cracking down on lawsuits, wolf policy
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, February 16, 2017
Republican senators are supporting a series of bills that would make it harder for the Fish and Wildlife Service to resolve Endangered Species Act lawsuits and would force the agency to provide more information on proposed protections for Mexican wolves.  Two of the three ESA bills introduced Tuesday were from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the majority whip.  The "Endangered Species Act Settlement Reform Act," S. 375, would require the Interior Department to provide public notification of when ESA suits, often from environmental groups, are filed and would set a lower standard for when outside groups, such as interested businesses, can intervene.  Introduced by Cornyn in both 2013 and 2015, the legislation also seeks to require judges to obtain the consent of affected local governments before approving settlements and would block litigants from obtaining legal payments.
"By giving states, counties, and local landowners a seat at the table, this bill will bring some much-needed transparency to the ESA settlement process," the majority whip said in a news release. "This will ensure Washington bureaucrats can't run roughshod over Texas landowners and job creators."  Cornyn also reintroduced the "21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act," S. 376, which would require the secretaries of the Interior and Commerce, who jointly implement the ESA, to publish any scientific and commercial data online that are used for adding or removing animals and plants from the endangered or threatened species lists. But the bill would also prohibit the posting of landowners' "personal information."
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) resurrected the "Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan Act" as well.
The bill, S. 368, seeks to shape the forthcoming update to the species's three-decade-old recovery plan.
The revision is required by December as a condition of a settlement the Obama administration struck last year with conservation groups and some states to resolve a series of lawsuits related to the recovery program for the wolf subspecies, one of the most endangered mammals in North America (Greenwire, April 27, 2016).
Flake's legislation would require FWS to set "an enforceable maximum population of the Mexican gray wolf" within a range below the current boundary line of Interstate 40 that is acceptable to ranchers, landowners, recreation interests and county governments in Arizona and New Mexico — the only two states in which the wolf is currently found.  Regulators would be require to describe "acceptable and unacceptable impacts on wild game, livestock and recreation" in those states. It also would set a process for state wildlife officials to assume authority of the recovery effort if they find FWS is in noncompliance with the revised recovery plan and would make them eligible for federal grant funding.  "The federal government's outdated management of Mexican gray wolf populations is harming ranchers and our state's rural communities," said Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018. "This bill will ease the burdens on rural Arizonans by enhancing local stakeholder participation and state involvement in the recovery process."  The sole co-sponsor of the bill last session was Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was re-elected in 2016. He hasn't signed up to support the most recent package.


2/14/17
Wilmington Chamber Pushing For State Beach Fund
http://www.wilmingtonbiz.com/government/2017/02/10/wilmington_chamber_pushing_for_state_beach_fund/15781

An Approach to Climate Change that Even Deniers Can Support
http://www.ozy.com/politics-and-power/an-approach-to-climate-change-that-even-deniers-can-support/74684

Work to begin soon on Willoughby Spit storm damage reduction project
http://www.13newsnow.com/news/local/mycity/norfolk/work-to-begin-soon-on-willoughby-spit-storm-damage-reduction-project/407902818 

Shifting currents for proposed wind farms off N.C. coast
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170213/shifting-currents-for-proposed-wind-farms-off-nc-coast 

State coastal agency gathers local feedback following Hurricane Matthew
http://deq.nc.gov/state-coastal-agency-gathers-local-feedback-following-hurricane-matthew 

