Monday, December 17, 2012

Letter to President Obama and Congressional Leadership

The National Estuarine Research Reserve Association and 17 regional friends groups around the country – representing more than 9,600 members and volunteers - sent a letter addressed to President Obama and Congressional Leadership.  The letter can be found on our resources and documents page on this blog.   We asked that oceans and coasts be a priority by continuing the federal support for the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) provided by the NOAA.

Also, there is an Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill related to Hurricane Sandy that will be heard on the floor of the Senate next Monday.  NERRA is supporting this bill even though we understand the amount of funding going to NOS will be less than the Administration suggested.  In addition NERRA will continue to talk to members of Congress about the immediate and long-term funding needs of the NERRS.  

Please email Rebecca Roth if you have questions. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Resources from Annual Meeting Now Available

We created a special page on this blog to share some of the great information and resources that we discussed during our time together at the Annual Meeting.  On the Annual Meeting page you will find copies of presentations and materials used during our sector time together.  If you would like more information or would like to see additional resources on this site - please send us an email and let us know.  

It was great to see representatives from Friends groups from around the country - from Maine to Washington State!  We missed those of you who were unable to join us but hope that some of resources posted here will provide you with a little more information on the topics we discussed.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Annual Meeting Friends and Foundation Sector Agenda

We are finalizing plans for the Annual Meeting next week and look forward to seeing all of you who will be able to joins us!  On the resources and document page you will find the Friends and Foundations sector agenda.  This is the agenda for the time we have together as a group. To view the overall meeting agenda - which includes an overview of plenary or non-sector time, please visit the Annual Meeting web site

For those of you who are unable to join us - please let me know if you would like to join us virtually for any of the sessions during our sector time.  We will have conference call capabilities for most of our sessions.  Just send me an email and I will respond with more information on how to link in.  Please note that we will not be able to provide virtual connections for non-sector time (sessions outlined in the overall agenda).  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Restoration Sign On Letter

We would like to pass on the request to have organizations sign onto this letter, which asks our federal leaders to reject further funding cuts to restoration programs that provide the critical funding for the on-the-ground restoration of our environment and economy. (habitat support letter is also listed on our resources and documents page).

The request and information is provided by Diane Hoskins, Director of Government Relations, Restore America's Estuaries.  Diane urges organizations to sign on before COB Friday (November 8th).  

For more information, please read below and follow the link to the  letter, ---

Restoration funding is at risk.  Last year's Budget Control Act put in place decreasing budget caps that over time eliminate billions of dollars for non-defense discretionary programs. In addition,  the threat of across-the-board cuts in January - the sequester - only deepen these cuts over the next ten years.

As the letter says: "A sustained investment in restoration funding is required to keep projects on track to achieve long-term restoration goals and sequestration spells disaster for the communities, waters, and economies that rely on these programs."

We're working with Restore America's Estuaries to try to get hundreds of national, regional, and local organizations and businesses signed on.  We hope you will help promote this sign on opportunity through your networks. The letter will stay open for 4-weeks with a sign on deadline of Friday, November 9.  The letter will be sent to Capitol Hill and the Administration the following week, just as Congress returns for the post-election, lame duck session.  We are accepting organization or business level signon, not individual people.  

To sign on, please visit:
 Current signers:
·         American Rivers
·         American Whitewater
·         Ducks Unlimited
·         National Audubon Society
·         National Parks Conservation Association
·         National Wildlife Federation
·         Outdoor Alliance
·         Outdoor Industry Association
·         Restore America's Estuaries

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last day to register for the Annual Meeting.

Today is the close of registration for the 2012 NERRS/NERRA Annual Meeting.  If you are planning on joining us but just haven't registered yet - please register today!   Check out the Annual Meeting web site for more details. 

If you would like to join us but need more time to commit - please contact us to let us know.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Looking Forward to our Meeting in November!

We are working on a draft agenda for the time we will share together as a group next month. We hope to have a draft agenda ready for viewing soon.  Ih the meantime, please check out the resources and documents page for our meeting objectives.  

While we focus our planning on this concentrated meeting time - we will not be holding our monthly webinar meeting for October. We look forward to meeting with you in November! 

We are happy to see representatives from NERRS Friends and Foundations around the country registered to join us for the 2012 NERRS/NERRA Annual Meeting!  If you haven't had a chance to register yet - there is still time.  Check out the event web site for all the details.  

