DC Download: July 2021

DC Download: July 2021

The House Appropriations Committee passed their FY2022 appropriations bill on July 15th. It included $30.5M for NERRS Operations (a $2M increase from FY2021) and $4M for NERRS PAC (a $500k decrease from FY2021). The bill’s report endorsed the NERRS, saying, “The Committee strongly supports this important partnership between NOAA and the coastal States and territories that protects and studies estuarine systems and encourages the continued expansion of the network.”

In August, members of Congress will return to their home states and districts to meet with constituents. This annual recess (8/2 through 8/20) is a critical time for Reserves and Friends to demonstrate the value and significance of our special places. NERRA urges every Reserve and Friend group to make a personal invitation to members and staff of their congressional delegations during this recess period.

Just ahead, it is expected that the Senate will take up their appropriations bill after the August recess, and NERRA will again ask for your help in pushing for funding support for the NERRS. Thank you for all you do.

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DC Download: June 2021

DC Download: June 2021

These are exciting times! The Administration has requested a $42.5 million for the NERRS Operations (ORF) budget for FY 2022— that’s a $14 million increase over FY2021! NERRA is proud to support this vote of confidence in our national System, and it’s critical for Congress to hear that you do, too. If you haven’t already, please reach out to your members of Congress via email with our revised funding request and the companion informational sheet by June 30th at the latest. It can be simple, as in these madlib emails.

Kudos to Brandon Puckett from the North Carolina Reserve for his presentation on living shorelines at the recent Estuary Caucus Briefing. Also, a big NERRA thank you to our friends at Restore America’s Estuaries and the Association of National Estuaries Programs for helping to coordinate this event and promote a revised FY2022 budget request for coastal and ocean programs in the Senate and the House.

You may have heard that Dr. Rick Spinrad has been confirmed as NOAA’s 11th administrator. With his four decades of ocean, atmosphere, and climate science and policy expertise, Dr. Spinrad is the ideal leader to take NOAA’s helm at this critical moment. He also has considerable knowledge of the NERRS and other NOAA-sponsored coastal programs. Congratulations, Dr. Spinrad!

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DC Download: May 2021

DC Download: May 2021

We expect details for the Administration’s budget blueprint to be released on May 29th. We don’t know what their request for NERRS funding will be, but the overall budget is the largest ever proposed by an administration—$6.9 billion for NOAA, with at least $800 million for climate programs.  

NERRA continues to take advantage of opportunities to communicate NERRS value in DC. NERRA President Keith Laakkonen submitted a testimony focused on the NERRS to the House (going to the Senate soon). In response to a NOAA request, NERRA provided recommendations to the administration with regard to Executive Order 14008: tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.

NOAA and other federal partners released Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, a roadmap for locally-led efforts to conserve at least 30% of lands and waters by 2030. The report recognizes the NERRS as an important element of the initiative, which mentioned the new designations underway to expand our System! 

Thanks, as always, to everyone who is doing their part to raise awareness of the NERRS in Congress during this critical time. If you have not already, please reach out to your members of Congress and ask them to support NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY2022 budget. NERRA created this letter template to help, and you’ll find contact information for congressional staff here.

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DC Download: April 2021

DC Download: April 2021

Appropriations season is in full swing, as the Senate and the House continue to conduct meetings with constituents, take in written correspondence, and consider funding proposals. Thanks to everyone who has brought their Reserve to DC during this critical time. If you haven’t already, it’s not too late! We encourage the NERRA board, Reserve friends, and volunteers to reach out to your members of Congress and ask them to support NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY2022 budget. NERRA created this letter template to help, and you’ll find contact information for congressional staff here

NERRA has been active with Hill visits and other congressional outreach. NERRA President Keith Laakkonen presented at a coastal roundtable congressional briefing, focused on the value of coastal management partnerships. The event was co-hosted by NERRA, the Coastal States Organization, the Integrated Ocean Observing System Association, the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, and the Sea Grant Association. NERRA also hosted a legislative Sea Grant Fellows briefing that included a spotlight on our fellows with presentations from NERRA Digital Coast Fellow, Mary Schoell, and the San Francisco Bay Reserve’s Margaret A. Davidson Fellow, Julie Gonzalez. 

