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Interior’s Secretary Jewell Announces New Wildlife and Climate Studies at the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that Interior’s Pacific Islands Climate Science Center is awarding more than $700,000 to universities and other partners for research to guide managers of parks, refuges and other cultural and natural resources in planning how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

“Even as we take new steps to cut carbon pollution, we must also prepare for the impacts of a changing climate that are already being felt across the country,” said Secretary Jewell. “These new studies, and others that are ongoing, will help provide valuable, unbiased science that land managers and others need to identify tools and strategies to foster resilience in resources across landscapes in the face of climate change.”

The six funded studies will focus on how climate change will affect natural resources and management actions that can be taken to help offset such change. They include:

Assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change in Hawai`i and other Pacific Island ecosystems by expanding and improving a novel model to identify which plants are vulnerable most to continuing change. This model, developed by federal, state and non-profit organizations, will allow project leads to respond to the needs of resource managers for such species vulnerability assessment to help inform adaptation decisions regionally and locally for some nearly 2000 plant species, and to prioritize their conservation actions.

Understanding how native and non-native Hawaiian forests will respond to climate change to help resource managers plan for and make effective adaptation and other decisions to slow the spread of invasive species and to keep Hawai`i’s native ecosystems, streams and forests healthy.

Assessing coral reef vulnerability in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific. Climate change poses the single greatest long-term threat to coral reefs and is expected to result in more frequent severe tropical storms and more frequent and severe coral bleaching events. Coral reefs are additionally stressed by human activities, including coastal development and overfishing. This project will assess the resilience potential of coral reefs in the Commonwealth; results will help managers target actions that support and build reef resilience.

Developing a pilot decision-support tool for coral reef management that can map, assess, value and simulate changes in ecosystem services under alternative climate scenarios and adaptation strategies. Ecosystem services are the benefits that people receive from ecosystems such as coral reefs, which provide recreation and food among other benefits. This tool will help decision makers understand the social and economic tradeoffs of their management and adaptation decisions.

Preparing for the impacts of climate change on Pacific Island coral reefs. The research team will use a system of models that will ultimately identify reef areas that are either vulnerable or resilient to the many stressors that the future may hold. Such models can identify areas that might benefit from management actions to minimize local stressors such as land-based pollution, and it will directly provide scientific knowledge to aid in planning for adaptation to climate change.

Providing the best possible projections of future climate change at a regional scale for the islands of Kaui`i and O`ahu. Although the Pacific Islands are notable in their vulnerability to climate change, they have received considerably less attention than more populated areas in climate models. This project will fill that gap in providing downscaled models that will be provided to resource managers for helping them make more effective planning and management decisions.

In Hawai`i and the Pacific Islands, changing climate already is a reality for urban and rural communities, cultural life ways and sites, watersheds, ecosystems and hundreds of imperiled species in this vast oceanic domain of island, atoll and marine ecosystems. “It is vital that we work on climate change effects now to better prepare our communities, ecosystems and species for the future,” said David Helweg, director of Interior’s Pacific Islands Climate Science Center. “These studies are designed for the people who need them: managers, policy makers, and community leaders already grappling with the effects of climate change.”

Each of the Department of the Interior’s eight Climate Science Centers worked with states, tribes, community leaders, federal agencies, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, universities supporting the CSCs and other regional partners to identify the highest priority management challenges in need of scientific input, and to solicit and select research projects.

The studies will be undertaken by teams of scientists and students from the universities that comprise the Pacific Islands CSC, from USGS science centers, and from other partners such as the State and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USDA Forest Service and the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives in the region.

The eight DOI Climate Science Centers form a national network and are coordinated by the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center,located at the headquarters of Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey. CSCs and LCCs have been created under Interior’s strategy to address the impacts of climate change on America’s waters, land, and other natural and cultural resources. Together, Interior’s CSCs and LCCs will assess the impacts of climate change and other landscape-scale stressors that typically extend beyond the borders of any single national wildlife refuge, national park or Bureau of Land Management unit and will identify strategies to ensure that resources across landscapes are resilient in the face of climate change.

