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For Immediate Release
March 29, 2016
Contact: Allison Colden
703-524-0248
 

More than 80 Bipartisan Members of Congress Support Funding for Federal Coastal Habitat Restoration Programs

WASHINGTON Last week, Congressman Keating (D-MA), Congresswoman Capps (D-CA) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ) led more than 80 of their colleagues in sending a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees expressing strong support for federal habitat restoration programs.  The letter stresses the critical importance of habitat restoration programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for protecting coastal communities, their economies, and sustainable fisheries.  In the letter, Members ask the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to provide no less than $68.4 million in funding for NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program and Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, programs that directly support community-driven coastal restoration projects to benefit fish, wildlife, and people.

“Preserving the lands and waters along our coasts is critical, not just for the individuals who live and work in these communities, but for all of us,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps. “With such a large percentage of our nation’s residents living near the coasts and countless others who visit these beautiful places for recreation, these areas are also important economic drivers that must be protected. That is why I am a strong supporter of our nation’s coastal protection programs, like the Coastal Habitat Conservation and Protection program within NOAA. Supporting these activities is common sense, and I want to thank all of my colleagues who have joined us in this effort.”

"The smartest, most effective investment we can make in the fight against the impacts of climate change is in our local communities,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “They serve on the front lines of both protecting and restoring our coastal resources and habitats and play a leadership role in driving these efforts forward. I was proud to join Congresswoman Capps in garnering the support of many of our like-minded colleagues in the House who understand this urgency."

"As we continue to confront the realities of a changing climate, we must ensure that we not only reduce our emissions to head off the worst impacts, but also insulate our most vulnerable communities from the changes that are already taking place. Superstorm Sandy served as a stark reminder of the dangers facing our coast from stronger storms and rising seas,” said Senator Menendez. “I'm proud to lead the Senate effort to provide funding for critical programs that not only make our vibrant coastal communities more resilient to future storms and flooding, but also strengthen the ecosystems that these communities depend upon. I commend the work being done by Restore America's Estuaries in this area, and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress to provide robust funding for coastal habitat restoration."

NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program (CBRP) provides funding for collaborative public-private partnerships to carry out coastal habitat restoration. Restoration projects funded by CRBP improve the nation’s degraded habitats, strengthening and revitalizing America’s communities by buffering against storms, safeguarding vital infrastructure, reducing risks to public safety, and providing new recreational opportunities.

NOAA’s Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, established in FY 2015, provide funding for projects that restore healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems to build resilience of coastal communities to extreme weather, sea level rise, and flooding. Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants fund on-the-ground habitat restoration and conservation, providing immediate ecosystem and resilience benefits to coastal communities.

“I commend the co-signers of the House and Senate letters for their strong support and recognition of the critical role coastal ecosystems play in our nation’s environmental and economic livelihood,” said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Recent events like Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated what we stand to lose if proactive measures are not taken to restore coastal habitats that protect coastal communities. Strategic investments in habitat restoration are a win-win – providing habitat for important commercial and recreational fish species, while providing protection and economic value to coastal communities. I thank Congressman Keating, Congresswoman Capps, and Senator Menendez for their continued leadership and support of these critical programs.”

The signed House Dear Colleague letter can be found hereThe Senate Dear Colleague letter can be found here.

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Restore America’s Estuaries is the leader of a national alliance of coastal conservation organizations across the country committed to protecting and restoring the lands and waters essential to the richness and diversity of coastal life. www.estuaries.org.