This project proposes to investigate the current use of state-owned submerged lands for aquaculture, marinas, and other private objectives; develop an understanding of the legal framework for private use of state-owned submerged lands; and propose ways to use these lands for compensatory mitigation to offset the loss of intertidal and subtidal habitats such as seagrass and mudflats.
A 2021 Hollings intern began this project by collecting information in Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, and Tampa Bay and writing the first draft of a white paper. The 2023 intern will research three additional areas and finalize the white paper, becoming a co-author with the first intern.
For the three focus areas of Chesapeake Bay (MD and VA), Galveston Bay (TX), and Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay (MA):
- By reading documents, visiting websites, and interviewing state land managers, collect information on:
- land use laws or other relevant factors that control use of state-owned submerged lands in the three focus areas
- current use of state-owned intertidal and subtidal lands for aquaculture and marinas (and any other private uses encountered in pursuing this topic).
- Summarize the findings of the research and develop recommendations on how to encourage the use of state-owned submerged lands for compensatory mitigation.
- Using the 2021 draft white paper as a starting point, write a paper summarizing the research and proposing how existing arrangements to use state-owned submerged lands can be adapted to encourage compensatory mitigation on public lands. This paper may be published as a NOAA Technical Memorandum.
- (Optional) Present the paper at the National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference in May of 2024.