Barrasso hopes to sell Democrats on reforms (Endangered Species)
Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter, February 13, 2017
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week will take a fresh look at reforming the Endangered Species Act — a long-held Republican priority that may now be possible with the party's unified control of Congress and the White House.  But to get any ESA reform bill past a Senate filibuster, Republicans will need to secure at least eight Democratic votes.  In a sign of the seriousness with which EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is approaching that endeavor, the majority of planned witnesses for this week's hearing have Democratic ties.  Lawmakers will hear from Fish and Wildlife Service directors who led the agency during the Clinton and Obama administrations, a former Democratic governor of Wyoming, the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, and the executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. "The witnesses highlight the fact that the ESA is an issue that presents challenges across the political spectrum — not just for Republicans — and throughout the United States," a committee source said in an email.  Not all of the witnesses are likely to offer full-throated support for reform. Defenders of Wildlife CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark, who was President Clinton's FWS director, has been critical of past attempts to tweak the law by making it less protective of species or their habitats.
But the viewpoints of other guests are less clear. For example, Dan Ashe, CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, said while serving as President Obama's FWS director that "I do believe that the Endangered Species Act should be reauthorized, and I think there could be room for improvement of the law" (E&E Daily, May 7, 2015).  The Obama administration, however, went on to push a series of ESA regulatory reforms and explicitly closed the door on supporting any statutory changes (Greenwire, May 18, 2015).  "We hope that the hearing will initiate a serious and thoughtful discussion regarding the challenges with the ESA and potential opportunities to modernize the statute," the committee source said. "We need to make this Act work more efficiently towards achieving its basic conservation purpose."  Barrasso, long a critic of the law, has made overhauling the ESA one of his top legislative priorities (Greenwire, Jan. 17).
The Western Governors Association has also called for an update. The bipartisan group released a policy blueprint for such an effort last year and is currently at work on specific legislative proposals (Greenwire, Dec. 15, 2016).  House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), on the other hand, has said the law should be repealed and replaced.  "I'm not sure if there's a way of actually reforming the Endangered Species Act or if you simply have to start over again," he told E&E News last year (E&E Daily, Dec. 9, 2016).  Enacted in 1973, the law currently protects more than 1,600 U.S. species, but critics note that it has only led to the recovery of 47 animals or plants. It has been nearly 30 years since the ESA was last amended.  Schedule: The hearing is Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. in 406 Dirksen.
Witnesses: Former Wyoming Gov. David Freudenthal (D); Jamie Rappaport Clark, CEO of Defenders of Wildlife; Dan Ashe, CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; James Holte, president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation; and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and president of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

2/10/17
There have never been this many beach-expansion projects on the Outer Banks, and experts don't know why
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/there-have-never-been-this-many-beach-expansion-projects-on/article_9b3b7d91-4595-5af8-a1c4-7ed857bb5ca5.html 

CRC: Let’s talk flood maps
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_093ad422-efb1-11e6-8291-ff803573a459.html

Court lets agencies pause critical habitat litigation
Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter, February 10, 2017
A federal judge has granted a two-month delay in litigation over critical habitat rules, allowing the Trump administration to get up to speed on the issue.  More than a dozen states filed the lawsuit in November, challenging a series of controversial updates to rules under the Endangered Species Act (Greenwire, Nov. 30, 2016). The states assert that the changes allow federal agencies to designate "entire states" as habitat for imperiled species.  The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service filed an unopposed motion yesterday asking for a stay in the proceedings. Judge Katherine Nelson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama granted the motion today.  "A 60-day stay of proceedings will allow Defendants time to brief incoming administration officials with decision-making responsibility about this case, so that they may become familiar with the subject matter and issues presented," the agencies wrote in the motion. "Requests to continue proceedings to allow time for new administration officials to become familiar with cases under their authority are customary."  Eighteen states filed the original lawsuit: Alabama, Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Missouri and Idaho later joined as plaintiffs.  A critical habitat designation mandates that federal agencies consult with FWS or NMFS before approving or funding any projects in the area. The states' lawsuit takes aim at a rule that gives the agencies more flexibility to designate land that is not the current home to the species.  The agencies previously could only consider unoccupied habitat if they determined that the species could not recover without it. Now they can consider both unoccupied and occupied habitat at the same time.  The states argue that the rule change, among others, unlawfully expands the government's control over state lands and waters.

