Conserving America’s Underwater National Treasures
Today, America’s National Marine Sanctuary System conserves some of the Nation’s most critical natural, historic and cultural resources such as the USS Monitor, Midway Island, sacred heritage sites for Native Americans, and some of the largest and oldest corals in the world. They are home to millions of species, preserve our nation’s maritime heritage, and promote public access for exploration and world-class outdoor recreation and enjoyment for future generations. Sanctuaries also serve as living laboratories for American students and STEM education.
Every dollar of public investment in sanctuaries stimulates a greater return on investment for our communities. Sanctuaries generate $8 billion annually in local economies and support numerous jobs and businesses in the fishing, tourism, recreation, and scientific research sectors. Sanctuary visitor centers, vessels, and facilities are key assets for communities; stimulate public-private partnerships on emerging technologies, cutting edge science, and hands on education; and attract millions of visitors to the coasts each year.
Speak Up for Increased Marine Sanctuary Funding
The 2019 federal budgeting process is underway and our elected officials are currently deciding what to fund to ensure their constituents’ priorities are supported.
As the national non-profit partner and chief advocate for America’s national marine and Great Lakes sanctuaries, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is connecting Americans to these treasured places, galvanizing grassroots communities that depend upon these places, and mobilizing passionate citizens to be a voice for and take actions in support of national marine sanctuaries.
The Foundation also works with the Administration and Congress to ensure that sanctuaries can continue to foster economic growth, support fishing and tourism jobs, preserve underwater and maritime treasures for our children and grandchildren, and provide critical public access for ocean recreation, research, and education.
For Fiscal Year 2019, join the Foundation in urging Congress to prioritize public investment in national marine sanctuaries at no less than $65.5 million. This request would provide the resources needed to:
- Strengthen community engagement across the National Marine Sanctuary System;
- Support the groundswell of community interest to expand sites, or nominate and designate new ones;
- Conduct cooperative research efforts to improve science and management in these living laboratories;
- Utilize new technologies and improve outreach and education efforts that empowers Americans to explore “under the surface” of these iconic places;
- Promote tourism growth and improve sanctuary visitor experience at key sanctuaries;
- Address a backlog of needs for sanctuary vessels, visitor centers, facilities, and signage improvements and ADA compliance; and
- Establish a Sanctuary Challenge Fund, modeled after the highly successful National Park Service Centennial Fund, that would match public investment at least 1:1 by non-federal donations to enhance the sanctuary visitor experience.
It’s time to invest in community-based national marine sanctuaries. Tell your Members of Congress to support the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at no less than $65.5 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. Sign our letter today to support our national marine sanctuaries.