Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2018

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation wrapped up Capitol Hill Ocean Week, concluding three days of deep dives on the most pertinent ocean science, policy and conservation issues. 16 panels, including a keynote address by NOAA’s RDML Gallaudet, delved into our changing ocean, working together for sustainable waters, and  the exploration of marine ecosystems. To see recordings of the mainstage plenary sessions, you can visit


CHOW 2018 was the Foundation’s biggest event yet! With more than 700 in-person attendees and additional participants watching the live-stream of our main-stage plenaries. As always, we are appreciative of our sponsors, particularly NOAA, The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Henry Foundation, The Philip Stephenson Foundation, and The Walton Family Foundation, who make this free event possible.


Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

Mayoral Proclamation for DC Ocean Week

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser officially declared June 3-9 “DC Ocean Week” to coincide with Capitol Hill Ocean Week and National Oceans Month. Julie Lawson, Director of the DC Mayor’s Office of the Clean City, presented the Foundation’s CEO, Kris Sarri, with an official proclamation at the start of CHOW on June 3.


Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

Coral Reef Conservation

Representative Madeline Bordallo of Guam introduced the reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act (HR 5996). If passed, this bill would increase funding and protections for coral reefs across the United States and its territories. The bill included 13 bipartisan co-sponsors.

Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki

The Value of Protected Places

Moderators Dr. Tracey Rouleau and Steven Roady launched the publication of their scientific paper on the benefits of marine protected areas in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science. Their paper underscored the importance of current, science-based, boundaries and protections of existing Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries, and highlights marine protected areas’ roles in the US economy, cultural identity and biodiversity.


Understanding Ocean Acidification

Following conversations during in the “Predicting, Detecting, and Preparing for Increasing Acidification” panel, Congresswoman Bonamici and Congressmen Young and Posey introduced HR 6267 to amend the Federal Ocean Acidification and Monitoring Act (FOARAM) at the end of June. The bill aims to strengthen investments in ocean and coastal acidification research and monitoring, increase understanding of the socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification, and establish an Advisory Board to increase coordination among stakeholders.



Ocean Awards Gala

More than 500 attendees dined on a sustainable seafood dinner, prepared by Chef Xavier Deshayes as the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation honored individuals and groups who’ve made significant contributions to ocean conservation at the 16th annual Ocean Awards Gala. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation received the Lifetime Achievement Award for their decades-long contributions to science, technology, education and conservation projects. Additionally, the BBC received the first-ever Conservation Innovation Award for their critically-acclaimed series, Blue Planet II. And finally, Captain Will Benson of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was named Volunteer of the Year for his work establishing the Blue Star Fishing Guides program.

Photo: ImageLink Photography


First-Ever Hill Day

Following the two-day conference, CHOW attendees brought their conversation to the lawmakers of Capitol Hill for the Foundation’s first-ever Hill Day. The day included a breakfast briefing by hill staffers and a messaging workshop from our friends at Compass. In the afternoon, hill staff were briefed on emerging opportunities for partnerships in the Blue Economy, and the day concluded with a celebratory reception. Hill Day was generously supported by Gorton’s Seafood, the Ocean Caucus Foundation and the Philip Stephenson Foundation.

Photo credit: Brendan Kownacki