2/9/17
DEQ Secretary makes leadership announcements
http://deq.nc.gov/deq-secretary-makes-leadership-announcements-0

Court Halts Cooper’s Cabinet Confirmations
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/02/coopers-cabinet-confirmations-put-hold/

Sandbags remain hard problem to solve along N.C. coast
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170208/sandbags-remain-hard-problem-to-solve-along-nc-coast

County to pay up to $500K for Southern Shores nourishment
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/02/09/county-to-pay-up-to-500k-for-southern-shores-nourishment/ 

County to help fund Southern Shores project
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/county-to-help-fund-southern-shores-project/article_b2fbded4-ed4a-11e6-8d93-179f5cd7a7a7.html

House committee report says state should step-up role in maintenance of ocean inlets
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_fde5027a-ee0a-11e6-a6ca-239e2883ba90.html 

Area officials taking flood map concerns to Raleigh
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170207/area-officials-taking-flood-map-concerns-to-raleigh

Fearing tourism losses, Outer Banks property owners sue NCDOT to stop NC 12 bridge
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/traffic/article131080124.html

NTB to allow swimming pools on oceanfront setback
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170207/ntb-to-allow-swimming-pools-on-oceanfront-setback

PUBLIC NOTICE The Wilmington District, Corps of Engineers, received a request from the Village of Bald Head Island to dredge Frying Pan Shoals and discharge the dredged material along the shoreline of Bald Head Island, including West Beach and South Beach, for groin fillet maintenance and beach nourishment.
http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory-Permit-Program/Public-Notices/article-view-display/Article/1076837/saw-2012-00040/ 

2/6/17
Group calls for U.S. flood insurance revamp as program deadline nears
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-floods-insurance-idUSKBN15G4O2

Officials to talk impact - Draft federal flood maps focus of meeting in Raleigh
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_a8fac122-eb27-11e6-a596-b388fa4eb54a.html#user-comment-area

“Low Risk isn’t No Risk,” and Other Things you Need to Know about the Preliminary Flood Maps
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=412

4 ways coastal meeting could impact locals
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170203/4-ways-coastal-meeting-could-impact-locals 

Lawsuit by group of OBX homeowners claims state cut illegal deal with environmental group
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/transportation/lawsuit-by-group-of-obx-homeowners-claims-state-cut-illegal/article_55a605dc-43e0-5e20-a38a-a0f1330a6865.html 

Virginia's Barrier Islands Are on the Move
http://wvtf.org/post/virginias-barrier-islands-are-move#stream/0 

Orrin H. Pilkey: Heading over the coastal cliff in North Carolina
http://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/orrin-h-pilkey-heading-over-the-coastal-cliff-in-north/article_2be9cf06-aed5-5a84-b391-f475bccd46a7.html
 

