Miami Waterkeeper participated in Ocean Conservancy’s annual D.C. fly-in! General Counsel, Kelly Cox, represented Miami Waterkeeper in Washington D.C. as she spoke with members of Congress about the importance of supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) budget. The Trump administration recently proposed cuts to the Agency’s funding by 13%. A diverse range of industries and organizations rely on NOAA’s ocean, coastal, fisheries, and Great Lakes programs. In fact, the United States ocean economy contributes $352 billion annually to the nation’s GDP and supports 3 million jobs, according to the Ocean Conservancy.
In an effort to rally support around fully funding NOAA’s budget, Miami Waterkeeper and numerous partners from around the country convened in Washington D.C. to tell members of Congress local stories of the impact of NOAA on our communities.
Miami Waterkeeper has been a NOAA partner and grant recipient for several years through Biscayne Bay Habitat Focus Area, a part of NOAA's Habitat Blueprint program. This critical federal support has made our educational programs like Day on the Bay, Junior Ambassadors, 1,000 Eyes on the Water, and other technical work possible. Kelly spoke to members of Congress about the impact of this program on addressing land-based sources of pollution and their impacts on Biscayne Bay.
Kelly also spoke to members about the importance of coral reef protection and the threats of dredging projects to corals in Port Everglades and PortMiami. She also noted the importance of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center which sits on Virginia Key in Miami and is an essential component of the marine science community in South Florida. Fully funding NOAA would mean supporting this important institution in South Florida and the critical research coming out of it.
Miami Waterkeeper was joined by fishing guide Captain Benny Blanco, commercial fishing Captain Casey Streeter, and Ocean Conservancy staffers Daniel Ochoa and Reggie Paros. This “Florida team” met with multiple offices including Congressman Brian Mast, Congressman Charlie Crist, Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Rutherford, and Senator Marco Rubio.
To learn more about Miami Waterkeeper’s work with the support of NOAA, please visit https://www.miamiwaterkeeper.org/biscayne_bay_habitat_focus_area.