Please note that there are options for 1-day and multi-day registrations if you are unable to join us for the entire week.  

For those of you who will not be able to join us - we will keep you posted on any opportunities to join us virtually.  We may be able to provide access to portions of the meeting.  Please stay tuned!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Register Now for the Annual Meeting

We hope to see you all at the Annual Meeting this year.  This is a great opportunity to meet up with others from friends and foundations around the country, to  learn more about what is happening throughout the NERRS, and to learn about specific topics relevant to the work of your organization.  We are currently working on the agenda  for the friends and foundations sector time.  In the meantime, please see the Resources and Document page for the sector objectives.  

Please check out the 2012 NERRS/NERRA Annual Meeting web site for all of the meeting details including a draft agenda, site information, and lodging and transportation options.  Rooms at NCTC will be limited this year and will be offered on a first come first serve basis based on when you register.  We strongly suggest you register early!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NERRS/NERRA Award - Nominations Due October 5th

It's once again time to help decide who will be the 2012 recipient of this prestigious NERRS/NERRA award!  Let us know who you feel has demonstrated exemplary leadership and sustained commitment to the mission of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. The recipient can be anyone who meets the criteria for the award and is not limited to Reserve staff members. 

If you would like to nominate someone, please complete a nomination form and return to NERRA no later than  Friday, October 5th.  The form and more detail on the award is available on the Resources and Documents page on this blog and will also be available on the Annual Meeting web site as well.  All nominations will be reviewed by the award committee and the winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting in November. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September webinar – an opportunity to get help in your community from NERRA

Join us for this month’s webinar meeting next week – Tuesday, September 18th from 2:00-3:00PM ET.  

This month’s webinar is an opportunity to get help in your community from NERRA to gain greater political support.  With input from your reserve, NERRA is developing statements that show the economic importance of each reserve.  Come prepared with one idea (or more!) of how we can use the economic impact statements in your community/state.  We will share in a roundtable discussion your ideas on how we can work together to help spread the word of the economic importance of each reserve as well as the system as a whole.  Please contact cindy if you will be able to join us and we will forward meeting materials to you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

National Estuaries Day Events

Are you planning an event for National Estuaries Day?  If so, let us know about it by posting in comments here or emailing Cindy or Rebecca.  

As an annual celebration of critical estuarine habitats, National Estuaries Day is a great opportunity to provide information to the general public but also to engage your local, state and federal politicians in your reserve.  We would like to hear more about what you are doing at your reserve!

National Estuaries Day is celebrated every last Saturday of the month of September - September 29th this year. Here is a little more information taken from the Estuary Education web site -  

  • National Estuaries Day was established in 1988 as part of Coast Weeks, this annual event is the inspiration for all of those who love and care for our nation’s estuaries.
  • The purpose of National Estuaries Day is to promote the importance of estuaries and the need to protect them.
  • It is also the occasion for a public-awareness campaign to inform people from coast to coast about their connection to these beautiful places and how they can encourage its healthy future.
  • Countless National Estuaries Day activities occur nationwide, from photography contests in Florida, canoe trips in Washington, estuary clean-ups in North Carolina, exhibits at state capitals, guided estuary tours in Texas, to festivals in California.
  • Since its inception in 1988, National Estuary Day has strengthened the partnership between the National Estuary Program (NEP) and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS). The two programs protect more than 50 estuarine habitats that have been federally designated as living resources.
  • Help spread the word that estuaries are vital to migratory species; provide critical habitat for a variety of marine plants and animals; help prevent coastal erosion; are important recreational and tourist destinations; and that estuaries are critical for our future and the health of the oceans. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Subcommittee to messaging / social media

We received support for the idea from Friends and Foundations and from the NERRA Board to pursue creating postcards that can be sent to legislators in support of our reserves.  Check out the example from Misson-Aransas TX NERR on our resources and document page.  

We are creating a subcommittee to assist with the development of the postcard and the idea of possibly using social media as an outlet.  If you would be interested in joining us for one or two meetings to help brainstorm ideas, please let me know.  

We hope that a few of you will be able to join us!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Break for our Monthly Webinar Series.

We will be taking a summer break from our weekly webinar series this month.  We will continue the series next month with our September 18th meeting.  

