U.S. Representatives Mike Levin and Brian Mast have introduced the bipartisan Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act to strengthen federal efforts to protect estuary habitats like the San Mateo Creek, San Luis Rey River, San Elijo Lagoon, and many others.
Their bill reauthorizes funding for the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program at $60 million per year through 2026, which will provide crucial resources to help state and local governments preserve the conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, and aesthetic values of estuaries, and also adds climate change mitigation as one of the program’s goals.
The bill also directs the Secretary of Commerce to designate at least five new National Estuarine Research Reserves, and would increase the authorization for the program to $47 million to account for the increased number of reserves.
According to the officials, that funding would support institutions like the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve.
“Our Congressional district is home to many cherished lagoons and other estuaries that are important for local ecosystems, recreation, and more,” said Rep. Levin.
“It’s critical that we invest in preserving these lands and waterways for surrounding habitats and communities, and to help mitigate the effects of climate change.”
The Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act also strengthens the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, a network of 30 coastal sites covering 1.4 million acres designated to protect and study estuarine systems.
The reserves specialize in research and data monitoring to support conservation and management efforts locally and around the country.
The bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to designate at least five new National Estuarine Research Reserves and increases the authorization for the program to $47 million to account for the increased number of reserves.