The Pacific Islands Climate Science Center is hosted by the University of Hawai`i, Manoa, along with the University of Hawai`i, Hilo, and the University of Guam.

2013-2014 Coral Reef Resilience to Climate Change in CNMI; Field-based Assessments and Implications for Vulnerability and Future Management Laurie Raymundo (Marine Laboratory, University of Guam)
Jeffrey Mayndar (UNCW Center for Marine Science)
2013-2015 Expanding a Dynamic Model of Species Vulnerability to Climate Change for Hawai`i and Other Pacific Island Ecosystems Lucas Fortini (Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center (PIERC))
2013-2015 Future Coral Reef Community Projections of DOI-Managed Coastal Assets in the Hawaiian Islands Erik Franklin (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
2013-2015 Understanding the Response of Native and Non‐native Forests to Climate Variability and Change to Support Resource Management in Hawai`i Thomas Giambelluca (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
2013-2016 Valuing Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reef Ecosystem Services (Aloha InVest) Kirsten Oleson (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
2013-2015 Very Fine Resolution Dynamical Downscaling of Past and Future Climates for Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on the Islands of O`ahu and Kaua`i Yuqing Wang (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)

 

This Process Called Plate Tectonics

I freaking love this…. apparently some teacher is pretty creative and funny!

Lyrics by Dan Reed
Music: “Royals” by Lorde

I wanted to make a fun way for my students to get content stuck in their heads.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/1NJz8UJEWCM]

LYRICS:
Alfred Wegener wrote the draft.
He said these continents look like pieces
Of a puzzle.
And everyone who knew him laughed.
They wanted proof of cause.
They wanted more than fossils.

But now we know that
Sea-floor
Spreading
Makes new ocean floor.
Subducting
Ocean trench
Fuels a new volcano.
—-
What’s the cause?
Convection currents in the mantle
Drive a process called
plate tectonics.
Don’t say that you’re leery.
Earthquakes,
Magnetism,
What a great theory!
It makes sense.
There’s so much evidence.

And there’s so much construction.
Mountains being built,
The Grand Canyon has been lifted.
Recite these words, I’d say you’re gifted.
Lava from volcanoes
Build up the surface Earth.
Maybe let them cool,
See a whole new landform birth.

You know this movement has to flow.
Tectonic plates collide and cause
Such friction.
And when the energy builds up slow,
The seismic force released,
It kinda sounds like fiction.

But every quake’s like
P-waves,
S-waves,
Focus in the lithosphere.
Surface waves,
Most destructive,
What’s that rumble I hear?
—-
What’s the cause?
Convection currents in the mantle
Drive a process called
plate tectonics.
Don’t say that you’re leery.
Earthquakes,
Magnetism,
What a great theory!
It makes sense.
There’s so much evidence.

There’s the Ring of Fire
Around Pacific Plate.
You know that faults have landforms rifted.
Recite these words I’d say you’re gifted.
And there’s so much subduction,
Volcanic island arcs.
Now while you’re in school,
Tell me how tsunamis start.

Hot… Spots…
Hawaii is an island chain.
And you can get there on a plane.
Hot… Spots…
The path isn’t really straight.
It follows the Pacific Plate.

That’s plate tectonics,
But there’s so much more.
You know these continents have drifted.
Recite these words I’d say you’re gifted.
Mid-ocean ridges
Pull Europe and us away.
We’re moving slow.
An inch per year’s the spreading rate.

Eight To Be Recognized as 2013 Stars of Oceania

The University of Hawai‘i Pacific Business Center Program’s planning committee announced that eight women of and from Oceania will be honored at the third “Stars of Oceania” recognition dinner December 3, 2013 at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Oceana DinnerThe keynote speaker for event is Deputy Director Esther Kia’aina of the Hawaii State Government Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ms. Kia’aina is also a presidential appointee currently in the confirmation process in Washington D.C. as Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs to the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii president and CEO, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening. Reverend Dr. Fran Palama will chant the oli to commence the evening and the UH ROTC will present and retire the colors for the event.