Our monthly webinar series offers a way to connect with other friends organizations and foundations and to learn more about relevant topics.  Our meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 2:00 - 3:00PM ET.  We hope you will be able to join us in September!

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Estuaries 101 Middle School Curriculum!

Inspiring people to learn about & protect our nation’s estuaries

Who? NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are pleased to announce.

What? Estuaries 101 Middle School Curriculum, a new online multi-media science curriculum for grades 5-8th

Why? This curriculum provides interactive learning tools to teach fundamental concepts in science and develop scientific thinking skills, while helping students discover and virtually explore the nation's biologically rich estuaries.

Where? It is available free on the site in easy to access teacher downloads.

When? Available NOW!

Don't miss an opportunity to use this curriculum that engages students in real NERR research and monitoring through interactive classroom activities and user-friendly real time water quality and weather data exercises. Videos, simulations, teacher activity downloads, and interactive maps are all available to further help students visualize the inner workings of an estuary.


Learn more.
·        Background information and a short video clip click here.
·        Teacher on the Estuary training opportunities using this curriculum click here.

Thank you!
Atziri Ibanez, Bree Murphy and all 28 Education Coordinators from NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Friends of the GTM Reserve need your help today!

Post from Christine Rich, President, Friends of the GTM NERR

The Friends of the GTM NERR would like to urgently request your support in voicing input to the Federal Government as it finalizes the Fort Matanzas Management Plan. This is a national monument run by the U.S. Parks service.  We have come out in support of one of the stated options which does not include beach driving in certain areas adjacent to the Reserve.  We’d like to ask you to visit the Fort Matanzas Management Plan website and state your preferences, particularly endorsing Option B. For more information, please see the Friends of the GTM Reserve Official Statement below.

This is one way to help ensure that real science and the opinions of those with a shared stake in the preservation of pristine natural resources are used to influence the decision-making process.

Comments can be made online at the comments page of the National Park Service site.   

Friends of the GTM Reserve Official Statement to the NPS
The waters on the estuary side of the Matanzas Inlet are within the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (“Research Reserve”) boundaries. Research conducted by the Research Reserve staff has shown that the water quality of the Matanzas Inlet is some of the most pristine in Northeast Florida. The Friends agree that “Alternative B” creates the widest range of beneficial uses of the environment without degradation or risk of other undesirable consequences due to the continued prohibition against driving on the beach south of the Matanzas ramp. The preservation of the water quality is important to the Friends because it serves the interests of the Reserve’s research and also enhances the quality of water-based recreational activities, including, boating and fishing which take place in the estuary adjacent to the Monument. Additionally, “Alternative B”, will increase environmental interpretation which will create enhanced educational opportunities for visitors to understand the area’s natural environment.

The Friends do not support “Alternative C" as proposed in the Fort Matanzas National Monument Management Plan. The Friends do support the variety of existing beach experiences a visitor can have within the boundaries of the Research Reserve and in St. Johns County. There are 16.7 miles of beaches available for visitor access by motor vehicle in St. Johns County. The Friends do not support “Alternative C” and its potential to allow for beach driving at the Monument due to the adjacent estuary's high water quality, the unique and changing coastal ecosystem at the Matanzas Inlet and the potential for negative effects on wildlife and public safety.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laudholm Trust Welcomes a New President.

Laudholm Trust welcomed Nik Charov as the new president of the Trust last week.  To find out more about Nik, check out the Wrack - blog of the Wells Reserve and Laudholm Trust or read the press release below.  Welcome Nik!

