The Bush Administration announced major budget increases totaling more than $140 million to support coastal and marine conservation efforts in Fiscal Year 2008, and released the administration's Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality James L. Connaughton, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Dr. John H. Marburger, III, and Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Dr. Arden Bement made the announcements today at the White House.
The President's Fiscal Year 2008 Budget requests more than $140 million over the 2007 budget request level
for high priority projects that will advance ocean science and research, protect and restore sensitive marine and coastal areas, ensure sustainable use of ocean resources and enhance domestic seafood supply through an environmentally sustainable offshore aquaculture industry.
Specifically, the President's budget increases programs at the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by $123 million, including $25 million for sustainable use of ocean resources, $38 million for protection and restoration of marine and coastal areas and $60 million for enhanced ocean science and research. It also includes $20 million for the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey to implement the Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy (ORPP). Of these funds, the Interior Department's U.S. Geological Survey will be provided $3 million for research, sea floor mapping, forecast models, and water quality monitoring in key coastal areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay.
The ORPP was developed to identify ocean research priorities for the next 10 years along with related infrastructure needs. Twenty-two research priorities have been identified under the overarching central themes of understanding and capability to forecast ocean processes and phenomena, scientific support for ecosystem-based management, and targeted deployment of an ocean observing system.