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Kiggans, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Protect Coastal Ecosystems

Jen Kiggans

Posted on January 3, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC: Congresswoman Jen Kiggans announced that she has joined Representatives Mike Levin (CA-49), Brian Mast (FL-21), and Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) to introduce the bipartisan Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act. This legislation would strengthen federal efforts to protect coastal and estuary habitats by reauthorizing and revitalizing the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) and requiring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to designate five new National Estuarine Research Reserves in the next five years.

“Coastal Virginia is blessed to be home to a large network of estuaries and other wetlands that act as critical barriers against hurricanes, tropical storms, and other natural disasters,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “Through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, we can provide state and local governments the resources they need ensure these lands in southeast Virginia and around the country are protected. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bipartisan bill to preserve our wetlands and coastal communities!”

“Our cherished lagoons and estuaries are vitally important to the stability of our environment and economy. It’s crucial that we help our coastal communities preserve these natural resources and better prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Rep. Levin. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act to reauthorize a successful program that will allow us to better meet today’s environmental needs and safeguard coastal environments for future generations.”

“Healthy estuaries are critical to the Pacific NW’s economy and way of life,” said Rep. Bonamici. “I’m glad to partner with my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to protect these important waterways and sustain our coastal communities now and into the future.”

The Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act is endorsed by the Coastal States Organization, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, Oceana, National Audubon Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, American Sportfishing Association, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Restore America’s Estuaries.

“The Coastal Zone Management Act is an essential law in balancing the multiple uses of America’s coasts and ensuring every state can manage its own coastline. The Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act takes an important step in updating this seminal law to better allow for conservation of coastal land, improve estuarine research and provide more public access opportunities in an era of massive coastal change due to sea level rise, intensifying storms, and increased offshore energy production,” said Derek Brockbank, Executive Director of Coastal States Organization.

“As the challenges facing the coasts intensify, we need a Coastal Zone Management Act that reflects the issues of today—one that does more to help communities meet the impacts of a changing climate,” says Rebecca Roth, Director of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA). “We applaud Representatives Levin, Mast, Bonamici, and Kiggans for proposing this bipartisan re-authorization of a unique and visionary legislation that will benefit the economy and our well-being, generations to come.”

“Local nonprofits play a crucial role in addressing environmental issues that affect their communities. We are part of the local community and positioned to provide critical services and support at a grassroots level,” said Nature Collective’s Executive Director and Principal Scientist Doug Gibson. “Let’s all work collectively to set aside estuarine lands and waters so everyone can connect with, experience, and protect nature.”


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