Incoming Laudholm Trust president Nik Charov stands with retiring president Diana Joyner, who for the past 4 years has led the Wells nonprofit.
WELLS, Maine, July 11, 2012 — Nik Charov has been hired as the new president of Laudholm Trust, the fund raising arm of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, according to Bruce Read, chairman of the Trust board. A search committee composed of Laudholm Trust board members and the retiring president, Diana Joyner, chose Charov after reviewing a strong field of candidates from around the country. Charov will be working with Joyner as he assumes full responsibility as president.
“We are delighted to have a seasoned professional like Nik join our team,” said Read. “Nik’s extensive and proven experience in fund raising and event planning, as well as his passion for the environment, will serve our communities well as the Wells Reserve at Laudholm continues to prosper and grow.”
Charov has been working in science education and environmental preservation for nearly a decade. For the past four years, he has been director of institutional advancement for New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization dedicated to reclaiming and restoring New York City parks, community gardens, and open space. He was responsible for managing more than 90 corporate, foundation, government, individual, and partner relationships that helped raise $10 million annually for operations and programs. He also oversaw fund raising for MillionTreesNYC, a $28 million citywide capital campaign and the nation’s largest and most ambitious urban forestry program.
Prior to his position at NYRP, Charov was the senior grants manager for the New York Hall of Science in Queens, the city’s hands-on science museum and research center. He holds a philosophy degree from Stanford University.
As president, Charov is responsible for overseeing the daily operation of Laudholm Trust, including managing membership, interacting with donors and business partners, working with the Wells Reserve staff, developing fund raising programs, and overseeing the Trust’s signature events such as the Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival and Punkinfiddle, a National Estuaries Day Celebration.
A husband and father of two preschool boys, Charov is no stranger to Maine. He has spent more than 30 summers exploring the tide pools, pines, and breakwaters of Peaks Island.
Charov is the sixth president in Laudholm Trust’s 30-year history. The Trust was formed in 1982 to protect and preserve historic Laudholm Farm, but soon became a driving force for the creation of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. With the support of its 1700 members, Laudholm Trust has contributed millions of dollars to the reserve for research, education, stewardship, and preservation.
Charov can be reached at 207-646-4521 ext 144 or

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Friends of Rookery Bay receive grant on behalf of the Rookery Bay Reserve

Blog posting from Bruce Robertson, Friends of Rookery Bay

Rookery Bay Reserve recently announced the completion of a Florida Division of Historical Resources grant-funded assessment of historic sites on state-owned lands and the creation of a comprehensive, multi-layered database of historic and cultural resources within the managed boundary.  The grant funds enabled Rookery Bay Reserve’s stewardship team to work with a contractor to complete visual surveys of known and suspected sites in the reserve, document artifacts, photographs, and historical deeds records from the National Archives, and combine these data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other advanced technology into one comprehensive computerized catalog of records and details, all viewable in layers on a map.  This tool will be used for future management of cultural and historic sites in the reserve.  The project was financed in part with historic preservation grant assistance provided by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, administered through the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.  The grant was awarded to the Friends of Rookery Bay on behalf of the Reserve, and was one of 12 awards from a pool of nearly 100 applications.  The $50,000 project comprised $25,000 from the granting agency with matching funds from the Reserve.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Port of Anacortes, Washington wins NOAA Award

PORT of ANACORTES WINS NOAA’S WALTER B. JONES AWARD for excellence in local government. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration has announced winners of the 2012 Walter B. Jones Awards for Excellence in Coastal and Ocean Management. These awards honor the individuals and organizations that have made a difference by dedicating countless hours and energy to conserving coastal resources and improving coastal communities throughout America. Awarded every two years, the awards were created to honor the late 11-term Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina. As chairman of the House Merchant Marine & Fisheries Committee, Congressman Jones was a strong supporter of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management. He provided leadership on numerous legislative initiatives addressing coastal and ocean issues such as commercial shipping, oil spill clean-up & prevention and flood insurance reform. The Port of Anacortes was nominated to receive an award by Kay Reinhardt, Padilla Bay Foundation Administrator. Their project was a restoration of coastline in Anacortes visited by citizens of the area and out of town visitors. It adjoins the Cap Sante Boat Haven and Seafarers’ Memorial Park. Formerly the area was derelict and possessed toxins underwater in soils long ago contaminated during the decades under which plywood mills and tangent industries were operated. The restoration recovers shoreline configuration to encourage habitation of forage fish and sea grasses, with a gradual shoreline welcoming to use by people and critters alike. It’s a comprehensive project which could be replicated elsewhere; one of the award’s criteria. For more about the Walter B. Jones Awards for 2012, please visit NOAA online.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mark Your Calendars for Our Monthly Webinar Meetings!

Based on feedback from all of you, we will be hosting monthly webinar meetings of the Friends and Foundations.  They will be held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month from 2:00 - 3:00 Eastern Time.  Each webinar will follow the structure that we have been using over the past few months and will include -

  • a few minutes for updates and news, 
  • a review or presentation on the topic identified for the meeting, 
  • followed by time for discussion to share what is happening at your organization/reserve and learn what is happening at other reserves.  
The goals of the meetings will be to - 
  • Provide a regular opportunity to connect with each other;
  • Share information and knowledge with each other to foster growth and learning;
  • Provide input for NERRA on how we can help on a national/regional level.  
We will begin our series on Tuesday, June 19th at 2:00pm Eastern Time.  The topic of this month's meeting is Marketing.  We hope that you will be able to join us!  More information on this meeting will follow next week.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Who are our Partners?

