~ Legislation strengthens NOAA’s data collection, resource management & public outreach ~
Nov 25 2009
Contact: Kevin Hall (202-224-2023)
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Jim Webb today announced approval by the Senate's Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education and Ecosystem Enhancement Act of 2009, which the Virginia lawmakers introduced earlier this year with Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin to strengthen and enhance the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) role in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay clean-up effort.
The bill focuses the relevant science, research and resource management capabilities of NOAA, enhancing its commitment to scientific data collection, the development of fishery management practices and habitat restoration. The legislation also seeks to strengthen NOAA’s environmental outreach programs.
“This legislation will help promote effective partnerships with working watermen and the environmental community as we continue to work to restore the Bay's oyster, blue crab and other resources,” Senator Warner said. “Strengthening NOAA’s ability to apply its science, research and data collection capabilities should provide broad applications to our shared efforts to restore the Bay."
The bill includes four primary objectives:
Increases collaboration between the various programs and activities at NOAA to further NOAA’s coastal resource stewardship mission.
Authorizes the Chesapeake Bay Interpretative Buoy system, is a system of buoys that reports real-time weather and environmental information such as wind speed, temperature, and wave height. The buoys also provide information about John Smith’s adventures during his 1608 voyage.
Strengthens the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Education and Training Program which is a competitively based program that supports existing environmental education programs, fosters the growth of new programs, and encourages the development of partnerships among environmental education programs throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. This program furthers NOAA’s commitment to educational programs.
Assists watermen on the Chesapeake by expanding technical assistance that NOAA offers on helping the watermen develop aquaculture programs. The bill expands the expertise the NOAA offers beyond native oyster populations to include fish and shellfish aquaculture. It also promotes submerged aquatic vegetation propagation programs which act as natural filters for the Chesapeake Bay.