An Updated Message from the Director of Florida Sea Grant

Dear readers,

On May 23, 2017,  the final version of the President’s budget was released, and as expected, the funding for Sea Grant is eliminated, along with funding for the National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Coastal Zone Management Program and many other programs that provide critical services to the US coastal economy and environment.

We appreciate that many of you have helped before and ask that where possible, you again contact your local member of Congress with a call or letter voicing support for full funding of the National Sea Grant College program in FY 2018. At the bottom of this post, we have provided a template letter that can be sent to representatives. 

Sea Grant has very strong bipartisan support in Congress; however with so many programs having a zero budget, we cannot take anything for granted and need to continue to talk to the decision-makers about the critical natural of this program to students, universities, communities, coastal businesses and our environment.

Here is the language from the FY18 President’s budget.

National Sea Grant College Program:
Terminate the National Sea Grant College Program (Base Funding $72,940,000 and 14 FTE;
Program Change: -72,940,000 and -14 FTE):
NOAA requests a decrease of $72,940,000 and 0 FTE for a total of $0 and 0 FTE to terminate the National Sea Grant College Program Base and the Marine Aquaculture Program.

Proposed Actions:

NOAA’s budget proposes to terminate the National Sea Grant College Program and dismantle the network of 33 Sea Grant programs located in coastal States and territories. With the termination of the NOAA Sea Grant Program, NOAA will explore a range of options to address staffing; including transfers, Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) and other options will be requested and/or explored.

Additionally, more than 3,000 scientists, researchers, students, and outreach experts from more than over 300 institutions will lose support from NOAA’s Sea Grant funding.

NOAA will also terminate the Sea Grant’s Marine Aquaculture Program.

Resource Assessment:

As a result of this termination, support will be withdrawn for the larger cross-NOAA Aquaculture Program, impacting aquaculture partners in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the National Ocean Service (NOS), as well as state partnerships with fisheries managers, seafood processors, fishing associations, maritime-related business, and consumer groups.

National Sea Grant College Program Changes: National Sea Grant College Program and Marine Aquaculture Program

PPA: National Sea Grant College Program
PPA: Marine Aquaculture Program
Base: $63,951,000 and 13 FTE
Base: $8,989,000 and 1 FTE
Program Change: -$63,951,000 and -13 FTE
Program Change: -$8,989,000 and -1 FTE

Thank you, 
Karl Havens

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Template for Letters to Representatives

For the House of Representatives you can easily search for names of members of Congress and contact information here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/

For the Senate you can search here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Dear Senator ___________ OR
Dear Representative _________________

I am writing to urge you to fully fund the National Sea Grant College Program in FY 2018 at $80 million. 

Sea Grant is a cost effective, competitive, merit-based partnership program that helps local, state, and regional ocean and coastal entities address economic and environmental challenges through research, extension, and education. The federal funding provided by Sea Grant is matched with other non-federal resources and 95% of all federal funding leaves Washington, D.C. to fund research and other activities that assist coastal businesses and communities in addressing critical issues affecting their economies and environments.

[Insert personalized text here reflecting your perspectives about the program as you have experienced it in Florida]

On the national scale, in 2015-16 the Sea Grant program helped generate an estimated $575 million in economic impacts; created or sustained nearly 21,000 jobs; provided 33 state-level programs and 534 communities with technical assistance on sustainable development practices; worked with about 1300 industry, local, state and regional partners; and supported the education and training of almost 2000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Sea Grant program achieved this with a Congressional appropriation in FY 2016 of $73 million, which, as mentioned previously, is leveraged with matching funds provided by states, universities, and other sources.

We urge you to fully fund Sea Grant and continue this valuable Federal – State – Local partnership program.

Attached is some additional information on the Sea Grant program in our state [you can use the PDF included in this post]. Thank you for your attention and support on these important matters.

Sincerely,

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