This was the topic of discussion at our webinar meeting last week.  Most of us partner with other groups or individuals on some level.  If you represent a friends group or foundation, your reserve is one of your primary partners. Other partnerships may include; volunteers, schools, businesses, other non-profits and government groups as well. 

While the focus of the discussion was on WHO we partner with – we did discuss a few tips on how to develop successful partnerships*.  Here are a few…
  1. Approach your partners with information on how YOU can help them.
  2. Think about long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.
  3. Consider partnerships with groups that are already supporting your organization/reserve.
We also discussed ideas on ways NERRA can help create or expand relationships on a national or regional level.  Please feel free to contact me or Rebecca Roth if you have any ideas you would like to share.  We welcome your input!

If you have an example of a successful partnership (or lessons learned from a not-so-successful partnership) that might be interesting or beneficial to other friends and foundations, please feel free to write about it here. 

“A partnership is an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests,,,, Partnerships are also common regardless of and among sectors. Non-profit, religious, and political organizations, may partner together to increase the likelihood of each achieving their mission and to amplify their reach.”  - Wikipedia

* Thanks to Kay and Walter for emailing us all the interp newsletter with some great points!  

Friday, April 27, 2012

FY13 House Appropriations Bill

The latest update on the budget approval process is that the House Appropriations Subcommittee and Full Committee Bill provided for reduced NERRS funding:

$17.081 for operations
$0 for PAC

The full committee took up the bill yesterday and there were no amendments related to NERRS (or NOS).

NERRA will continue to make the push to members prior to the conference committee marks.  In the meantime, any help from groups outside of the reserve to email letters of support and thanks for program support would be helpful.  

We will continue to keep you posted...

Monday, April 23, 2012

FY13 Senate Appropriations -- early returns CONTINUED

We received additional good news on funding:

B-WET grants: $7.5M
Regional Ocean Partnerships: $4M
Again, thanks all around for your help in reaching out!  
The next steps are as follows:
  • Full Senate passes Appropriations bill (hopefully without reducing the amounts passed by the Appropriations Committee).
  • House Appropriations full committee hears and passes its bill and then the bill is scheduled and passed by the House.
  • A conference committee of Senate and House members is formed to merge the two appropriations bills, after agreement is reached, each chamber hears the revised bill. 
  • Once approved it is sent to the President for signature.
(Note that the first two bullets potentially happen simultaneously.)

We will continue to update the blog with information as it comes in.   

Friday, April 20, 2012

FY13 Senate Appropriations -- early returns

We are pleased to report that the Senate Subcommittee and the full Appropriations Committee provided $22.3M for NERRS Operation!

Stay tuned for more to come on....

  • Procurement, Acquisition, Construction (PAC)
  • The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) - this program was funded, specific amount to be announced

In attendance for the Senate subcommittee were the following members:

Democrats: Mikulski, Pryor, Lautenberg, Brown

Republicans: KBH, Shelby, Alexander, Johnson, Murkowski

NERRA will be sending out thank you emails to all Senate Appropriation Committee members and encourage anyone with Senators on Appropriations Committee to email a two or three sentence thank you note to the Senator's staff thanking them for their work as well as to the Senators for their NERRS program support (especially to those listed above because they were present for the mark).

It is extremely important that members know that folks back in the state are tracking on this. In addition, it is expected that there will be push back on members supporting budgets higher than the President's during the conference of the House and Senate bills.

Your emails help give Congressional members cover for supporting the $22.3M NERRS budget!

Thanks to all of you who have helped with letters of support!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Congressional Appropriation Hearings this week!

Appropriation hearings have been finalized today and are fast tracked for this week(!). Here is the schedule.

Tuesday 230 EST Senate Approps CJS Subcommittee bill mark-up

Thursday 930 EST House Approps CJS Subcommittee bill mark-up
Time to be Announced, expected Senate Full Approps Committee bill mark-up

See list below of Senators and Representatives on Sub and Full Committee who have reserves in their state. To help you can....

