Earlier today, the Biden administration released their topline budget numbers for agencies across the federal government, and if you’re a fan of taking action on climate change, supporting our local ocean, coastal and Great Lakes communities and businesses, or if you just love marine mammals, this budget is as good as it gets. Under the Biden Budget Blueprint, the Biden administration is proposing to increase the budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to a record-setting $6.9 billion dollars for the fiscal year 2022.
In his first months in office, President Biden has made climate change a central component of his agenda, working to make sure America transitions to a clean energy economy, that our coastal communities can build resiliency to sea-level rise and increased severe weather events and that we prioritize ocean-based climate solutions for the communities, businesses and wildlife that depend on our ocean and coasts. The budget proposal for NOAA, as well as other federal agencies throughout our government, shows that the administration is serious when it comes to addressing the challenges that we are facing today.
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NOAA is front and center as we work to make sure our local communities have the data and resources they need to understand climate change and take action to protect themselves and the species that call our ocean and coasts home. And this includes providing critical services to communities in every part of the country. In Utqiagvik, Alaska, NOAA researchers facilitated a shoreline community monitoring effort to help the community better prepare for flooding and storm events. On the East Coast, NOAA partnered with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to provide tools for vulnerability evaluations of fishing communities to climate change. In Gary, Indiana, NOAA worked with the city to launch a pilot program that evaluates the vulnerability of infrastructure to weather and climate impacts. This project was so successful that the model is being expanded to 110 cities across the Great Lakes region.
NOAA also provides the essential daily services that all our communities rely upon. When you listen to the weather forecast for the week, NOAA was involved with the data collection, processing and modeling that is needed for accurate and timely weather forecasts. If you ever wondered when high tide was at your local beach, or if you ever enjoyed seafood for dinner, NOAA was involved. From weather forecasts to tidal measurements, to sustainable fisheries management, NOAA provides the data, services, expertise and resources to manage our ocean and coasts sustainably.
All of these vital services that NOAA provides require funding, however, and that’s why increasing NOAA’s budget to $6.9 billion would be an incredible victory for our ocean, coastal and Great Lakes communities. It would also be a great victory for our ocean and the wildlife that depend on it. More funding for NOAA means more funding for local organizations, like the Clearwater Aquarium, to protect sea turtles for future generations. Increased funding would also help us better understand, manage and protect our most wild ocean habitats, like the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Papahānaumokuākea.
While the President’s budget is a great step forward for our ocean, coasts and Great Lakes, Congress is ultimately the decider of how much funding our agencies receive. It is now Congress that has the opportunity to show the same level of ambition as the Biden administration. And that’s where we need your help. Congress needs to hear from you that NOAA and the service they provide for our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are too important to pass up. Tell Congress to fund NOAA at the historic levels proposed by the Biden administration!
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