National Endowment for the Oceans

Many of you have followed and supported the National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) and we now have some good news to share.

In a strong bipartisan vote of 68 to 31, the Senate approved the amendment by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which would establish a National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes. This permanent federal endowment could provide a steady funding stream that states, universities, communities, non-profit groups and government agencies could count on to support ocean, coastal and Great Lakes research and restoration projects. Money from the endowment could be used to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean and Great Lakes monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.

The National Endowment for the Oceans was added to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that is currently being considered on the Senate floor. The WRDA bill is still far from final passage, so enactment into law is far from certain. And while the amendment language establishes the endowment, it does not yet provide funding. Actual dollars for the endowment will have to be allocated by Congress later. But the establishment of an endowment would be a major first step, and today’s strong bipartisan vote on the Senate floor in support of the oceans is a huge victory.

As the National Endowment for the Oceans still has multiple steps before it becomes a reality, we’ll be sure to keep you apprised of the legislation’s progress. And if there is a point where we could use your help, we’ll certainly be in touch.

Thank you again for your continued attention to this important issue and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.


Susan Little Olcott

Outreach Manager, Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

60 Federal St

Brunswick, ME 04011

O: 207.721.0180

[email protected]

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