September 23, 2011

U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Designating National Estuaries Day

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a resolution declaring this Saturday, September 24, to be National Estuaries Day.  The resolution was sponsored by U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Scott Brown (R-MA) and cosponsored by Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), , Ben Cardin (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The resolution recognizes the importance of coastal and estuarine regions to our national economy and reaffirms the Senate’s support for protecting and restoring these vital resources.  Coasts and estuaries contribute more than $800 billion in trade and commerce to the U.S. economy each year and support more than 28 million jobs in commercial and recreational fishing, boating, tourism, and other industries.
“The Narragansett Bay helps drive our state’s tourism industry, which generates more than $2.3 billion and supports more than 66,000 jobs per year in Rhode Island,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Estuaries also provide buffers against dangerous winds and storm surges, protecting homes and infrastructure in our coastal communities.  I’m proud to be a sponsor of this resolution and look forward to celebrating National Estuaries Day in Rhode Island this weekend.”
“Estuaries are critical to the Bay State’s economy through their impact on recreation, tourism, and fishing.  I am glad the Senate recognized September 24th as National Estuary Day and affirmed that our estuaries are an important natural resource, as well as acknowledged the hard work of those who study, preserve and maintain them,” said Senator Scott Brown.
“In Connecticut, the Long Island Sound supports hundreds of jobs, is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and holds an awe-inspiring natural beauty that motivates the state’s successful tourism industry,” said Senator Blumenthal.  “I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of protecting and restoring our coasts and estuaries and the vitality they bring to so many of America’s communities and local economies.”
“A true national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America, with a length of 200 miles and 11,684 miles of tidal shoreline, more than the entire U.S. West Coast. For Marylanders, the Chesapeake Bay is our greatest natural resource, the cornerstone of our economy, and part of the fabric of our communities,” said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. “Today and every day, we all must play a part in protecting and conserving our estuaries because clean, safe water brings stronger regional economies with more jobs, healthy water for us and our children, and lands that support productive farms and quality recreational opportunities.”
Senator Susan Collins said, “I applaud the work of national and community organizations that promote public awareness, and work to protect the environmental health of our nation’s estuaries, including Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership in my home state of Maine.  Improving water quality and protecting and restoring habitats are important drivers for our local economies.”
“From the Long Island Sound to the Peconic Estuary, Long Island’s coastal areas provide tremendous economic and environmental value to the region,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “We must continue to safeguard our marine life, bays, and tidal wetlands and help rebuild these critical resources.”
“Our fish stocks, marine life, and coastal industries and communities all do better when we raise awareness,” said Senator Kerry.
“Estuaries are an integral part of the Gulf Coast environment and economy.  In these waters, we work, recreate and fish,” said Senator Landrieu.  “Raising awareness of our estuaries is an important step we can take to making sure they thrive for decades and are there for future generations.”
“In my home state of Washington, we take great pride in the tremendous natural beauty of our estuaries and the wildlife that inhabit them, and we understand their significant economic impact on our fishing and shellfish industries,” said Senator Murray. “I applaud those who have been working tirelessly over the years to protect estuaries so that they can be enjoyed by future generations, and I’m proud to be a partner in this effort.”

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