NERRA again joined with our NOAA National Ocean Service  Roundtable Partners in submitting a joint Outside Witness Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee that requests funding for all programs. A NERRA testimony focused on only the NERRS was sent by NERRA President Keith Laakkonen.

The Administration released its budget blueprint on April 9th. We still do not know what the request for NERRS funding will be, but the budget provides for $6.9 billion for NOAA, with at least $800 million allocated to climate programs. In an effort to keep a focus on the people Reserves serve and the national impact of NERRS research, NERRA President Keith Laakkonen, past President Cory Riley, and Executive Director Rebecca Roth met with the Office of Management and Budget.

Bi-partisan legislation supported by NERRA, Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act, was introduced on Earth Day by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR) and co-led by Representatives Bill Posey (FL), Don Beyer (VA), and Brian Mast (FL). NERRA board member Tonna-Marie Surgeon-Rogers presented at a congressional briefing Blue Carbon: A Nature-Based Solution for Climate and Coastal Communities, which was hosted by US Climate Action Week and Restore America’s Estuaries.

DC Download: March 2021

DC Download: March 2021

NERRA has taken to the hill virtually, as board members have zoom meetings with Congressional staff. The opportunity to share videos and photos—and engage Reserve sector leads—have made these meetings more engaging than in-person visits. Thanks to everyone who has brought their Reserve to DC!

As Congress and the Biden Administration sharpen their focus on 30 by 30, climate change, social and racial equity, and economic recovery, NERRA Executive Director Rebecca Roth and President Keith Laakkonen are helping to educate them about the NERRS and the powerful work we do locally and as a national network.  

In addition to meetings with political appointees in NOAA and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, NERRA led a meeting with other national NGOs that support coastal and ocean programs to show how we partner to help communities be more resilient with the Office of Management and Budget.

In the House, we are applauding Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (OR) and Bill Posey (FL) for leading a bipartisan call for a $10 billion investment in coastal restoration jobs in the next recovery package for coastal restoration and resilience projects.

As we continue these efforts, your voice is more important than ever. Thank you to NERRA board members, Reserve friends and volunteers who have reached out to your members of Congress, asking them to support NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY2022 budget so your Reserve can further its work to make your community more resilient. If you have not had a chance, NERRA created this letter template to help you get started, and you will find contact information for congressional staff here.

Given that outdoor public lands and waters are treasured more than ever as we maintain our social distance, let’s connect DC to our beautiful Reserves by putting photos and video links in the letter. Or invite them and their staff on an outdoor, COVID-safe visit!

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DC Download: February 2021

DC Download: February 2021

Photo credit: Valerie Hinojosa.

Reserves serve their states and communities by striving to be Resilient Ready Reserves. Between now and mid-April, NERRA is asking all Reserve friends and fans to reach out to your members of Congress with a letter or email that….

  • Tells them how your Reserve makes a difference in your community 
  • Asks them to support NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY2022 budget so your Reserve can further the work it does to make your community more resilient through stewardship, education, training, monitoring, and research
  • Reminds them to put the NERRS on their list of programs they want funded

NERRA created this letter template to help you get started, and you will find contact information for congressional staff here. Given that outdoor public lands and waters are treasured more than ever as we maintain our social distance, let’s connect DC to our beautiful Reserves by putting photos and video links in the letter. Or invite them on an outdoor, COVID-safe visit!

Also in February, NERRA, the Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) and Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) collectively spread the estuary love in asking the leaders of the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and House to support our budgets. Thanks to all of you—together we reached more than 40,000 people with #IHeartEstuaries!

DC Download