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Remarks on S. 910, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2020

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of S. 910, the National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2020.

For decades, the Sea Grant College Program has provided essential oceans-focused research and support for our communities nation-wide and especially now as we face the impacts of climate change on coastal communities. The bill before us today would authorize an increase in funding for our Sea Grant programs and enhance our efforts to study, conserve and effectively use U.S. coastal resources.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on our coasts, including throughout my Hawai’i where coastal roads are crumbling as sea level rise and erosion take their toll. Coral reefs, which are vital resources for our ecosystems and provide protection from storm surges to our coasts, are facing mass bleaching events due to warming waters. Fish stocks are moving from traditional areas because of warming waters. The Sea Grant Program works with communities to research these issues and many more to provide useful information to make informed management decisions based on science.

The University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) is a prime example of focus on critical issues related to sustainable coastal development, tourism, hazard resiliency, sustainable aquaculture, indigenous knowledge, and the impacts of climate change. In all of its efforts, Hawai‘i Sea Grant strives to promote stewardship of Hawai‘i’s coastal ecosystems and increase public awareness of the need to preserve and protect Hawai‘i’s precious marine resources.

Just some Hawai‘i Sea Grant impacts in 2018 included:

  • Created or sustained 43 jobs for an economic benefit of at least $4.2 million
  • Generated $6.8 million in leveraged funds, resulting in a return on the federal investment of approximately 200%
  • Supported the education and training of 53 undergraduates and graduate students
  • Assisted 47 communities throughout Hawai‘i with implementing sustainable development practices and policies
  • Helped 762 fishers adopt safe and sustainable fishing practices
  • Educated over 300,000 K-12 students in Hawai‘i through Sea Grant education activities
  • Helped restore an estimated 5,500 acres of coastal ecosystems
  • Improved community resilience statewide through outreach and distribution of more than 75,000 copies of the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards publication

These impacts prove the longstanding importance of Sea Grant to many such communities nationwide. I am proud to support this continued work and urge all my colleagues to pass S. 910.

Thank you and I yield back.

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