“Primarily we wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Pacific Islanders and residents not born and raised as such, but whose heart and service is testimony to their love for the islands they call home.  Their impacts are felt in and from Hawai‘i as well as other parts of the Pacific, the nation and the world. Each represents multiple dimensions of leadership to overcome challenges with Aloha, courage, faith and perseverance in their fields of endeavor,” stated UH Pacific Business Center Program Director, Dr. Tusi Avegalio, the primary organizer of the event.  These women inspire us to look forward to the flowering of a vision where everyone is a Star of Oceania and committed part of the vast constellation of hope, faith, courage and Aloha that will restore alignment, balance and harmony to a world so lacking in it.

The “Stars of Oceania” was inaugurated in 2006 with the intent to continue every three to four years. This year’s recognition dinner is not an award or reward ceremony for distinguished service, but to recognize and acknowledge these outstanding women for doing the right thing.  All have been rewarded and awarded on many occasions and deservedly so. The “Stars of Oceania” recognizes that the attributes of service and sacrifice to raise the common good is much like Aloha, not an attribute of a particular culture, ethnicity nor geographical boundary. The event honors one’s sense of humanity.

 

2013 Honorees

1.  Dr. Sela Panapasa                      Rotuma, Fiji

Health Leadership. Conducting research, analysis and reporting from the University of Michigan that is impacting the Pacific region and the U.S. regarding elderly care and policy development for health and nutrition for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

2. Dr. Diane Ragone                        Virginia

Humanitarian Leadership. Director of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens Breadfruit Institute. Her work on breadfruit to feed the hungry of the world has impacted disaster stricken areas in the Caribbean and Africa where mass planting of trees from Hawai‘i have fed hundreds of thousands over the decade.

3. Dr. Tin Myaing Thein       Myanmar

Compassionate Leadership. Executive Director of the Pacific Gateway Center where she leads programs that help refugees, the destitute and victims of human trafficking where many of the victims are young girls and women. Although her work often places her in at risk situations, she continues to help locals as well as immigrants from the Pacific and Asia with social and economic adjustment needs.

4. Beadie Kanahele Dawson         Hawaii

Community Leadership. Community activist, attorney, business woman and entrepreneur who stood bold and resolute in the protection of a legacy of promise by Ke Alii Pauahi Bishop for Native Hawaiians, her knowledge, wisdom and Aloha secured the legacy for her people for generations to come. She leaves behind a legacy of courage, cultural stewardship and economic development initiatives that seek balance between traditional wisdom and modern knowledge.

5. Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel           Samoa

Courage Leadership. Mother, diplomat, traditional leader and fautasi long boat skipper, successful business woman and entrepreneur. Overcame tremendous challenges and shattered the gender barrier by entering a traditional, men’s only long boat race as the first women ever to do so, and winning the 50th anniversary celebration fautasi race of her country. Her acceptance of victory with traditional respect, humility and salutations to the chiefs and spiritual leaders of her country endeared her as a standard of excellence for the youth of her developing island nation.

6.  Susan O’Connor               Montana

Spiritual leadership. Social and global activist for world peace and harmony. Facilitated national and international gatherings in Hawai‘i, established programs to support the social, economic and spiritual needs for native Hawaiians in Hana and built a retreat area as a portal for peace and harmony with Aloha and Hawaiian values at the core to all who seek a peaceful place for reflection, balance and harmony in life.

7. Dr. Takiora Ingram                       Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Regional leadership. Regional environmental leader, Coordinator of the Pacific Regional Ocean Partnership, promoting health and stewardship of the Pacific Ocean’s resources,  and former Executive Director of the All Islands Coral Reef Committee Secretariat based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.  Provides effective leadership and coordination of the U.S. Pacific Islands and the Federal government to sustainably manage ocean resources and promote stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.

