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Vibrant Environment

“New Arctic” Is a Dream Meltdown

Inukshuks near Baffin Bay (Wikimedia Commons)
Stephen R. Dujack
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I went to the North Pole in April, the favored month for travel in the High Arctic. That was 16 years ago. According to the 2017 National Climate Assessment, the region’s warming began accelerating around the time of my visit. It is no longer the same frozen ecology and economy I had seen.

Participating in Gulf Restoration

Biloxi, Mississippi
Amy Reed
Monday, December 4, 2017

[Updated December 13, 2017]

November was a busy month for Gulf restoration.

A couple of weeks back, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) held its second annual Restoration Summit.

The Summit was billed as “an opportunity for any member of the public to learn about current restoration projects in Mississippi and the announcement of new projects for 2017.” (It also served as the annual public meeting for the Mississippi Trustee Implementation Group (TIG), a group of federal and state agency representatives overseeing the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process in Mississippi.)

To Do, and Not to Undo: The Issue of Presidential Authority Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act

Oil platform off the coast of Alaska (Photo: BSEE).
Tim Briscoe
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In December 2016, President Barack Obama issued a presidential Memorandum withdrawing about 128 million acres of federally owned underwater land in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from disposition for oil and gas leasing. Obama invoked a presidential power granted by Congress in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

More Bog for the Buck: Leveraging NEPA Efficiencies to Increase Restoration

Coastal wetlands
Amy Reed
Xiao Recio-Blanco
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On August 30, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (the “Council”) announced that it is seeking public comment on a proposal to “approve implementation funding for the Robinson Preserve Wetlands Restoration project” in Florida. If the proposal is approved, the Council will allocate $1,790,546 in RESTORE Act (Pot 2) funds to implement the project, including a “reallocat[ion of] $470,910 from planning [funds] to implementation.” According to the Council, the project will restore approximately 118 acres of habitat, including coastal upland, wetland, and open water habitat types, in the Tampa Bay Watershed.

Mitigating Ocean Noise Impacts on Marine Mammals in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Underwater noise can cause injury or death to whales (Christopher Michel).
Monday, September 25, 2017

Humans are rapidly increasing their industrial use of the ocean and its resources, resulting in great increases in underwater noise. Commercial shipping, naval sonar, seismic exploration, pile driving, acoustic deterrents for fishing, and seabed mining all produce ocean noise.

Helping Communities Participate in the NEPA Scoping Process

The Mississippi River Delta.
Amy Reed
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In mid-July, I traveled to Louisiana with fellow ELI Gulf Team member Teresa Chan to host three workshops with the Restore the Mississippi River Delta coalition. Held in three different parishes, these workshops were intended to help the community meaningfully participate in the “scoping” process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion by providing some background on the project, explaining what scoping is, and discussing how the public can participate. Nearly 60 people attended the workshops, where there were lots of lively discussions! 

Getting Serious About Playing Games: ELI Designs Award-Winning Educational Game

ELI's Cards Against Calamity board game engages coastal communities in resilienc
Dave Rejeski
Monday, July 31, 2017

ELI’s Technology, Innovation and the Environment project targets the market for serious games with our new game, Cards Against Calamity, a multiplayer board game that explores coastal communities’ resilience to crises. Cards Against Calamity was developed in collaboration with 1st Playable Productions and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Bluefin Tuna: Critically Endangered Species or “World Gourmet”?

Despite having few natural enemies, bluefin tuna are threatened by overfishing (
Zhou Jinfeng
Huang Shuya
Linda Wong
Xiao Recio-Blanco
Monday, July 24, 2017

Bluefin tuna, the general group name of several species that belong to subgenus of true tunas Thunnus (Thunnus), are the largest of all tunas and have a natural lifespan of over 50 years. Reaching over two meters in length and weighing 200 kilograms as adults, the species is at the top of the marine food chain. But for great white sharks, bluefin tunas have few natural enemies. Sadly, in the last few decades, a new enemy has appeared: humans.

Working Toward a Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries Solution in Spain

fish
Xiao Recio-Blanco
Monday, June 12, 2017

In my last blog, I wrote about ACERGA’s lawsuit against the government of Spain over the current criteria for fisheries quota distribution. In addition to the lawsuit, in late March 2017, ACERGA, in cooperation with the Universidade da Coruña (UDC) Law School, organized a conference to bring together government representatives, fishers, and fishing policy experts to discuss the problems with and propose solutions to the current quota distribution system and purse-seine fishing.

Offshore and Still on the Horizon: President Trump's Executive Order on the Outer Continental Shelf

An offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jay Austin
Monday, June 5, 2017

Even prior to recent events, the topic of "presidential power" had been trending. There's now an entire law school course devoted to the Trump Administration's first 100 days; several of us at ELI recently assessed the viability of current and proposed executive branch actions in the regulatory arena; and federal court cases on the travel ban and on defunding sanctuary cities are a reminder that executive orders can be swiftly reviewed where they test constitutional or statutory limits.