1) Email a note to staff reminding the senator of our support request and include FY13 primer found on Resources and Documents page or

2) Email a letter of support based on the template provided on Resources and Documents page.

The most important thing is to make contact -- even if you are out this week or unable to send an email before the subcommittees or full committee mark-ups, send an email after asking for their continued support during the future appropriations hearings by full house or senate and then by conference committee.

Senate CJS Appropriations Sub Comm






Baily Hutchinson-TX





Senate Appropriations Comm

House Appropr Committee (no CJS subcommittee members per se)





Wolfe -VA

Schiff -CA (sub, no NERR)

Honda -CA (sub noNERR)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Meeting Follow up and Resources

On Tuesday, April 3, we held the Friends and Foundation Spring Webinar Meeting. We are pleased that so many Friends could join us as well as several Managers! If you were unable to join us for this meeting - read on for more information on the meeting and stay tuned for another opportunity to meet coming up in May/June.

During the meeting we reviewed the current budget situation and discussed some ways to help make a difference in final funding for the NERRS program. We have posted several of the documents we viewed during the meeting on the Resources and Documents page. Here is what we posted...

Overview of funding and Review of the Budget Process - These two documents were used to show the budget relevant to previous years and shows a timeline for the funding process. There is still time to make a difference!

Postcard Examples - Creating postcards that can be filled out and sent in to Representatives may be another way to have voices from our communities heard. Thanks to Mission-Aransas NERR for sharing this idea and example with all of us. NERRA is considering ways to assist you with this effort. More on this to come....

Economic Information Workbook - Healthy estuaries contribute to the economic well-being of our communities. Estimates of some of these impacts were shared on a national level through the Primer. Use these spreadsheets to come up with economic information specific for your Reserve or state. Check out North Inlet-Winyah Bay NERR's example to see how this can be used to show how your reserve impacts the local and regional economy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Check out "Resources and Documents"

We have added a Resources and Documents section to the blog!

Thanks to everyone for responding to my requests to verify contact information. The 2012 Friends and Foundation Directory can now be found in the Resources and Documents section. This year, in addition to the complete pdf document - an excel file was created with information on each organization's primary contact. Additional worksheets in this file contain contact information on others who may be interested in being included in our communications. Please contact me ( if details on your organization change or if you would like to add a contact to the "other contacts" list.

You will also find documents that may be helpful in your efforts to provide support for the NERRS in the FY13 Budget. Documents in this section include:
  • 2012 Primer used by NERRS Managers and NERRA during visits to the Hill at the end of last month.
  • A letter template that can be used to request support from your Senate and House representatives for NERRS
  • NERRA's testimony for programs for FY13 to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Details on the President's Budget

Fellow Reserve Friends,

The last two months have proved to be more challenging than ever. The President released his budget last month and we learned that the NERRS program was cut by $2.7M to $19M for operations (note this amount is actually $3.3M less from what Congress appropriated in FY12 @ $22.3M). The Construction and Acquisition money was completely eliminated.

The most troubling part of this proposed cut is that the President and NOAA have indicated that the funding cuts mean that the program should: “end the NERRS Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which currently supports 1-2 Ph.D. or master's students at every reserve and decrease the federal share of the funding to each of the 28 reserves across the U.S.”

As some of you may know the NERRA Board meeting was held in Washington, DC on February 27th and the majority of our Board Members conducted meetings with members from their congressional delegation. (The Board missed the presence and input of Kay Reinhart, FFN representative!) The NERRA appropriations request is on our website for you to download as well as national program economic information.

We have a template letter we will be posting here in the next couple of days. In the meantime, NERRA wrote up an impact analysis that explains how the program will be impacted IF the President’s budget were enacted by Congress. . .do remember that Congress ultimately passes the budget. The first round of budget hearings began last week and NERRA requested that Congressional members ask questions of NOAA as to why they are proposing cutting the program and funding for the states.

We hope you can join us later this month or in early April for our webinar (more information to follow). If you have questions or comments, as always, please email or call me.

May the force be with us all! -Rebecca

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Padilla Bay Research Symposium Success

In her post on Wednesday, February 8th, Kay Reinhardt mentioned the Research Symposium to take place at Padilla Bay Reserve. According to Padilla Bay Reserve Manager, Terry Stevens, it was a huge success. Following is an email update he sent out after the event.