8.  Angela Williams             Virginia

Empowering Leadership. Retired U.S. Department of the Interior senior policy analyst who established the Pacific Business Center Program and a high impact internship program that has made significant contributions to local capacity building, and economic and small business development throughout the U.S. Territories, particularly Micronesia.  Graduates are serving in leadership positions throughout the U.S. Territories in the Pacific as vital building blocks for developing U.S. island Territories in the region.

General tickets for the event are $75.00. Students are $50.00. Sponsored tables: Kalo tables of 10 are $750.00; Niu tables of 10 are $1,500.00; and Ulu tables of 10 are $2,500.00.  Sponsored tables and seats that are donated will be extended to women of Hawai‘i who could not attend otherwise or as designated.  Checks should be made out to the University of Hawaii Foundation and reference “Stars of Oceania” and mailed with the registration form to Stars of Oceania, c/o UH Pacific Business Center Program, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Shidler College of Business, 2404 Maile Way, A413, Honolulu, HI 96822

For more information about the 2013 Stars of Oceania Dinner visit http://pbcphawaii.com or contact the Pacific Business Center Program at the University of Hawaii at (808) 956-6286 for Dr. Tusi Avegalio (fa@hawaii.edu), Renata Matcheva (matcheva@hawaii.edu) or Michelle Clark (mlc@hawaii.edu).

“The Planning Committee composed of Cha Thompson, Leslie Wilcox, Crissy Gayagas, Wendy Loh, Jensin Sommer, Ramsay Taum and Renata Matcheva have been hard at work,” said Avegalio. “As I reflect on the Year of the Women 2013 Stars of Oceania and efforts towards making it happen, I’m reminded of a quote by Margaret Mead, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

 

Coast Guard Conducts Harbor Tour with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with the U.S. Coast Guard on Oahu and conducted a tour of Honolulu Harbor, Friday.

Tulsi Coast Guard

Rear Adm. Charles W. Ray, 14th Coast Guard District commander, hosted the tour and provided Gabbard an up close look at Coast Guard operations in and around the Port of Honolulu. Gabbard received a briefing at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center where she observed how the Coast Guard conducts search and rescue cases, responds to pollution incidents and maintains a law enforcement presence.

Tulsi Coast Guard Captain

She also visited the Coast Guard Cutters Morgenthau and Kukui where she spoke with the commanding officers and crew about their missions in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific.

 

Hawaii Turning Derelict Fishing Nets Into Electricity

A recent CNN news report has highlighted how fishermen in Hawaii are collecting discarded fishing nets and other waste items found in the Pacific as part of the Nets-to-Energy program on Hawaii.

Whale Snag

The nets recovered under the program are taken to Covanta’s waste to energy facility in Honolulu, which processes up to 3000 tons (2700 tonnes) per day on the island of Oahu, generating some 90MW – around 10% of the island’s total requirement.

In 2012 Covanta completed a 900 ton-per-day expansion of existing waste to energy facility, which included the addition of a third combustor unit, turbine/generator and associated air pollution control equipment.

According to the report up to 300,000 marine mammals are killed each year by rogue fishing nets swirling in the ocean.

The full report is below:

Hawaii turns derelict fishing nets into electricity. CNN’s Kyung Lah explains:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/y3I77r2X3Rk]

Four Two-Hundred Pound Robots to Land on the Big Island in Three Months

This is kind of similar to the EVOLTA robot that recently completed the IRONMAN triathlon on the Big Island only a bit different.

A Wave Glider

A Wave Glider

Four two-hundred pound solar robots, named “Wave Gliders” will embark on a mission across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to gather and harvest scientific data.

They are expected to land on the Big Island in approximately 90 days.

…They will first take a 2,500-mile voyage to the Big Island of Hawaii, then two will split off and head to Australia — a 6,500-mile trip — while the other two make their way to Japan, a 7,000 to 8,000-mile crossing. If and when they reach Hawaii on the initial leg of their mission, they will set a new Guinness record for the longest voyage made by an autonomous ocean robot.

