Coastal Fellow 2013-2014 Winter Update

Greetings Sea Grant Scholar followers and contributors!

I am now officially in my last 6 months as a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the Washington Department of Ecology. Soon, the soft shoreline stabilization guidance document I have produced as a central part of my project will be published by the WA Dept of Ecology’s SEA program.  I will be sure to post a link once it is available to the public.

I now have the opportunity to plan for outreach and training on soft shoreline protection policies for local planners and will be presenting on this topic at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in May.

In a couple of weeks I will be attending the Social Coast Forum and the annual NOAA Coastal Fellows meeting in Charleston S.C. where I will be catching up with my colleagues and learning about social science in marine management.

I am looking forward to my last six months as a fellow with opportunities to get out and work with Puget Sound local governments to help them implement policies and regulations for healthier shorelines!

I also wanted to congratulate Jenny Thompson who recently completed her year as a Knauss Fellow in Washington D.C.! Great work and all the best to her and her future! :)



NOAA Coastal Management Fellow update


It has been too long since my last post! I have been very busy here at the WA State Dept of Ecology with my Fellow’s project. I have made great strides creating Soft Shoreline Stabilization guidance for local jurisdictions in Puget Sound. I spent a long spring and summer writing, and my guidance is now undergoing review from local jurisdiction staff. It is very important to me that my audience, local jurisdiction staff, have the opportunity to review and comment on my guidance.

Creating this guidance has been a great learning experience, and I have had wonderful experience talking with local jurisdictions, state employees, and other stakeholders in soft shorelines. I am looking forward to wrapping up the review process, incorporating comments, and completing my guidance by Spring 2014! I am planning to spend my last couple of months as a fellow participating in outreach and training related to my guidance.

In addition to writing, I’ve also been able to attend forums, conferences, and other meetings where I have been a part of the soft shoreline discussion. Last week, I presented at the National Coastal Conference held by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. I also lead a field trip as a part of a training for real estate professionals on soft shorelines put on by the Coastal Training Program and Washing State University Extension in early October.

On a separate note, I, along with some partners at Oregon Sea Grant, were awarded a grant from OSG to create a mobile website that will host the NOAA Trust Species and Aquatic Pesticides Toxicity Database I created while completing my M.S. at OSU. It has been a great experience so far, and I’m excited that my database will be publicly available in a user-friendly format!

That is all for now. Next week I am attending the Coastal and Estuarine  Research Federation’s annual conference in San Diego. Hoping to catch up with some current and past OSG’ers while I’m there!

Until next time,

Kelsey Gianou

NOAA Coastal Fellowship Progress Report July- December 2012

Greetings from the Washington State Department of Ecology! I’m now wrapping up the 6 month mark of my 2 year NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship.

First off, I should probably describe what my project is about: creating guidance to promote “Green Shorelines”. Green Shorelines is an initiative very popular in Puget Sound these days. Due to concerns of shoreline habitat degradation, water quality, public access, and other Puget Sound health issues, Green Shorelines, otherwise known as Alternative Shoreline Armoring, Living Shorelines, or Soft Shorelines, is being promoted along Puget Sound’s marine and freshwater shores. My project is focusing on the shoreline armoring aspect; more specifically, how to implement the removal of bulkheads and seawalls and replace them with either completely natural or those with “soft” and environmentally friendly stabilization techniques.

It has been a whirlwind experience for me and these next few paragraphs describe some of the things I have accomplished during my first 6 months as a fellow:

The first month of the fellowship was spent getting to know the office and familiarizing myself with previous Green Shoreline projects. I then created a plan to network with individuals involved with Green Shorelines projects and gather background information on the needs and barriers to Green Shorelines implementation. For the next three months, I conducted a needs assessment by interviewing experienced individuals from state and local government, shoreline consultants, NOAA, and Washington Sea Grant and discussed with them the issue of Green Shorelines. During this time, I read literature related to Green Shorelines including Puget Sound marine and nearshore literature, Washington Administrative Code related to shoreline armoring, and shoreline stabilization techniques. I have also participated in site visits with Ecology employees, viewed green shoreline sites, and attended public workshops and conferences.

During the last couple of months of 2012, I identified the goals and major long-term outcomes of my project and developed a draft work plan. I then attended a Coastal Training Program class on Project Design and Evaluation and used the skills I learned further refine my project by identifying short- and mid-term outcomes, outputs, and activities suitable for my two year fellowship. I have been in contact with other organizations and individuals involved with Green Shorelines, including the Marine and Nearshore National Estuary Program grant administrators, Puget Sound Partnership, Green Shores for Homes, and others on how to best collaborate our project products in order to further advance green shorelines implementation. I have given project presentations to Ecology and local shoreline planners to facilitate discussion and feedback on my project development. The project products identified so far include a Green Shorelines Stabilization Concept and Management Principles definition geared toward assisting shoreline planners in understanding Green Shorelines stabilization, assistance in promoting Green Shorelines through incentives, and training of local shoreline planners on Green Shorelines. I am currently working on a fellowship project summary to share with interested stakeholders.