"I want to express my appreciation and a hearty congratulations to all for a
tremendous and professional job in organizing, participating, administering
and carrying-out Wednesday's Research Symposium. It took a team effort and
it all came together perfectly. From the comments I heard from participants
there was widespread enthusiasm with the range of topics, quality of
presentations, accommodations, logistics, and (of course) lunch. We may have
started something with this event and we should discuss this opportunity in
the near future. It was certainly satisfying to see the size of the crowd
with even the overflow seats being occupied. A sincere thank-you to the PB
Foundation and Shell Oil Puget Sound Refinery for their sponsorship and

For more information on this event, leave a comment or contact Kay directly. Thanks for sending the update Kay!

Photos taken by Cathy Angel during the event.
Above - Dr. Apple, Dr. Ron Thom (Battelle Labs & our keynote
speaker), and Dr. Doug Bulthuis (PB research coordinator)
Below - Dr. Jude Apple (PB Foundation & WWU) making introductory remarks

Monday, February 20, 2012

Joyner Stepping Down as President of Laudholm Trust

Diana Joyner, president of the Laudholm Trust, the fundraising partner of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, is stepping down from her position in June.

According to Bruce Read, chair of the Trust board, in an article on the Wells Reserve at Laudholm web site:

"Four years ago, Diana stepped off of our board and into the interim president position at a critical time in the history of the Trust,” notes Read. “The economy had softened and we needed someone with distinct leadership skills at the helm. Diana did such an outstanding job, we asked her to stay aboard for a few more years. Under her leadership, the organization has not only grown, it’s thrived.”

Read the full article for more information on Diana's accomplishments.

If you had the opportunity to meet Diana, you know she is strong leader and also a friend. As she steps down from her position, she will be missed by not only the Laudholm community but also all of us at NERRA and throughout the NERRS who had the opportunity to meet and work with her.

The board's search committee is now accepting online applications. Interested individuals can learn more about the position and the application process by visiting the Wells Reserve at Laudholm website at Diana will assist with the transition.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

President's Budget: NERRS Program Reduced

The President's budget has been released and we are disappointed to announce that the NERRS program was reduced.

  • Operations are at $19M
  • Procurement, Acquisition, Construction (PAC) was zero-funded

It appears that the President is directing the reductions to come from program operations. This means the push at the congressional level - to educate on the importance of the program - will be essential in the coming months and year ahead. NERRA will continue to work with Senators and Congressional Representatives on Appropriations Committees and will be looking for support on these efforts.

In the words of NERRA President Dave Ruple "...The budget process is just beginning! Though the starting point may not be desirable, through the legislative budget process is where WE have an opportunity to make a difference and affect the final FY13 numbers."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clarifying of Purpose

Colleagues at Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve,
It's great to know you are strategically planning as a well rounded team. We at Padilla Bay Foundation are committed to a retreat for re-purposing; utilizing funds we were awarded in a grant administered by the National Environmental Education Foundation in sync with Toyota Motor Sales of America ... "Every Day Grants". A small purse, but specifically for use in capacity building of the awarded non-profit. After a decade of fund raising to help grow the Padilla Bay Reserve's facilities, we are working with our Reserve Director, Terry Stevens, as well as leads from Research & Monitoring, Stewardship Coordination, Education Coordination, Coastal Training Program and Facilities Maintenance to identify areas of need as the budgets both nationally and at state-level shrink. We are embarking on a new era of support for the Reserve with a different focus. One of our achievements is in having garnered financial support to underwrite the costs of an all day Research Symposium to be held a week from today. A long overdue undertaking. We will have 100 guests here to listen to 12 presenters having done research at Padilla Bay as well as a keynote speaker. We will undoubtedly have some citizen scientists in the audience. Everyone is excited to be sharing the nuanced work being done in the bay with the community. I send along my best wishes for the GTM Reserve to reap the benefits of the foundation and volunteer group's heartfelt work on its behalf. I'll report back on our plans for a board retreat when they gel. You've inspired me all over again!

