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.