Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise sent this statement to program friends and partners on March 27, 2018. It updates information in a statement he released six weeks earlier: (https://seagrant.uconn.edu/?p=2994).
I write to follow up on my recent communication about Sea Grant’s situation in the federal budget. As you know, Sea Grant is once again zeroed out in the FY19 President’s budget. I heard from members of our delegation that they have heard from numerous stakeholders and are once again mobilizing their colleagues in supporting Sea Grant. Last month, Sen. Murphy and 22 of his Senate colleagues wrote a letter to President Trump, urging him to reinstate Sea Grant in the FY19 President’s budget. Earlier this month, Rep. Courtney and Rep. Zeldin collected 107 signatures (nearly a quarter of the House members!) on a “Dear Colleague” letter to the House Appropriations Committee to support Sea Grant. I heard yesterday that Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are filing a joint request to the Senate Appropriations Committee to support Sea Grant and other programs related to Long Island Sound. This would not have happened without your support and willingness to weigh in with members of Congress, thank you! Now we have to see how the FY19 federal budget process develops.
You may also have heard that at the end of last week, Congress passed and the President signed a FY18 budget omnibus to finalize the FY18 budget process, after two government shut downs and several Continuing Resolutions, and nearly six months into the fiscal year. As part of the omnibus, Sea Grant was not only preserved and fully restored, but it got a raise! The budget provides $65M for the Sea Grant base budget, a $2M increase over last year, and $11.5M for aquaculture, a $2M increase over last year. Once again, this would not have happened without your support, thank you. Our Connecticut delegation has been very active and took national leadership in this effort to maintain and grow Sea Grant, thank them when you see them. Continuous funding for Sea Grant will allow us to continue to provide services to our stakeholders in support of thriving coastal ecosystems and communities.
On behalf of our program and stakeholders, thank you all for your continued support.