Industry sees opening to revamp species protection law
Emily Yehle, E&E News reporter, February 3, 2017
About 30 baleen whales live year-round in an underwater canyon off the Florida Panhandle, in an area of the Gulf of Mexico that is currently off-limits to oil and gas activity but could be reopened in 2022.  The subspecies of Bryde's whale may be the most endangered whale in the world, and right now, one U.S. law prohibits companies and agencies from killing or harassing them: the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The 45-year-old law has avoided tinkering by Congress since 1994, when provisions were added to address fisheries that inadvertently harm marine mammals. But the oil and gas industry has long found the act's permitting process burdensome — and it sees a possible opening for updates with a Republican Congress and a Trump administration.  Like other statutes, the MMPA "should be reviewed and reauthorized from time to time to reflect current-day realities," said Dustin Van Liew, director of regulatory and government affairs at the International Association of Geophysical Contractors. "The act has predominantly fulfilled the original intent of Congress, ending the threat of extinction and allowing for increasing populations of marine mammals across the board in response to the regulation of overhunting, overfishing and unscrupulous trade."  Van Liew said the IAGC "welcomes a discussion" with Congress and the administration on how to modernize the MMPA. The National Ocean Industries Association declined to comment on the MMPA, referring a reporter to IAGC.
It's unclear whether the MMPA will interest GOP lawmakers who have historically focused on higher-profile laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Antiquities Act. But several environmental groups are already sounding the alarm.  The Natural Resources Defense Council included MMPA on a list of the policies that it worries could be weakened by the Trump administration and its "GOP allies." Oceana has also identified it as a possible target of the current Congress.  "In terms of 'modernize,' I would point out that's language we often hear from industry affected by environmental laws and regulations," said Lara Levison, senior director of federal policy at Oceana. "The law has done a great deal to protect marine mammals, but its work is far from accomplished."  Michael Jasny, director of NRDC's Marine Mammal Protection Project, said he doesn't know of any specific plans to amend the MMPA. But he pointed to past industry criticism of the incidental harassment authorizations required under the law for any project that might harm or disturb a marine mammal.  "It's hard not to be worried about everything," Jasny said. "This is a dark age for anyone who is concerned about the environment or public health."
'Why should it take so long?'
Broadly, the MMPA prohibits anyone from harassing or killing a marine mammal without permission from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service routinely gives that permission to various companies, groups and federal agencies, along with a set of requirements to mitigate the effects of a project on marine mammals.  A company conducting seismic surveys, for example, usually is limited to operating its underwater air guns during certain times and within certain areas. That's because the air guns — used to find mineral deposits beneath the seafloor — can mask the calls of whales, as well as interrupt their feeding and cause hearing loss.
Those mitigation measures can be a source of controversy, with environmental groups sometimes arguing that they are not stringent enough. Most recently, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of NRDC and others in holding that NMFS failed to adequately consider the impacts of the Navy's sonar testing system on marine mammals (E&E News PM, July 15, 2016).
For the oil and gas industry, a main frustration has been the length of the permitting process. IAGC pointed to its members' attempts to get authorization for seismic surveys in the Atlantic.  The permits were rolled up into a broader controversy over the Obama administration's initial proposal to open the Atlantic to drilling. The administration eventually decided to not allow oil and gas leasing off the East Coast — and eventually denied the permits for seismic surveys.  But by then, NOAA had spent more than two years reviewing applications from companies for geophysical surveys. The delay was brought up at least once in a congressional hearing, with an IAGC witness asserting that seismic surveys don't hurt marine mammal populations (E&E Daily, July 15, 2015).  "Seismic surveying can be conducted safely, causing no harm to marine mammals, so why should it take so long to get a permit?" Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) said at the 2015 hearing. "I have yet to hear a reasonable answer to this question."  That same year, Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, John Cornyn of Texas and Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker of Mississippi — along with then-Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana — proposed changes to the MMPA process in a bill to expand oil and gas activity to the eastern Gulf, home of the Bryde's whale (E&E Daily, May 13, 2015). Among other things, the bill would have set hard deadlines for NOAA to act upon or deny requests for incidental harassment authorizations.
Van Liew of IAGC said yesterday that MMPA, "as applied today, is imposing regulatory burdens that are impossible for the federal government to meet."  "Offshore energy development is threatened with major delays and unnecessary restrictions due to the inability of federal agencies to implement the MMPA's vague or overly protective standards," he said.  Environmentalists pointed out that the Atlantic is new territory for oil and gas activity, as well as home to the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Gathering and analyzing the best available science for an incidental harassment authorization would take NOAA longer than usual in that case, they said.  At a time when the ocean is becoming more dangerous to marine mammals — thanks to increasing ship traffic, noise and energy development — Jasny and Levison said the MMPA is an important protection.  "Trying to open up a statute to undermine it in any way, it's inappropriate," Jasny said. "It would meddle with a statute that is working well, and it would go against the passionate interest and concern of the American public."

