In early March, sanctuary community leaders from across the nation called their elected officials and met with Members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill. These grassroots efforts underscore the value of marine sanctuaries and the need to conserve areas of national significance in our oceans and Great Lakes, to advance scientific research and citizen science, and to support public education and community engagement to allow more children to learn about America’s rich natural and cultural history.
As a result, 92 Members from the U.S. House of Representatives signed onto a bipartisan letter led by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R, FL-26) and Jared Huffman (D, CA-2) to the House Appropriations Committee in support of investments in national marine sanctuaries.
On March 6 and 7, the Foundation hosted our annual Capitol Hill Marine Sanctuary Fly In to bring local sanctuary leaders to DC and coordinated meetings with Members of Congress and NOAA leadership to discuss the importance of America’s national marine sanctuaries for supporting the blue economy, restoration and resilience; highlight the community efforts to grow the sanctuary system, and the importance of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
For Fiscal Year 2019, the Foundation and our sanctuary communities are urging Congress to prioritize public investment in national marine sanctuaries at no less than $65.5 million. This request would provide the resources needed to:
- Strengthen community engagement and support the groundswell of community interest to expand sanctuaries, or nominate and designate new ones;
- Utilize new technologies, improve cooperative research, and boost outreach and education efforts that empowers Americans to explore “under the surface” of these iconic places; and
- Promote tourism and recreation growth, improve sanctuary visitor experience at key sites, and enhance critical partnerships that make a difference in our communities.
Thank you to all our marine sanctuary supporters for raising your voice and urging Congress to prioritize investment in national marine sanctuaries!