The US government this week announced it will invest nearly US$50 million (~€45.7 million) from the Inflation Reduction Act to make infrastructure improvements to facilities at six national marine sanctuaries across the country.
The new funding will make the facilities, including visitor and community centers, more resilient to climate change, improve the facilities’ capacity to engage in research and conservation, and help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration inspire the public to be good stewards of the country’s coasts, Great Lakes and ocean.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said:
“NOAA’s national marine sanctuaries facilities are a gateway to our greatest underwater treasures — and key to maintaining them. This funding will help ensure facilities are resilient in a changing climate, and represent President Biden’s commitment to investing in America and furthering the conservation and restoration of our coasts and Great Lakes.”
NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad added:
“NOAA’s facilities — many of which are located along the coast and Great Lakes — are not immune from climate hazards. This funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will strengthen NOAA’s sanctuary facilities so they are prepared for climate change, and able to better serve visitors as they explore and learn about our ocean and coasts.”
The facilities projects include Monterey Bay ($7 million), Stellwagen Bank ($15 million), Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale ($17 million), Greater Farallones ($2 million), Mallows Bay ($5 million) and Olympic Coast ($3 million) national marine sanctuaries, according to NOAA.
John Armor, director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said:
“This investment in the future of national marine sanctuaries could not have come at a better time as many of our sanctuaries have a backlog of infrastructure and deferred maintenance projects. This funding will improve access at facilities across the country, enhance climate resilience, and help us create a sense of shared stewardship for America’s most iconic natural and cultural marine resources.”
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation President and CEO Joel Johnson lauded the move:
“This historic investment in sanctuary infrastructure through the Inflation Reduction Act is a boon to local economies, especially coastal communities on the frontline of climate change. It will lead to greater access to our sanctuaries, grow understanding of our shared history, and spur climate resiliency action.
“We need to ensure that sanctuaries continue to serve as economic engines for communities, learning and discovery hubs, and sources of hope in the fight against climate change. We applaud NOAA, the administration and the sanctuary champions in Congress for making this a priority.”
For more details about the funding, go to noaa.gov.