As the partial government shutdown continues, how is your coastal community or work being impacted? Are you seeing delays in projects? Lost access to coastal areas? Reduced tourism? Lack of information about water quality, waves, currents or other coastal data? Expected funding not coming through?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received on-time appropriations this fiscal year and have been operating during the shutdown. This means coastal project planning and implementation and some permitting have continued. However, many other federal agencies that work along the coast have been shuttered, leaving communities, managers and researchers unable to fulfill their coastal missions and projects. Here are just a few of many coastal impacts:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency – NOAA has many, many different roles along the coast, nearly all of which have been stopped during the shutdown. NOAA cannot do or share research and data collection ranging from tide gauges to ecological monitoring to weather data; they cannot review permits for impacts to endangered marine wildlife or essential fish habitat; they cannot provide funding for universities (through Sea Grant), community resilience nor state coastal zone management programs; they cannot do habitat restoration; and Digital Coast has been unmonitored.
Fish & Wildlife Service – USFWS manages coastal wildlife refuges that have been closed or un-maintained; “Section 7” endangered species permits cannot be reviewed.
Environmental Protection Agency – EPA cannot monitor water quality; they cannot work on NEPA permits (Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements) or “404” clean water act permits; they can’t even provide previously collected data.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management – BOEM cannot permit or assess offshore sand leases.
U.S. Geological Survey – USGS cannot conduct or fund any research on coastal hazards and coastal change.