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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Alphabet Soup and the Budget

Posted by | March 3, 2015 | Filed under: Culture

Paul's off to Washington this week for the annual alphabet soup convention, a/k/a budget pushing time in DC. The first week of March is customarily when NOAA's CZM programs — the NERRS and the SGCPs — get together with EPA's NEPs for a few days on the hill. Reserve director Dest will hunch over the tureen with his colleagues to taste test their parent agencies' justifications for spending. They'll explore nuances and compare notes, discerning seasonings before whisking to their respective Congressional offices to explain why the assembled ingredients blend to perfection.

A bowl of alphabet soup. Adapted from a photograph by strawberryblues [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.The estuarine reserves make a palatable mélange. Operating the 28 sites requires less than 4% of the National Ocean Service (NOS) budget and just 0.3% of NOAA's $6 billion request.

NOAA's budget estimates for fiscal year 2016 soak up 800+ pages, which most of us can take only a tablespoon at a time. But the agency has kindly simplified life for moms and dads and you and me by condensing that stock pot into an easy-open, ready-to-serve summary.

In that summary, which you can download below, NOAA Administrator Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan introduces her administration as "America’s environmental intelligence agency."

Cover from NOAA's FY 2016 Budget SummaryWe provide timely, reliable, and actionable information — based on sound science — every day to millions of Americans. NOAA’s products and services are used by decision makers around the country to better understand risk and prepare for the future. We’re helping people, communities, businesses, and governments make smart decisions that directly impact the future of society, the economy, and the environment.

Dr. Sullivan goes on to emphasize the importance of NOAA's work for community resiliency:

The FY 2016 budget request will improve NOAA’s ability to provide people, communities, businesses, and governments with information they can understand and use to make smart decisions, assess risk, and minimize losses. With the foresight provided through environmental intelligence, communities can mitigate coastal flooding through natural shorelines, fishery managers can better account for changing ocean temperatures and acidification, and different economic sectors can position themselves to take advantage of our changing climate.

The reserve system's research, monitoring, and coastal training programs align beautifully with NOAA's needs — and they're a real bargain at the checkout line.


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