Senators Urge Support of Sea Grant

A group of 27 U.S. Senators from coastal states wrote a letter to Senators Jerry Moran and Jeanne Shaheen, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting that they continue to fund the National Sea Grant College program. Under President Trump’s proposed budget, the program would be eliminated.

The appropriations committee included an increase for the program in FY 2019. The Senators are requesting support to maintain the current funding level of $80 million.

In addition, on April 30, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA), chair of the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, introduced the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the National Sea Grant College Program through 2025. The legislation would also change reporting requirements to better reflect agency needs; and clarify the Sea Grant fellowship program to increase benefits to fellows and host offices

Sea Grant’s work supports waterfront and maritime businesses and, in many states, includes Clean Marina programs, as well as research on resiliency, preservation of coastline habitat, sustainable fishing and ecosystem-based management.

The Senators highlighted that the federal investment in Sea Grant yields $579 million in economic benefit or a 793 percent return on federal investment. The programs sustain 2,500 local businesses and 12,500 jobs.

Data from 2017 shows that Sea Grant assisted 462 communities in improving coastal resiliency and helped preserve or protect 710,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Last year, through its education programs, Sea Grant reached 798,000 K-12 students.