Congress Recognizes National Estuaries Weeks Showing Bipartisan Support for our Coasts 

By Daniel Hayden and Naomi Hill

 


In 1988 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration founded National Estuaries Day to promote the importance and protection of estuaries. Since then, the national recognition of these vital ecosystems has grown into a week-long celebration. 

National Estuaries Week is dedicated to engaging community members and elected officials to help educate, inspire, and raise awareness for the ecological and economic value of our coastal habitats both online and through events held around the country.  

Recognizing the importance of federal support in the success of National Estuaries Week, Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE), in partnership with the Association of National Estuary Programs (ANEP) and the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA) and other organizations, has led an annual effort to introduce a Congressional resolution designating the event on a federal level. 

This year’s resolution was introduced by the Co-Chair of the House Estuary Caucus Representative Bill Posey (R-FL-8) as H. Res. 655, and supported by the entire Caucus leadership including Rep. Bonamici (D-OR-1), Re. Larsen (D-WA-2), and Rep. Mast (R-FL-18)  (joint statement).  Since its introduction, the resolution has garnered 13 bipartisan cosponsors across 8 different states and has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. 

Representative Posey shared the importance of estuaries to his community in a press release when stating “our Indian River Lagoon is important to our quality of life, our local economies, tourism, and it provides a critical habitat to many indigenous species of wildlife and plant life”. Rep. Posey and the cosponsors recognize “the vital role estuaries play in our communities and economies.”  

The resolution was also introduced by the Co-Chair of the Senate Ocean Caucus, Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island, as S. Res. 374. The Senate resolution has 17 co-sponsors from 12 states and was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary where it is currently awaiting action.  

“Restore America’s Estuaries is exited with the ongoing bipartisan support in the House and the Senate for National Estuaries Week and what it represents.  This week helps to bring focus to estuary regions that provide critical habitat and recreation opportunities, mitigate climate change, all while protecting us from floods and storm surges,” says Daniel Hayden, President of Restore America’s Estuaries. 

The resolution highlights large-scale economic contributions of U.S. estuary and coastal regions including job creation, employment, and economic output along with the important role of estuaries as fish hatcheries and habitat for migratory birds.  Our estuaries and coastal communities depend on the continued protection and investment by federal, state and local partners.

Citing historical legislation passed by Congress like the Clean Water Act and Coastal Zone Management Act, the resolution draws on the previous successes of federal government’s role in the protection and restoration of water and coastal systems. Policies such as these have contributed to the protection of our coasts and coastal communities, and can act as the foundation for further actions to protect water quality, recreational opportunities and mitigate climate change. 

RAE would like to thank the support from all of our Congressional sponsors and cosponsors who are leading the way for this important resolution: 

 

Senate

Sen. Whitehouse, RI 

Sen. Markey, MA 

Sen. Warner, VA 

Sen. Booker, NJ 

Sen. King, ME 

Sen. Coons, DE 

Sen. Reed, RI 

Sen. Hassan, NH 

Sen. Murphy, CT 

Sen. Kaine, VA 

Sen. Blumenthal, CT 

Sen. Van Hollen, MD 

Sen. Merkley, OR 

Sen. Hirono, HI 

Sen. Shaheen, NH 

Sen. Cardin, MD 

Sen. Baldwin, WI 

Sen. Wyden, OR 

 

House of Representatives