NOAA Makes A Splash On Capitol Hill

- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Celebrates “NOAA Knows Climate Day”-

May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and its Chairman, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, celebrates “NOAA Knows Climate Day”, the third annual NOAA Day on Capitol Hill.  NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, oversees everything from climate monitoring, to daily weather forecasts, to severe storm warnings, fisheries management, coastal restoration, and marine commerce.

“Today we recognize the incredible work NOAA does to conserve and protect one of America’s most amazing natural wonders – our oceans,” Rockefeller said. “Millions of Americans rely on our marine and coastal resources for their daily livelihood.  I wholeheartedly believe that we must enact 21st century legislation that will strengthen and improve our coastal, marine and scientific programs and benefit all future generations in the years to come.”

Committee Legislation In Markup Today - Background

The Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee will mark up three bills at the Committee’s Executive Session today:

•    Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary – This bill would expand the boundaries of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve in Michigan, the first and only Great Lakes sanctuary.  The expanded boundaries would protect over 4,000 square miles and protect an estimated 178 additional shipwrecks along with the remains of commercial fishing sites, historic docks, and other underwater archaeological sites.  

•    Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries Boundary Modification and Protection Act – This bill would expand the boundaries of California’s Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries to add approximately 1,500 square nautical miles and the boundaries of Cordell Banks NMS to add 572 square nautical miles.  This area would protect one of the most biologically productive regions in the world, comprising only one percent of the world’s ocean but producing 20 percent of its fish.  The Sanctuaries and expansion areas support numerous marine mammal, bird, and fish species.  

•    The Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Amendments Act of 2009 – This bill would reauthorize and strengthen the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. This bill would provide funding for organizations to respond, treat, and collect data on stranded and entangled marine life and to fund scientific research. Between 2001 and 2008, the Prescott Grant Program assisted over 300 projects aimed at improving stranding response and our understanding of marine mammal health.