2/3/17
North Topsail Looks to Fast-Track Groin Study
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/02/north-topsail-looks-fast-track-groin-study/

Sandbag assessments on hold as legal challenge continues
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170202/sandbag-assessments-on-hold-as-legal-challenge-continues 

Challenge filed in federal court to block Rodanthe bridge
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/02/02/challenge-filed-in-federal-court-to-block-rodanthe-bridge/ 

Sand flows from inlet channel onto Garden City (SC)
http://www.coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/020217/2.html 

County considers 'engineered' beaches (Georgetown County, SC)
http://www.coastalobserver.com/articles/2017/020217/3.html 

2/2/17
North Topsail leaders to hear presentation on hardened structure project
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170201/north-topsail-leaders-to-hear-presentation-on-hardened-structure-project

Beach repair a must for South Carolina’s money making counties, argues senator
http://counton2.com/2017/01/31/beach-repair-a-must-for-south-carolinas-money-making-counties-argues-senator/ 

Edisto Beach begins project to replenish sand
http://southcarolinapublicradio.org/post/edisto-beach-begins-project-replenish-sand  


 L/onger bypass for four-wheel drives at Cape Point now open
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/02/01/longer-bypass-for-four-wheel-drives-at-cape-point-now-open/

1/31/17
Carteret County Beach Commission Meeting Agenda
February 6, 2017; Pine Knoll Shores Town Hall, 2 pm
http://www.carteretcountync.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/02062017-888

NC Coastal Resources Commission Meeting Agenda
February 7-8, 2017; DoubleTree; Atlantic Beach
https://deq.nc.gov/february-2017-meeting-agenda 

Carolina Beach dune-rebuilding event sees record turnout, eyes Kure Beach for 2018
http://portcitydaily.com/2017/01/28/carolina-beach-dune-rebuilding-event-sees-record-turn-out-eyes-kure-beach-for-2018/

New Jersey Opinion - A tale of three beaches after the storm: One done right and two done wrong
http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/01/a_tale_of_three_beaches_post-sandy_one_done_right.html

A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/opinion/a-scientists-march-on-washington-is-a-bad-idea.html

1/26/17
Flood mapping methodology concerns raised in Carteret County
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170125/flood-mapping-methodology-concerns-raised-in-carteret-county 

Video: Learn more about how flood maps could affect you
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/23/video-learn-more-about-how-flood-maps-could-affect-you/

State Floodplain Mapping Office holds public meetings
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170125/state-floodplain-mapping-office-holds-public-meetings 

Park Service superintendent to visit Ocracoke today about new beach access changes, FEMA specialists on island.
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/01/25/park-service-superintendent-to-visit-ocracoke-today-about-new-beach-access-changes-fema-specialists-on-island/ 

White House Chief of Staff Orders Freezing of Pending Regulations (Endangered Species related)
http://www.endangeredspecieslawandpolicy.com/2017/01/articles/congress/white-house-chief-of-staff-orders-freezing-of-pending-regulations/

UNC Collaboratory Set to Begin Research
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/01/unc-collaboratory-set-to-begin-research/ 

Southern Shores moves closer to beach nourishment
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/southern-shores-moves-closer-to-beach-nourishment/article_49dc6e06-ddb3-11e6-9ec9-7f03305ea3fc.html 

Kitty Hawk wind farm sale set for March
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/kitty-hawk-wind-farm-sale-set-for-march/article_5563c486-e245-11e6-be99-1b6725d47022.html

Barrier-island migration drives large-scale marsh loss
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124140812.htm

1/24/17
From Forest to Beach
http://www.northbeachsun.com/from-forest-to-beach/

Nags Head Officials Ask Feds For Beach Renourishment Help
http://wunc.org/post/nags-head-officials-ask-feds-beach-renourishment-help#stream/0

Hurricane Matthew destroyed Hunting Island. Here’s the plan for the park’s new look
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article128177069.html

1/23/17
North Topsail Beach leaders moving forward on hardened structure
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170122/north-topsail-beach-leaders-moving-forward-on-hardened-structure

