With vocal support from our many stakeholders, the National Sea Grant College Program was reinstated this past spring in the federal budget for FY2018.The FY18 Appropriations Omnibus Bill was passed by Congress and signed by the President in late March, which is encouraging news for Sea Grant and the many constituents who benefit from our work around the nation. The appropriations bill calls for $65M in base funding for Sea Grant and $11.5M in directed funding for aquaculture research. This appropriation represents the highest level of funding ever provided for Sea Grant and is a testament to broad support for the Sea Grant network across the nation.
However, in its FY2019 budget, the Administration is again seeking to eliminate federal funding for the program.
As you know, for nearly 50 years, Washington Sea Grant has helped people understand, conserve and prosper from our state’s rich marine resources. This work is important because 80 percent of Washington residents live along the state’s 3,000-mile coastline and depend on healthy, productive marine and watershed ecosystems.
Between 2012 and 2016, Washington Sea Grant delivered $61.2 million in services and economic benefits to coastal communities in our state. We accomplished that by engaging and collaborating with nearly half a million coastal residents, scientists, boaters, fishermen, shellfish growers, managers and students. Marine and coastal businesses depend on us to fund important research, provide technical assistance and train new entrants in the state’s maritime workforce. Key program highlights are illustrated in this factsheet.
Washington Sea Grant is one of 33 state Sea Grant programs around our nation’s coastlines, working together to create or sustain more than 7,000 jobs and 3,100 businesses annually, and
each year Sea Grant provides an average return of more than eight dollars for every federal dollar invested. By staying attuned to regional environmental issues and delivering on coastal residents’ needs, these state programs have earned broad-based support that has continued through many cycles of political change in Washington, D.C. In 2016, Within Washington State, Washington Sea Grant reached 12,000 Washington students and served 9,000 fishermen with our services.
Members of the Washington Congressional delegation know the work of Washington Sea Grant and most fully support us. While this is encouraging, the funding process for FY19 is far from complete and it helps if Congressional offices hear from Washington Sea Grant’s partners and constituents.
I encourage you to contact your U.S. Senate and House members directly to let them know about your experience with Washington Sea Grant and express your support for continuing the program. Contact information is below. Let us know if you contact any of the delegation, so we may follow up.
Thank you for your support of Washington Sea Grant. We look forward to continuing to serve you and your community!
Contacting the Washington Delegation
For the House of Representatives, you can find the names of members of Congress and contact information at http://www.house.gov/representatives.
For the Senate, you may search the following site: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm.
Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, helps people and marine life thrive through research, technical expertise and education supporting the responsible use and conservation of coastal ecosystems. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. www.wsg.washington.edu.