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.