On May 23, 2017 President Trump issued his federal fiscal year 2018 budget, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” In that budget, the National Estuary Program (NEP) received $0 in funding. This would be for a period to begin October 1, 2018 for PREP (16 months from now). Also receiving $0 are the Coastal Zone Management Program (NH Coastal Program), The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NH’s Great Bay NERR), and the Sea Grant Program (NH Sea Grant at UNH).
Over the next few months Congress will be working to develop a budget that responds to the President’s Budget and includes funding for their priorities as well. Also on May 23rd, a Senate letter of support for the National Estuary Program was sent to Senate Appropriations, requesting funding of $700,000 per NEP in the FY18 budget. Both Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan signed onto this bi-partisan letter along with 18 others (see attached letter). This would represent an increase of $100,000 in annual funding for each NEP consistent with the language included in the NEP Reauthorization bill passed in 2016.
We remain optimistic given the strong bi-partisan congressional support for the work of the NEP that the FY18 will be another solid year for us. In the meantime, we will continue to be a resource to those interested in learning more about the value the NEP produces in our watersheds, our states, our regions and at a national level. We have thanked both our NH Senators for their support and ask you to do the same should you have the opportunity to do so.