Category: Policy News

This is an example of an off-bottom oyster culture technique used today in New England. (Credit: NOAA)

Sea Grant Supports A Culture Of Success

Imagine a trip to the Chesapeake Bay without feasting on their iconic oysters. In recent years, wild oyster populations have been devastated by factors both manmade and natural. Although wild-caught oysters face restoration issues, aquaculture (which is essentially seafood farming) is a growing industry providing shellfish to the market. After success in the Chesapeake region, entrepreneurs around the country have jumped on board over the past three decades to begin their own aquaculture businesses raising oysters, fish, and even seaweed.

A sustainable fishery is one that is harvested at a sustainable rate, where the fish population does not decline over time due to fishing practices. (Credit: NOAA)

A Blue Revolution

Imagine our country being on the verge of a second Industrial Revolution – an economic boom so powerful that it alters the United States economy – and the world’s – forever. This is the picture Dr. Doug McCauley (Assistant Professor, Marine Science Institute, University of California Santa Barbara) painted at the beginning of a congressional briefing, hosted by COMPASS, entitled “Counting on Ocean Benefits: A science briefing on the links between the ocean, our economy, and human well-being.”

Geoscience plays a critical role in seaport infrastructure.

We’d Face A Rocky Road Without Geoscience

When most people enter a hiking trail with several days’ worth of food, they’re at the start of a camping adventure. For residents of Big Sur, California, they’re making one of many weekly trips back from the grocery store. Four months ago, a mudslide collapsed a bridge, making the small hiking path the only access to the outside world for much of Big Sur.

For NFIP policyholders, premiums rose after Superstorm Sandy. (Wikipedia)

A Stormy Debate Ensues Over Flood Insurance Reauthorization

After a recent series of severe storms over several years resulted in $24.6 billion of debt, Democrats and Republicans agreed that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could be improved before reauthorization. They disagreed, however, on how to make that happen.

Dr. William Easterling will lead the Geosciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation starting in June 2017. (Credit: NSF)

Skinny Science Budget: Not a Good Model

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports critical and potentially life-saving research across the United States, such as studies to predict risks associated with earthquakes and tsunamis along the Cascadia subduction zone. The president’s budget recommendation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 for NSF is $6.65 billion, an 11 percent decrease from the enacted budget for FY 2017. This is the only time a president has ever proposed a cut to the agency’s top line in its 67-year history.

Red snapper (credit: Wikipedia commons)

Red Snapper And Proposed Budget Cuts Snap Attention Of Senators During Appropriations Committee Hearing

The Department of Commerce (DOC) touches your life in more ways than you’d imagine, impacting areas from trade to economic development to weather forecasting. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science held a hearing to discuss the president’s budget recommendations for the DOC for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. Senators from both sides of the aisle were concerned with the proposed steep cuts, which represent a 15.8 percent decrease from FY 2017 enacted levels and highlighted programs, including Sea Grant, that have tremendous returns on investment for their states.

A true-color NASA satellite mosaic of Earth. (Credit: NASA)

Proposed NASA Budget Aims For Mars But Misses Earth

Imagine what our knowledge of the world today would be like without satellite images of Earth. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Earth Sciences mission has fundamentally altered and improved our understanding of the atmosphere, ocean, land, weather, climate, and ecosystems – and now, the resources that support this science are under attack.

Deficiencies in offshore drilling management highlighted in House committee hearing. (Credit: Adam Dean/New York Times)

Is This What A Balanced Budget Looks Like?

Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) Ryan Zinke had his hands full fielding concerns from Democrats and Republicans as he defended the president’s budget request for the DOI in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. While he called the proposal one that “reflects the Administration’s commitment to strengthen America’s economic and energy security, focus on the nation’s infrastructure, be responsible stewards of magnificent lands, encourage public access for outdoor recreation, and strengthen tribal sovereignty and support self-determination,” Ranking Member Betty McCollum (MN-4) called the president’s proposal (which cuts DOI by 13 percent ($1.6 billion) and funding for climate change research and mitigation by 80 percent) “unacceptable.”