July 23, 2013

Reed & Whitehouse Announce $2.2 Million to Help Preserve and Protect Rhode Island’s Coastal Waters

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to help protect Rhode Island’s coastal resources, U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced over $2.2 million in federal funding for two Ocean State conservation programs.  The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) will receive $1.268 million to help administer Rhode Island’s Coastal Management Program, which works to balance the economic, environmental, and recreational demands on Rhode Island’s coastal areas.  The Rhode Island Sea Grant will receive $975,000 through the Sea Grant College Program to continue its role as a leader in coastal and ocean planning, climate change adaption, fisheries and other ocean research.  The grants are administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“This federal funding will help protect the environment and bolster Rhode Island’s economy.  I am pleased to have helped secure this federal funding to help the state respond to the increasing demands on our coastal resources.  I commend the staff of the CRMC for its commitment to using smart planning to conserve coastal habitats and natural resources for future generations,” said Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, which oversees federal spending on NOAA programs.  “With its affiliation with URI and its Graduate School of Oceanography, as well as Roger Williams University , Rhode Island Sea Grant has been a vital resource in strengthening our coastal communities, meeting the challenge of climate change, and planning for new opportunities such as offshore wind energy development.  Both CRMC and Rhode Island Sea Grant also deserve great credit for using their resources to collaborate on research and initiatives  that have real benefits for Rhode Island.”

“Our coastal ecosystems and communities support tourism, fisheries, and marine trades.  It’s more important than ever to support efforts that help them adapt and thrive in the face of erosion, rising sea levels, and warming water temperatures,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “CRMC and Sea Grant help Rhode Island communities better understand the causes of their changing landscapes and plan for the future.  I congratulate both of them on receiving this funding.”

CRMC works to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible restore, coastal areas of the state.  This federal funding will provide ongoing support of coastal zone management permitting, planning, enforcement, federal consistency review and coordination, public outreach and education, and public rights-of-way designation.  The National Coastal Zone Management Program, under the Coastal Zone Management Act, is an important voluntary federal-state partnership that protects, restores, and responsibly develops our nation’s coastal communities and resources by balancing economic development, coastal uses, and natural resource protection.  NOAA’s investment of $1.268 million will be leveraged by $1.19 million in state funds. 

Based at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography, Rhode Island Sea Grant is a partnership of the university, the National Sea Grant College Program, NOAA, and the state of Rhode Island.  The National Sea Grant College program provides federal funding to 32 state Sea Grant programs at universities across the country.  URI’s program, located in its School of Oceanography, focuses its efforts on coastal protection and sustainable fisheries.  Federal funding for the Sea Grant program is matched by state and private funding. 


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