CBF Testifies in Support of Key House Bill to Bolster Bay Science, Education, and Restoration

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden today urged the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee to act on bipartisan legislation to support the critical scientific and educational work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Chesapeake Bay Office.

Colden testified in support of the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education, and Ecosystem Enhancement (SEEE) Act. The legislation, H.R. 4770, was introduced in July by Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Rob Wittman (R-Va.), the three co-chairs of the House Chesapeake Bay Task Force, and Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.), who serves as the subcommittee vice-chair.

The bipartisan bill would reauthorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay Office, strengthen the Office’s fisheries research and restoration programs, and authorize the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) program. The bill would also fund the Office through fiscal year 2027. NOAA is part of the Commerce Department.

A Senate companion bill co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was also introduced in July. The bill number is S. 2534.

NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office is an essential member of the federal-state partnership to reduce water pollution, restore habitat, and enhance ecosystem functions in the Bay watershed.

The Office leads ten large-scale oyster restoration projects that offer the best chance of reversing the precipitous decline of native oyster populations and restoring important ecosystem services, like water filtration, that oysters provide. NOAA is currently on track to complete the oyster restoration by the 2025 deadline set in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

The Office manages a critical ocean observation network that tracks meteorological and oceanographic conditions, fish movement, and environmental conditions in the Bay ecosystem. Its scientists are working to better understand how climate change and impacts like warming water temperature affect the Bay, its fish species, and the habitats those species depend on.

The Office also is the federal lead for the Chesapeake B-WET program, which offers students in grades K through 12 the opportunity to learn about the watershed’s diverse habitats through hands-on outdoor education. Chesapeake B-WET has directly reached more than 730,000 students and nearly 30,000 educators since 2002, according to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

CBF Maryland Executive Director Allison Colden issued the following statement about her testimony:

“The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office is essential to restoring the Bay and its waterways, fisheries, and wildlife habitat. It also uses cutting-edge science to advance our understanding of climate change and provides resources and support to educate the next generation of stewards about the wonders of the Bay ecosystem.

“The bipartisan SEEE Act will ensure that the Office continues this vital role. With Bay restoration deadlines approaching and climate change impacts worsening, its work has never been more necessary.

“CBF is proud to support this important bill. We urge the subcommittee to act swiftly to pass it.”

Lisa Caruso 90x110

Lisa Caruso

Washington, D.C. Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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