It is definitely a steep learning curve, but the frequent shoreline site visits, ferry boat rides on Puget Sound, and the motivated people I meet every day give me the energy to tackle this issue. I anticipate the future months of my fellowship to continue to propel me forward in my mission toward Green Shorelines.

Until then…


NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship Matching Workshop


As a recent graduate of Oregon State University’s Marine Resource Management Program and a current NOAA Coastal Management Fellow, I have been asked to provide a description of the NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship program and the matching workshop that was held this past May.

The NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship is administered by the NOAA Coastal Services Center and is a 2 year fellowship where recent postgraduates are placed in state agencies to assist them in a variety of coastal management issues. Each year, state agencies that are responsible for administering their coastal zone programs submit proposals for a fellow. Six of these state agencies are chosen, and then a request is put out for recent postgraduates (or upcoming postgraduates) to apply. Each state’s Sea Grant is responsible for the initial interviews, and then may choose candidates to endorse to the NOAA Coastal Services Center. The Center then narrows the pool down to 12 postgraduate candidates to participate in a matching workshop with the 6 states that won the proposal bid. Whew! But it is not done yet! An intensive week long workshop ensues and 6 of the candidates are matched up with the 6 state projects. I’m here to describe my experience of this fun “American Idol” style workshop.

In May of 2012, NOAA Coastal Services Center flew me out to Charleston, S.C. where I and 10 other fellow candidates stayed in a historic inn in downtown Charleston. The first day was pretty low key for the candidates. Introductions were made and we were able to meet the 6 state mentors, our fellow candidates, some employees of the NOAA Coastal Services Center, and Tridec Technologies employees (the company that NOAA contracts with to pay the fellows). That first afternoon was packed full of state mentors presenting each of their proposed projects. The states were: Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, California, Washington, and the Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands. This was an excellent opportunity to hear more about the projects and for candidates to better gauge their interest levels. It was also interesting to see that a couple of the state mentors were former NOAA Coastal Fellows!

Early the next morning, it was time for each of the candidates to present themselves. All presentations were fun to watch, everyone had a different style, but most presented on their graduate work, extra experiences, and bit of personal flare! That afternoon the candidates participated in a mentor-mentee workshop that was hosted by the center.

Wednesday was an all day marathon of interviews. Each interview was an hour, and you could sign up for as many or as few interviews as you wanted. I chose to interview with all six states, since I didn’t want to limit my options, plus it is a great networking opportunity! All of the week’s activities were hosted in the hotel, so it was very easy to stop by my room for a quick break in between interviews. Some of the interviews were held outside in a courtyard, while others were in the hotel rooms of the mentors. I had a great vibe throughout the process. Each mentor was relaxed and easy to talk to. They made a stressful situation as fun as it could be!

Thursday morning was follow-up interviews to give everyone a chance to address additional questions if needed. In the afternoon, candidates and mentors alike went to the beach for some sun and some fun! It was a great way to relax with fellow candidates and mentors. That evening all of us went out for dinner. Throughout the week candidates often got together for dinners and lunches. Charleston has excellent cuisine! Thursday evening we handed in our rankings. We could rank our top three state choices, and the mentors did the same. Then the Center matches everyone up according to the ranks.

Friday morning we were called down individually for the results. I got my #1 pick and am currently working for the Washington State Department of Ecology! I’m also happy to report that many of the candidates that were not matched at the workshop were able to find jobs that were excellent fits for them by the end of the summer! It was a bright and fun group of people, and I feel lucky to be a part of that group.

The overall experience of the workshop was very positive. Although it was stressful and nerve wracking at times, I felt that the NOAA Coastal Services Center put together a great environment that was inviting and relaxing. The attitudes of the mentors and my fellow candidates were always positive and greatly contributed to the success of the workshop. We joke that it is an “American Idol” type week, because we are all staying in the same hotel, we eat together, make friends, yet in the end we are competing against each other for a prestigious national fellowship. However, the group dynamic was fantastic and it was simply a joy to be around others who have the same passions for marine science, coastal issues, and sustainable management as I do.

For those of you interested in the upcoming NOAA Coastal Fellowship year, here are some links:

I’ve been working at the WA Department of Ecology for 3 months now. All is going well and I will be posting again in the upcoming months to describe a bit more of my project here in Washington!