Higgins Announces Reauthorization of National Sea Grant College Program
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage of S.910, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2020. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) supports university-based programs that focus on studying, conserving, and effectively using U.S. coastal resources, including those in the Great Lakes region, through the National Sea Grant Program. The bill reauthorizes the Sea Grant College program through 2025.
Congressman Higgins, a member of the Congressional Great Lakes Task Force, said, “Protecting our water resources requires continued diligence. The Sea Grant College Program supports work addressing today’s challenges to help promote healthy lakes, oceans and waterways for generations to come.”
In New York State, Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), including SUNY Buffalo, are part of a national network of 34 university-based institutions that make up the National Sea Grant College Program.
With reauthorization, the National Sea Grant College program would receive $87.5 million in FY 2021 increasing incrementally annually to $105.7 million by 2025. An additional $6 million each year would be authorized for grants to support university research on the biology, prevention, and control of aquatic nonnative species; the biology, prevention, and forecasting of harmful algal blooms; fishery extension activities and other work conducted by Sea Grant colleges.
Along with reauthorization, the bill requires NOAA to award Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships, which NOAA currently has discretion in awarding. The fellowships support the placement of graduate students in fields related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources in positions with the executive and legislative branches.
Recent grants through the New York Sea Grant program have helped to support local projects including water quality testing at Gallagher Beach in Buffalo and the Restore the Gorge project in Niagara Falls led by the Western New York Land Conservancy.