National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Applauds New Funding to Support Sanctuaries and Address Climate Change

Silver Spring, Md. – June 6, 2023 – Today, the Biden Administration announced $2.6 billion in investments to address coastal climate resilience and protect marine resources through the Inflation Reduction Act. The investments include $30 million for the designation of new national marine sanctuaries that advance the America the Beautiful conservation initiative. Funding will also support facilities and visitor center upgrades at six different sanctuaries to benefit coastal communities. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation released the following statement from Vice President of External Affairs Shannon Colbert:

“As Capitol Hill Ocean Week begins, we applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for investing Inflation Reduction Act funds in the ocean and supporting coastal communities and people on the frontlines of climate change. Our ocean both bears the brunt of climate impacts and holds the key to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Ocean solutions are climate solutions.

“This week, thousands of thought leaders, luminaries, and advocates are coming together for Capitol Hill Ocean Week focused on ‘Ocean x Climate’ to explore the ocean-climate connection, advance ocean climate action, and discuss how we can make ocean conservation part of climate strategies and nationally determined contributions to address climate change. Today’s announcement is a welcome kickoff to these discussions about how we manage our global ocean in the face of climate change to ensure it thrives for future generations.

“Because of the Administration’s leadership in response to the needs of our communities, there are historic opportunities to expand the National Marine Sanctuary System to protect areas vital to Indigenous communities, conserve key habitats and biodiversity hot spots, and strengthen climate resilience through conservation, restoration, and science. This will benefit community-led efforts to designate nationally significant sites for national marine sanctuaries such as Chumash Heritage, Lake Ontario, Hudson Canyon, Papahānaumokuākea, Pacific Remote Islands, and Lake Erie.

“Marine protected areas are one of the most effective tools to safeguard ocean health and the species that call the ocean home, yet only 1.9 percent of waters surrounding the continental U.S. are currently protected.

“Climate change is disproportionately impacting the ocean. The ocean is central to mitigating climate change; it has already absorbed 90 percent of the climate system’s excess heat.  The resulting changes in water temperature, ocean acidification, and deoxygenation alters ocean circulation and chemistry, raises sea levels, increases storm intensity, and changes the diversity and abundance of marine species. These impacts threaten the physical well-being, economic prosperity, and food security of communities along our coasts and across the country, as well as businesses that rely on marine resources and transportation. Climate change weakens marine ecosystems’ ability to provide critical ecological services and natural infrastructure for climate resilience.

“The Foundation supports this historic investment in national marine sanctuaries and in our sanctuary communities that builds climate resilience in our ocean, supports indigenous and tribal priorities for ocean protection, advances environmental justice and equitable access for all, and brings the country closer to reaching its climate goals.”

CHOW 2023: Ocean x Climate will focus on the connection between the ocean and climate change. The CHOW conference agenda with session descriptions for June 7 and 8 at the Ronald Reagan Building is now available on the registration website.

A nationally representative survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation revealed insights into Americans’ opinions on ocean conservation and climate change. The poll shows that Americans of all backgrounds overwhelmingly want the government and businesses to do more to protect the ocean, and over half recognize that climate change is the biggest threat to the diversity of life in our ocean.   Over one-third of respondents who live in coastline counties say they have personally seen the effects of climate change on the ocean and coasts.


The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, established in 2000, is the official non-profit partner of the National Marine Sanctuary System. The Foundation directly supports America’s national marine sanctuaries through our mission to protect species, conserve ecosystems and preserve cultural and maritime heritage. We accomplish our mission through community stewardship and engagement programs, on-the-water conservation projects, public education and outreach programs, and scientific research and exploration. The Foundation fosters innovative projects that are solution-oriented, scalable and transferable, and develop strategic partnerships that promote the conservation and recovery of species and their habitats. Learn more at 


Contact: Chip Weiskotten 

Director of Strategic Communications