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Senate Committee Passes Ocean Management Bill

June 14, 2018, 7:41 AM HST (Updated June 14, 2018, 7:41 AM)
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The cliffs near South Point, as seen on day of calm ocean conditions. Photo courtesy of eliduke.

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Commerce, Science and Justice Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2019 on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) worked to include $1 million to preserve Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, more than $36 million to improve tsunami warnings, and nearly $30 million to protect coral reefs in Hawai‘i and across the country.

“We were successful at including more federal funding to help us manage Papahānaumokuākea and protect our coral reefs,” said Sen. Schatz, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “This bill also funds our tsunami warning system so that we can strengthen tsunami forecasting and better protect Hawaiʻi’s coastal communities.”

Key funding in the Commerce, Science, and Justice Appropriations Bill sought by Sen. Schatz includes:

  • $1 million for Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. The bill authorizes NOAA to make a competitive grant of up to $1 million for research and management activities in Papahānaumokuākea. The funding is subject to a 100 percent non-federal match, and will bring new resources to keep our Hawaiian archipelago healthy and productive.
  • $31.6 million for the NOAA Tsunami Program. The program provides funding to coastal states for preparedness activities such as inundation mapping, disaster planning, and tsunami education. Despite deep cuts proposed by President Trump, Sen. Schatz helped protect funding for this critical program.
  • $28.6 million for coral reef conservation. Hawai‘i has some of the country’s largest and healthiest coral reefs, but these unique ecosystems are beginning to experience the effects of climate change, including ocean warming and acidification. These effects threaten the health of coral reefs and the fish that rely on them. Sen. Schatz secured more than $28 million in funding for NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation program, which provides funding to state agencies and community organizations in Hawai‘i and other coastal states to remove invasive species, reduce land-based sources of pollution, and restore fisheries, fishponds and coral reefs.
  • $8 million for Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals and Sea Turtles Protection. Hawaiian monk seals are the only seal species in the world that live in only one nation’s territorial waters. This funding will continue to support monk seal conservation and recovery. Funding will also support sea turtle conservation activities such as interagency consultation and technical assistance on marine turtle by-catch reduction strategies, cooperative conservation actions in the greater Pacific region, marine turtle stock assessments and scientific research projects.
  • $71 million for the National Sea Grant Program. The funding will help support the National Sea Grant Program, including the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program which have contributed to sustainable coastal development and tourism, coastal problem resolution and marine resource stewardship.
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