Marine Debris Removal Grant Opportunity

The NOAA Marine Debris Program supports the development and implementation of locally-driven, marine debris prevention, assessment, and removal projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and NOAA trust resources. Projects awarded through this grant competition will create long-term, quantifiable ecological benefits and habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources through on-the-ground marine debris removal activities, with highest priority for those targeting derelict fishing gear and other medium- and large-scale debris. Projects should also foster awareness of the effects of marine debris to further the conservation of living marine resource habitats, and contribute to the understanding of marine debris composition, distribution and impacts. Successful proposals through this solicitation will be funded through cooperative agreements. Funding of up to $2,500,000 is expected to be available for Marine Debris Removal grants in Fiscal Year 2020. The typical funding level for the federal share of project awards ranges from $50,000 to $150,000. Application deadline is Dec., 4, 2019.

For additional information and to apply, visit:

Natural Hazards Mitigation and Risk Reduction Survey

Natural Hazards Mitigation and Risk Reduction Survey

A partnership of agencies, non-profits, academic institutions, and policy advisory groups are working to collectively expand resources and capacity to better support community resilience initiatives. The purpose of this survey is to gather examples of natural hazard risk reduction projects from marine, estuarine, and riverine shorelines. 

Building Social Capital

Grays Harbor County has been experiencing some unfortunate trends that need to be addressed, and can, through increasing social capital. Between 2010 and 2015 (the most recent data available), the county experienced a decrease in total population.

Grays Harbor County Population Change, 2010 to 2015

Figure 1: Grays Harbor County population change between 2010 and 2015. Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table DP05.

However, looking more closely at these numbers reveals how the population is changing. The region has been experiencing a declining population for those under the age of 65, but people over the age of 65 continue to move into the region. It's great that as people exit their working years they have identified Grays Harbor as a great place to settle into retirement, but we need to make sure that there are opportunities for people that still require good jobs to support their families.

Population Change by Age Group, 2010 to 2015

Figure 2: Population change by age group between 2010 and 2015. Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table DP05.

Employment has held fairly steady, but there has been a structural shift as more people are employed in the services industry. In 2015, service jobs paid, on average, $17,634 (2016$) less than non-service jobs in the region.

Table 1: Non-service jobs, service jobs, and total jobs in Grays Harbor County for the years 2010 and 2015 and their difference. Source: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Accounts, Table CA25N.

2010 2015 Change
Non-Service Jobs
6,586 6,029 -557
Service Jobs
16,791 17,550 759
Total Jobs
29,846 29,864 18

Average Annual Wages (2016$)

Figure 3: Average annual wage (2016$) by industry. Source: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, 2016.

Between 2010 and 2015 wage and salary employment (full and part-time) decreased by 68 jobs while the number of proprietors in the region has increased by 86 jobs.

Table 2: Wage and salary jobs and proprietorship in Grays Harbor County from 2010 to 2015. Source: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Accounts, Table CA30.

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Wage & Salary Jobs
23,580 23,339 23,784 23,421 23,521 23,512
Proprietors 6,266 6,326 6,124 6,149 6,162 6,352

The decline in the working age population, decline in higher-paying non-service jobs, increase in lower paying service jobs, and increase in proprietors all indicate that the region could benefit from increased social capital. Let's take a closer look at what social capital means and how it can help.

Social capital is defined as a social network that has an underlying trust and is built on reciprocity. Increased social capital can lower crime rates (Halpern 1999, Putnam 2000), lead to better health (Wilkinson 1996), improve longevity (Putnam 2000), lead to better educational achievement (Coleman 1988), create greater income equality (Wilkinson 1996, Kawachi et al. 1997), improve child welfare and lower rates of child abuse (Cote and Healy 2001), lead to less corruption and a more effective government (Putnam 1995), and enhance economic achievement through increased trust and lower transaction costs (Fukuyama 1995). The cumulative effect of which creates a place where people want to live.

So how can we increase social capital? There are lots of ways, but let's focus on just one for a moment, a young professionals and entrepreneurs (YPE) group. A YPE group targets the very demographics that Grays Harbor is struggling to retain. These are young, working adults that are starting to have families. Additionally, trends suggest that they are more likely to work in the service industry and to be a proprietor. A YPE group creates opportunities for young people to socialize, meet people they wouldn't have otherwise, explore places they would have never gone, and build a community with strong local relationships.

As an economist with Washington Sea Grant, I am focused on building resilient coastal communities. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a disturbance. When we think of resilience we tend to equate it with ecological resilience, but this includes social resilience as well. Increasing social capital through network building in the community results in a more resilient community. I have created a new YPE group called Harbor Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) in an effort to retain young professionals in the region through programs that build social networks and ties to the community. HYPE seeks to fill this need in the community and to create a more economically resilient coastal community.


Coleman, J. (1988) Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital. American Journal of
Sociology 94 Supplement S95-S120. University of Chicago.

Cote S, Healy, T. (2001) The Well-being of Nations. The role of human and social capital.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.

Fukuyama, F. (2000) Social Capital and Civil Society. International Monetary Fund Working Paper WP/00/74.

Halpern, D. (1999) Social capital: the new golden goose. Faculty of Social and Political
Sciences, Cambridge University.

Kawachi, I. Kennedy, B. Lochner, K. Prothrow-Stith, D. (1997) Social Capital, Income
Inequality, and Mortality.
American Journal of Public Health 87 (9) 1491-1498.

Putnam, R (1995) Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy 6 (1) 65-78.

Putnam, R. (2000) Bowling Alone - The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Wilkinson, R. (1996) Unhealthy Societies: the afflictions of inequality. London: Routledge.

Surfrider Leadership Academy

2016 Surfrider Leadership Academy Participants

2016 Surfrider Leadership Academy Participants


Program website

Surfrider Leadership Academy Nomination Form

Surfrider Leadership Academy Application Form

The 2017 Surfrider Leadership Academy is officially accepting nominations. Nominations must be completed by July 27th.

Effective leadership today is about who can mobilize a network to act. This requires leaders to tap into a deep sense of self-awareness, as well as understanding how to effectively network and build the larger movement. This leadership program will facilitate a cohort of coastal leaders to develop self-awareness of themselves as leaders, as well as networking and movement building skills through immersive, in-person retreats and virtual training sessions.

The program is designed to develop strong bonds among cohort members as well as provide time and space for reflection and learning through three retreats and three virtual trainings, including a final session to share outcomes. Along with developing specific skills, the program will also tap into participants’ experiences to facilitate sharing of best practices learned through working in respective industries, coastal areas, and communities.

Over the course of six months, participants will work with their cohort to develop essential skills, build deep relationships, and better understand the power of today’s collective leadership.


To be considered for selection, candidates must be nominated to or apply for the program. All candidates must be able to participate in 100% of in-person and virtual program activities. The qualifications for candidates are:

1.     Either an emerging or experienced leader with:

a.     A track record of leadership and/or community service

b.     A dedication to conservation of coastal resources

2.     Demonstrated interest in and commitment to the Washington coast

3.     Ability to participate in all in-person and virtual activities over the six months


• Experienced leaders

• Hard skills training

• Mentorship for emerging leaders

• Retreat experience, including reflection and restoration

• Emerging leaders

• Hard skills training

• Resume building via exclusive program

• Networking with community leaders



Please contact Casey Dennehy at