Taking a Step Back to Step Forward "Smarter"

by Angie Christensen, Board Member, Friends of GTM

The GTM Research Reserve (short-speak for the Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR in Ponte Vedra, Florida) is supported, like many NERRs, by the efforts of a Friends group. Working hand in hand with the staff and volunteers of the Reserve, the Friends organization helps with funding efforts and is dedicated to the stewardship, education and research efforts undertaken by the Reserve. This January, we gathered in a unique way, having decided to dedicate part of one weekend to a detailed discussion of our mission, goals, objectives and tactics for executing against those. In other words, under the leadership of Board president Christine Rich, we embarked on a kind of mini-retreat, aiming for a clear perspective. We took a step back. Of course it's early days yet, but in the short time that's passed, that short step back seems to have re-energized us, underpinned our relationships, helped solidify understanding of roles and responsibilities, and renewed our commitment to our work as Board members.

We began with cocktails at a favorite local restaurant on a Friday evening, an informal, relaxing event that allowed us a chance to know one another better. Because we're a diverse Board, reflective of the large geographic area encompassed by the Reserve, some of us know each other pretty well; some are newcomers and some have both history and perspective. This informal opportunity to know our colleagues better bore fruit later in the session, as some relationships and committees began to take on more definition later in our sessions. A couple of key members of the Reserve's staff were able to join us, including director Dr. Mike Shirley and Volunteer Coordinator Carly Swatek. Oh, and by the was fun!

The real working session was the next day, and included the same group (Board members as well as staff). We began with some things that seem very fundamental, but of which our knowledge was a bit uneven, discussing our mission and deepening our understanding of the roles played by each "leg" of our three-legged stool-type composition, with a view to the roles played by the Friends Board and membership, the staff, including educators, research scientists, and more, and the key role played by the diverse body of volunteers we're so fortunate to have. We delved into the expectations of each of our committees, reminding ourselves of the duties and looking for ways to enhance our effectiveness. And we talked about the interaction models for the committees with each other and with the larger Board, again looking for growth and development opportunities.

It was a day of hard team work, honest conversation, and dedicated collaboration, and it was a chance to step back in unison to consider our way forward together. As a member new to the Board AND the marketing committee, with a special interest in development of social media, it provided me with unique insights and perspective, and helped me prepare for some ambitious plans for the coming year. It challenged me to think about some familiar topics through a new lens. For instance, a comment from one of the Board members, herself a college professor with a doctorate in her field, prompted me to tweet about "citizen science". I included a hash tag "#CitizenScience" and became part of a much larger discussion (many thanks, Dr. Melissa Southwell!), one I hope to see continuing as we continue to grow and mature in our journey together. It was an excellent investment of time and teamwork, positioning us for the smartest possible steps forward for our NERR and Friends board.

Lots of work awaits us in the coming year, and I'd love to keep you posted on how we're doing. Meanwhile, any others out there doing anything similar? A Board retreat? A planning session for your NERR's upcoming calendar year or longer-range 3- or 5-year plans? As always, it's impossible to overstate the opportunities for shared learning, so bring on those comments, folks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Call for 2012 Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards due

Nominations are due no later than February 15, 2012
For more information look for the link in "news" at....

About the Awards
Innovation, resourcefulness, leadership and a commitment to balancing the human use of America’s coastal and ocean resources with the needs of the resources themselves - these are the hallmarks of the Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards.

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 created a unique and voluntary partnership of federal and state governments to provide a balance between land and water uses and resource conservation along America’s 95,000 miles of coastlines, including the Great Lakes. In 1990, as part of the reauthorization of the CZMA, the late Congressman Walter B. Jones provided NOAA with the authority to honor the people and organizations of America for their dedication and outstanding contributions in helping the nation maintain healthy coastal and ocean resources and balance the needs of these resources with human use. At that time, Congressman Jones identified three award categories as particularly important–

Excellence in Coastal and Marine Graduate Study - recognizes graduate students whose academic study promises to contribute materially to the development of new or improved approaches to coastal or ocean management. Up to ten winners may be selected in 2012.

Coastal Steward of the Year - honors an individual who has exemplified strong, sustained leadership in finding a balance between the human uses of the coast and ocean and the needs of that environment.

Excellence in Local Government - given to local governments that have inspired positive change in the field of coastal management by developing or implementing principles embodied by the CZMA. Up to five winners may be selected in 2012.

The awards program is open to individuals, organizations, and state and local government agencies and their employees. Individuals, organizations and agencies cannot nominate themselves; they must be nominated by others. Candidates can receive an award in a category only once. For a list of previous winners, please visit Federal employees and officials are not eligible for the Walter B. Jones Memorial Awards.