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