September 14, 2009

U.S. Senate Passes Whitehouse Resolution Designating September 26th as National Estuaries Day

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan resolution, authored by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), designating September 26th, 2009 as National Estuaries Day to increase awareness about the importance of healthy estuaries and the need to protect them.

“We have seen what unchecked development combined with increasingly severe storms can do to vital coastal regions,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “Restoring and protecting estuarine and coastal ecosystems in Rhode Island and around the country is one important way we can preserve our environment and our communities.”

Our estuaries are under a constant barrage of threats to their health and survival. Coastal development, pollution, overexploitation, and climate change are all key threats to our nation’s estuaries.

Estuaries are essential to the health of coastal environments and economies, serving as natural barriers to help protect fragile ecosystems and coastal communities from sea level rise, increased storm surges, and other possible effects of climate change. The restoration and conservation of estuaries benefit local economies, support recreational activities, and preserve unique coastal cultures.

The coastal and estuarine regions of the United States support nearly 40% of total national employment and contribute more than $800 billion annually in trade and commerce. These environments provide essential habitat for more than 75% of total U.S. commercial fish catch which when combined with sport fishing, amounts to a $111 billion per year industry.

Whitehouse’s resolution is supported by Restore America’s Estuaries, a national coalition of eleven non-profit organizations including Save the Bay-Narragansett Bay, Conservation Law Foundation, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, and People for Puget Sound dedicated to the restoration and protection of our nation’s estuaries.


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