The robots should arrive in Hawaii in about 90 days, then it will take another 210 days for them to reach Japan and Australia. That should put them at their destinations around Sept. 6, 2012…

More here: Robots to cross the Pacific to gather scientific data

You can check out the robots in action here:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/mLAwcXt8_3I]

NOAA PMEL wave gliders are a simple and cost-effective platform for collecting ocean data that does not rely on expensive ships or buoys. See http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/edd/wave_gliders.html

Bipartisan Group of Senators Announce Formation of Oceans Caucus

Whitehouse, Murkowski to Lead Group

With our oceans and coastal resources, and the economies and jobs they support, facing constant and increasingly direct pressure from a variety of sources, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators today met to form a new Senate Oceans Caucus.  The Caucus will work to increase awareness and find common ground in responding to issues facing the oceans and coasts, which support millions of jobs in America and contribute more to the country’s GDP than the entire farm sector, grossing more than $230 billion in 2004.

Senator Akaka speaks at a press conference today following the first meeting of the new Senate Oceans Caucus.

Senator Akaka speaks at a press conference today following the first meeting of the new Senate Oceans Caucus.

Following today’s inaugural meeting, the members announced that U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will serve as Caucus Co-Chairs.  Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), as Chair and Ranking Member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Senate Oceans Caucus to promote effective coordination with the subcommittee.  Other Caucus members are Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), John Kerry (D-MA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“I’m honored to join my colleagues today to announce the formation of the Senate Oceans Caucus,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “For coastal states like Rhode Island, our oceans are a vital part of our economy and our history, and we must take smart steps to manage and protect them as a resource for future generations.  This Caucus will work together on a bipartisan basis to help make that happen.”

“I am proud to represent both the Pacific and Arctic Ocean interests as the Senate Oceans Caucus begins our important work,” said Senator Murkowski.  “To Alaskans, our vast coastlines connect us to our farms and our factories for growth – whether it’s our bountiful fisheries or resource opportunities.  To an outlying state like Alaska, it’s also our interstate highway system for shipping, tourism and commerce.  We must make bipartisan decisions today to guard them as they help feed our future growth.”

During today’s meeting the senators adopted a founding charter which lays out the principles for the Caucus, and specifically discussed the following issues: international and domestic fisheries policy, gaps in ocean science, and challenges to ocean and coastal resource management.

“The oceans drive Alaska’s economy though commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing, tourism and international commerce,” said Senator Begich. “I welcome the formation of this caucus and its bipartisan approach to dealing with the many challenges and opportunities of our oceans.  As chair of the Oceans and Fish subcommittee I am pleased to see the Senate focus on this important resource that impacts every single one of us, and people around the globe.”

Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere and Coast Guard, said “Indisputably, the health of our watersheds and oceans is inextricably linked to the sustainability of our economy in Maine and in coastal communities nationwide.  Throughout my tenure as Ranking Member on the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, I have worked to enhance management and protection of the nation’s invaluable coastal and ocean resources.  The Senate Oceans Caucus is a major step forward in our recognition of the significant environmental and economic roles played by our oceans, and through this coordinated bipartisan effort that centralizes key priorities from all of our stakeholders and industries, our caucus has the potential to speak in a loud and unified voice on behalf of our coastal resources, yielding significant economic and environmental benefits for us all.”

“In my home state of Hawaii, we depend on the Pacific for food, shipping, recreation, and tourism,” said Senator Akaka.  “This caucus is an excellent opportunity to find common ground and drive local economies with healthy fishing, tourism, and manufacturing industries.”

“The Long Island Sound plays a central role in Connecticut’s economy and environmental landscape, and the Senate Oceans Caucus presents another opportunity to protect it. The Sound is truly a national treasure, and we must work diligently to preserve it, as we must with all of America’s coastline,” said Senator Blumenthal.  The maritime industry supports millions of jobs in Connecticut and across the country, and I look forward to working with this bipartisan caucus to protect our oceans, preserve ocean communities, and grow the industries they support.”

