DC Download: March 2023

Mar 30, 2023

With 84 new members in Congress, education is key. We thank the NERRA Board and all friends for continuing to share what happens at Reserves with members of Congress. This year, just like every year, we must promote Reserves and OCM to ensure the NERRS FY 2024 operations budget increases to match our System’s growth as we welcome Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Reserve. If Congress doesn’t increase our budget, Reserves and programs that support us will likely face cuts.

Last week in DC, board members met with congressional staff from their states, and NERRA co-hosted two joint briefings on Capitol Hill. The first focused on the importance of the community resilience and acquisition projects that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Thanks to panel moderator Caitlin Chaffee, manager of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Reserve, and Jace Tunnell, director of Texas’ Mission-Aransas Reserve and NERRA president, who presented.

Caitlin Chaffee joined Jace Tunnel (second from right) and colleagues from Alabama and Washington in a conversation about natural infrastructure and resilience.

The Congressional Estuaries Caucus sponsored the second briefing, with leadership from Representatives Bonamici (OR), Posey (FL), Larsen (WA), and Mast (FL). Jude Apple, Manager of the Padilla Bay Reserve, presented. In the new 118th Congress, NERRA, and our partners at RAE and ANEP, are excited for the reignition of this caucus! We hope it will be instrumental in educating congressional members about the importance of estuaries and the work of Reserves and partners.

Thank you to Congressional Estuaries Caucus Co-Chairs Suzanne Bonamichi (WA) and Bill Posey (FL) for keeping estuaries front and center in the 118th Congress.

The House of Representatives has begun hearings on the FY 2024 budget. We expect the Senate will begin writing its budget bills soon. Whether it’s hosting a site visit, tagging a congressional member on social media, or writing a letter of support to an elected official, every effort you make now and throughout the year is vital. And as you share the good work happening at your Reserve and throughout the NERRS, please keep in mind NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY 2024 budget: $47M for operations (ORF) and $10M for PAC.

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DC DownloadDC Download: March 2023