In Corova, Battle Rages Over Development
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/01/corova-battle-rages-property-rights/

Edisto begins beach renourishment project after Hurricane Matthew damage
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/edisto-begins-beach-renourishment-project-after-hurricane-matthew-damage/article_968bf2e4-dcd7-11e6-bfb0-c3a30f33a10d.html

Photos: Holden Beach nourishment project
http://www.starnewsonline.com/photogallery/NC/20170120/NEWS/119009995/PH/1

Reflections on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=411 

Public meetings to address county preliminary flood maps (Onslow)
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170122/public-meetings-to-address-county-preliminary-flood-maps

1/19/17
Contractor for beach work in three towns plans to start in May
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/17/contractor-nails-down-schedule-for-beach-work-in-three-towns/ 

Matthew blamed for loss of a third of Nags Head’s new beach
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/19/matthew-blamed-for-loss-of-a-third-of-nags-heads-new-beach/

Southern Shores hires firm to examine beach nourishment
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/18/southern-shores-hires-engineer-to-plan-possible-beach-project/ 

Southern Shores takes step toward beach nourishment
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/southern-shores-takes-step-toward-beach-nourishment/article_49dc6e06-ddb3-11e6-9ec9-7f03305ea3fc.html 

FEMA maps generate a flood of concerns
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/fema-maps-generate-a-flood-of-concerns/article_51f19048-dcc4-11e6-a816-e39ee6e3808d.html

US to lease Atlantic Ocean for offshore wind farm off Kitty Hawk
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article127071529.html

Dredge to return to Ocracoke tomorrow
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/01/18/dredge-to-return-to-ocracoke-tomorrow/ 

More dredging at Ocracoke ferry channel could interrupt service
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/01.18.2017-MoreDredgingAtOcracokeFerryChannelCouldInterruptService.html 

1/17/17
Flood maps meeting attracts property owners seeking answers
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_ff3c3e76-d9a7-11e6-b987-3b755be7d423.html 

Preliminary flood maps explained at packed Hatteras Island meeting
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/01.13.2017-PreliminaryFloodMapsExplainedAtPackedHatterasIslandMeeting.html 

Park Service superintendent, staff to visit Ocracoke about new beach access changes
https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/01/16/park-service-superintendent-staff-to-visit-ocracoke-about-new-beach-access-changes/ 

Maritime forest a thorny issue for Sullivan's Island
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/maritime-forest-a-thorny-issue-for-sullivan-s-island/article_ca1e6ee6-d1cb-11e6-9dbe-e7e1c47244c4.html

N.C. 12 bridge to be built much faster and much cheaper than expected
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/transportation/n-c-bridge-to-be-built-much-faster-and-much/article_d5c815d5-0028-59d0-b1dc-54c26b029f71.html 

Contract awarded for bridge bypassing northern Rodanthe
https://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/16/contract-awarded-for-bridge-bypassing-northern-rodanthe/ 

Whales are washing up on Outer Banks beaches more often. Why? That's disputed.
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/whales-are-washing-up-on-outer-banks-beaches-more-often/article_2c163baa-2136-573f-a2e4-0fe034947f0c.html

1/12/17
Topsail Beach to defend itself against resident lawsuit
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170111/topsail-beach-to-defend-itself-against-resident-lawsuit

County, state closing in on interim solution to Hatteras Inlet shoaling
http://islandfreepress.org/2017Archives/01.10.2017-CountyStateClosingInOnInterimSolutionToHatterasInletShoaling.html

Oak Island council approves beach-repair plan
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170110/oak-island-council-approves-beach-repair-plan

Oak Island council initiates sand program, lets wedding and parking rules alone 
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_beb62810-d814-11e6-8e34-2fbae755b2b8.html 

Some Sea Pines homes could remain at risk for damage through next hurricane season (SC)
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/weather/hurricane/article125947379.html 

