From Oil Spills to Funding Bills, and Don’t Forget About our Public Policy Forum on March 13!
Just after the Super Bowl that mistakenly left the Saints out was over, the city of New Orleans did get to celebrate as nearly 800 scientists from around the world met in the city for the annual Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science (GoMOSES) conference. With the theme of Minding the Gaps: Research Priorities for Response, Restoration, and Resilience, the conference took a more holistic view of the Gulf of Mexico, looking beyond the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to consider how various stressors contribute to ecological and social resilience and inform response, restoration, and resource management strategies. Experts from academia, state and federal agencies, industry, and nongovernmental organizations shared new studies focused on translating the fundamental and applied research learned since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to advance strategic policy and operational decision making in the region.
COL contributes to this event in several ways, primarily by helping facilitate GoMOSES as part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, one of the 16 conference partners. Additionally, along with the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, COL sponsors the James D. Watkins Student Award for Excellence in Research. Read more about this year’s five student winners on the conference website. I was happy to see Chris D’Elia, one of COL’s trustees and long-time member representative from Louisiana State University, received the Wes Tunnell Lifetime Recognition for Gulf Science and Conservation award (sponsored by GOMURC) for his dedicated work towards a healthy and sustainable Gulf environment and economy. Congratulations and thank you for all you’ve done for the Gulf throughout your career!
I’m also pleased to announce registration is now open for COL’s upcoming Public Policy Forum, U.S. Ocean Policy: Past, Present, and Future. Join us March 13 to examine what has been done over the last decade and a half to achieve the recommendations from the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, where we stand now (particularly in terms of federal funding for ocean science and technology research and development), and how the organizing framework of ocean security can help us complete the report’s recommendations and get us to a brighter future for our blue planet.
Finally, the spending deal signed Friday funds three of our main ocean science agencies – NSF, NOAA, and NASA – through the rest of the fiscal year. NSF will see a four percent increase (receiving $8.1 billion), NASA Earth Science will get a marginal increase (remaining near $1.9 billion), while NOAA funding will decrease eight percent (dropping to $5.4 billion), which is largely due to a planned funding decrease as satellites transition to the operational phase. A big thank you to the appropriators, staff, and ocean champions who ensured many of COL’s priorities – including funding for the National Oceanographic Partnership Program ($5.5 million); money for NOAA’s aquaculture program and language directing the continuation of regional pilot programs; $127 million for “continuing construction of three Regional Class Research Vessels;” language on marine seismic research recognizing the importance of ensuring the availability of “NSF-funded marine research vessels with unique capabilities;” and funding for key NOAA programs slated for elimination in the president’s budget request, including the National Sea Grant College Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, Coastal Zone Management Grants, and the Office of Education. While I am happy to see these items included in the final spending package, these agencies operated under a short-term continuing resolution for four months, not to mention the lost work, time, and opportunities associated with the shutdown. I dream of a future when our federal government realizes that timely and sufficient funding of ocean scientific research in all of our federal agencies is just as important as areas like defense and energy.
Climate Of North American Cities Will Shift Hundreds Of Miles In One Generation
In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away—or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today. A new study and interactive web application, from University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and North Carolina State University, aim to help the public understand how climate change will impact the lives of people who live in urban areas of the United States and Canada.
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