“Protecting our oceans is critical to California’s $23 billion coastal economy, which supports nearly 390,000 jobs in tourism, fishing and recreation,” said Senator Boxer.  “I am pleased to be part of the bipartisan Oceans Caucus, which will work to find common-sense solutions that protect our oceans and strengthen our economy and our coastal communities.”

“The ocean plays a vital role in the Massachusetts economy, from our fishing industry to our ports and harbors, and tourism – all are very important to preserving and creating jobs,” said Senator Scott Brown.  “As a founding member of the Ocean Caucus, I look forward to discussing the important impact our oceans have on our economy as well as solutions to the challenges they face in a bi-partisan and open forum.”

“For centuries, the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound have helped shape and define Washington state’s culture, people and way of living,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard.  “Washington state’s coastal region has sustained entire industries for generations and today supports 162,000 jobs and generates $9.5 billion in economic activity.  In this new role, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to preserve and restore our nation’s diverse marine resources to ensure they remain vibrant and bountiful for future generations.”

“Marylanders understand the essential role that water and our oceans have in a healthy economy and healthy environment.  I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan effort to prioritize good stewardship of American waters so that they can sustain native fish, wildlife and our coastal economies for generations,” said Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Water and Wildlife Subcommittee.

“Delaware enjoys many rewards as a coastal state. Each year, millions of residents and visitors relish our pristine shores, which helps create jobs and economic activity throughout the state,” said Senator Carper. “But with those rewards come many challenges. The state’s coast line and coastal communities face serious threats from climate change and rising sea levels – threats that other coastal states face as well. The Senate Oceans Caucus will bring together Members from ocean states to discuss how to work together to sustain and improve our oceans and the communities that depend on them for their livelihood.”

“Our oceans are important not only to the health of our planet, but to the economic vitality of our states,” Senator Coons said.  “Between tourism, recreation, energy, shipping and fishing, a wide variety of industries in my home state of Delaware are dependent on the seas.  The oceans are part of who we are, and we must do all we can to protect them.  That’s why I joined the Oceans Caucus, and why I look forward to working with my colleagues in exploring ways the Senate can help protect our oceans.”

“We in Hawaii know what it means to protect the ocean.  For us, the ocean is very important.  It is our home.  We live in the middle of it.  Caring for the ocean and being good stewards of our marine ecosystem is of the utmost importance to any island community and Hawaii is no different.  We must maintain the delicate balance between mankind’s evolution and pollution free oceans where marine life can thrive.  The sea provides us with so much. It gives us food and energy to power our way of life.  Research and scientific discoveries conducted at sea shape all aspects of our daily lives.  Our beaches help drive our economy by attracting visitors to Hawaii’s shores from around the world.  I look forward to participating in this caucus and working with my colleagues to ensure that the world’s oceans are protected,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

“The Ocean Caucus will help focus attention on everything from laws that govern the seas, affect jobs and vital industries, concern our marine ecosystems, and protect our waters off Massachusetts,” said Senator Kerry.  “I’m proud to co-found this important effort here in the Senate.”

“I am proud to join my Senate colleagues from so many different coastal states on this caucus focused on preserving the nation’s oceans.,” Sen. Landrieu said.  “These oceans and the coasts that join them are a precious resource that provide an enormous benefit to the economy.  Particularly along the Gulf Coast, which is the heart of America’s working coast, contributing $3 trillion to the national economy and 17% of the National GDP.  As a member of this caucus, I look forward to continuing my efforts to highlight the need to restore the Gulf Coast and ensure that Gulf coast states get their fair share of tax revenue collected from the oil and gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“I am honored to add my voice to this bipartisan caucus,” said Senator Patty Murray. “Healthy oceans and coastlines lead to sustainable, family wage jobs and the beautiful natural environment that we enjoy in Washington state. This caucus will ensure we have the opportunity to discuss these very important issues.”

The Senators were joined today by representatives from ocean and coastal organizations supporting their efforts, including the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), the National Federation of Regional Associations for Coastal and Ocean Observing (NFRA), and Ocean Champions.