DC Download: May 2022
Education, education, education! Thank you to the NERRA Board and all of our friends for continuing to educate their members of congress about what happens at each Reserve. Given that the Administration is proposing to cut the NERRS budget, we all must promote the work being done at our Reserves and in NOAA OCM.
Last week in DC, NERRA Board members met with congressional staff and NERRA held a joint briefing with our Coastal States Organization (CSO) colleagues for the legislative Sea Grant Fellows. NERRA President Keith Laakkonen submitted a testimony on the NERRS to the House; one is going to the Senate soon. NERRA once again joined with our NOAA National Ocean Service Roundtable Partners (CSOl, Integrated Ocean Observing System Association, National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, and the Sea Grant Association) in submitting a joint Outside Witness Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee, which requests funding for all programs.
In addition to funding bills, Congress is exploring how to update the 50-year-old CZMA. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee Majority Staff released a discussion draft of the CZMA Reauthorization. In the House, Representatives Levin (CA) and Mast (FL) introduced the bi-partisan Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act, which would update the CZMA, include additional funding for the NERRS and land conservation, and require five new Reserves to be designated in five years.
It’s exciting to see this support for the CZMA! Just as Reserves protect people and places, we need a robust, updated CZMA to protect Reserves. However, this activity makes our own outreach on behalf of our System time sensitive and critical.
If you have not already, please reach back out to your members of Congress, applauding all member efforts to update the CZMA and asking them to support NERRA’s request for the NERRS FY2023 budget. Supply them with this breakdown of how the $42.5 million would be spent and NERRA’s response to the President’s budget. And perhaps most importantly, help them understand how many people are reached and helped by your Reserve and its programs.