Obama administration denies seismic testing permits
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/obama-administration-denies-seismic-testing-permits/article_4b90e09c-d74b-11e6-a40a-0ba252dc0017.html 

Morehead City plans flood mitigation meeting
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_dabbe83c-d7fc-11e6-9e97-13480cfc42bf.html

1/9/2017
Oak Island to decide how to replace dunes
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20170107/oak-island-to-decide-how-to-replace-dunes 

Getting to the Point
http://hatterasdesigns.net/PivotBlog/?e=410

Plans for seismic tests off Virginia coast rejected by federal officials
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/plans-for-seismic-tests-off-virginia-coast-rejected-by-federal/article_3c52a259-9bd2-593c-ac3a-97b57a01be62.html

Federal agency rejects applications for seismic surveying
http://outerbanksvoice.com/2017/01/06/federal-agency-rejects-applications-for-seismic-surveying/ 

1/6/17
NEWS RELEASE - BOEM Denies Atlantic Seismic G&G Permits
https://www.boem.gov/press01062017/

Judge Halts Topsail Beach Building Permits
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/01/judge-halts-topsail-beach-building-permits/

1/5/2017
Old Christmas Trees Can Build New Dunes
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/01/old-christmas-trees-can-build-new-dunes/

Study: Coastal NC Officials Not Willing To Prepare For Sea Level Rise
http://wunc.org/post/study-coastal-nc-officials-not-willing-prepare-sea-level-rise#stream/0 

Hilton Head Island beach renourishment wraps up for the year
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article123780499.html

How will Hunting Island be rebuilt?
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article124569579.html

Group Urges Denial of Seismic Permits
http://www.coastalreview.org/2017/01/group-urges-denial-seismic-permits/ 

Activists disappointed new drilling ban excludes N.C.
http://www.obsentinel.com/news/not-in-our-waters/article_78a0012a-d1c0-11e6-afc8-5b7d0d965ce2.html

1/2/17
The push is on to improve tide forecasts across Hampton Roads
http://pilotonline.com/news/local/environment/the-push-is-on-to-improve-tide-forecasts-across-hampton/article_8be430b8-e686-5e0e-af8b-10428f34406a.html 

Public meetings planned on preliminary flood insurance rate maps (Dare Co.)
http://islandfreepress.org/2016Archives/12.30.2016-PublicMeetingsPlannedOnPreliminaryFloodInsuranceRateMaps.html 

Isle of Palms $19 million beach renourishment plan under review
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/isle-of-palms-million-beach-renourishment-plan-under-review/article_4764546c-c630-11e6-a489-df193c331db3.html 

The Air Force demolished 15 Civil War cannonballs in Charleston. But should they have?
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/the-air-force-demolished-civil-war-cannonballs-in-charleston-but/article_b573c4f6-c3dd-11e6-8d07-ff9898689408.html 

Several opportunities to recycle Christmas trees
http://www.jdnews.com/news/20170102/several-opportunities-to-recycle-christmas-trees 

Carolina Beach recycling Christmas trees to shore up dune systems 
http://portcitydaily.com/2017/01/01/carolina-beach-recycling-christmas-trees-to-shore-up-dune-systems/

12/30/16
Trees add ongoing protection to beach dunes
http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/news_times/article_6dd1d762-cd17-11e6-bc6f-270b8b51c1ff.html 

Future of beach sand, financing the subject of January 4 Oak Island Town Council session
http://stateportpilot.com/news/article_9725fb1e-cd2d-11e6-bcf3-1749a3da6f06.html 

Sea turtles, shrimp fishermen tangled in government's net proposal
http://www.starnewsonline.com/news/20161228/sea-turtles-shrimp-fishermen-tangled-in-governments-net-proposal 

Charleston-area beach parks struggle to recover from Hurricane Matthew
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-area-beach-parks-struggle-to-recover-from-hurricane-matthew/article_eff4a112-c302-11e6-b011-774f780d26ef.html