The Wrack

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

I Heart Estuaries

Posted by | January 31, 2013 | Filed under: Culture

Hands make a heart over Little River estuary

[ Note: This post is from 2013. Numbers change year to year, but the urgency to speak for estuaries never diminishes. ]

It seems like every year, every budget cycle, there's another call to action. Each year, the situation is supposedly more dire than ever. "This is the year when the buck may finally stop here," they say. "We could lose everything this time," they say.

And yet, Congress always seems to come through, the government stays open, the status quo continues, and, after every mobilization, we go back to our immobility.

But maybe this year is different. In my memory, and in the memory of everyone I've talked to, there's never been as precipitous a time in Washington, D.C.

This year, it may actually be more dire than ever.

Budget Background

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration annually funds the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, of which the Wells Reserve is proudly a part. The budget for these 28 reserves is roughly $20 million, a mere footnote in the Commerce Department budget.

But in this coming federal budget year, already so contentious, our little line item for our 28 little reserves, equivalent to 0.0005% of the budget, is facing a 20% cut.

To the federal budget, that's a couple minutes of interest on the debt.

To the Wells Reserve, and to our brother and sister estuary organizations, it's a looming catastrophe. At a time when the seas are rising faster than ever, when the storms are blowing in, when land trusts across southern Maine are leaning more than ever on the expertise and capabilities of the Wells Reserve… Well, it looks like just when the world needs us to stand up, the rug is going to get pulled out from under us.

So we need your help. Here's our call to action.

Show Your Love for Estuaries

This Valentine's month, while Congress deliberates over a budget that includes, way down at the bottom, the reserve system's vital "programs and operations" funds, we're asking friends and families to remind their representatives that places like the Wells Reserve at Laudholm matter.

Please email, write, or call your local Congressional offices and tell them:

"I love my estuary. Please keep its funding level in the coming budget year."

Across the country, between February 12 and 14, friends of estuaries and marshes and seabound rivers are raising their voices. Please join their chorus and help us continue to keep this great place open, vital, and essential.

Our district's elected officials on Capitol Hill are:


The Honorable Susan Collins
160 Main Street
Biddeford ME 04005
Tweet @SenatorCollins

The Honorable Angus King
227 Main Street
Biddeford ME 04005
Tweet @SenAngusKing


The Honorable Chellie Pingree
2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304
Portland ME 04101
Tweet @chelliepingree

Good, Better, Best


  • Telephone, email, or tweet Maine's federal legislators (info above)
  • Share the "I Heart Estuaries" campaign with your Facebook friends


  • Explore and use the "I Heart Estuaries" campaign materials on the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association blog
  • Extend your outreach to appropriations committees (and their members) in the House and Senate (info at NERRA blog)


  • Write a cordial and concise note to each of Maine's federal legislators and put it in the mail. Use a postcard, letterhead, nice stationery, or a Valentine's card. Say why you love estuaries and ask for level funding in FY14.
  • Ask your friends and family to get involved

One Last Thing

Want to take direct action by eating and drinking for this good cause, enjoying the company of friends, listening to the jazz piano improvisations of our local intern, and spending a night on the town in Kennebunkport the evening before Valentine's Day? Join us at One Dock on Wednesday, February 13th, and raise a "toast to the coast"!

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