Sending Office: Huffman, Jared
Deadline: COB March 25, 2019
Marine mammals are essential to our economy, prosperity, and future. They play a critical role in the health and productivity of the world’s oceans and contribute significant revenue and countless jobs to our coastal economies. The Marine Mammal Commission
has provided independent, science-based oversight of federal activities and programs affecting marine mammals for nearly half a century. Please join Congressman Huffman, Congressman Young, Congressman Keating, and Congressman Posey in sending a letter to the
House Appropriations Committee requesting full funding for the Commission and full support of the Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program.
Created under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Commission is an independent agency that is crucial for maintaining healthy populations of marine mammals, such as whales, manatees, dolphins, seals, sea otters, walruses, and polar bears, and ensuring
they survive for generations to come. The Commission is the only U.S. government agency that provides comprehensive oversight of all science, policy, and management actions affecting marine mammals.
Some of the Commission’s work includes:
- Conducting research projects and providing grant funding on the protection and conservation of marine mammals
- Reducing bycatch of marine mammals in domestic and international fisheries
- Protecting the subsistence hunting rights of Alaska Natives
- Contributing scientific leadership in response to endangered marine mammals
The Prescott Program provides competitive grants to marine mammal stranding network organizations to rescue, rehabilitate, or investigate sick, injured, or distressed live marine mammals and to determine the cause of death or disease of dead marine mammals.
These funds are the only source of federal funding for the volunteer driven stranding network, and funds are leveraged by the network partners 10 to 1. This support provides the capacity needed to respond when sick or injured marine mammals are found. In FY
2018, NOAA awarded 36 grants to members in 19 states.
The MMC and Prescott Program have been critical to protecting and recovering marine mammals across the country. Please join us in requesting that these are fully supported with robust funding.
Jared Huffman Don Young William R. Keating Bill Posey
Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chairman Serrano and Ranking Member Aderholt:
We write to urge the Subcommittee to provide robust funding for the Marine Mammal Commission (MMC) and the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program (Prescott Program) in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill by providing $5.25 million
to the MMC and $4 million to the Prescott Program. This funding would ensure that they can continue to play an essential role in the conservation, recovery, and research that protects marine mammals.
The MMC is an independent federal agency established by Congress, and is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The MMC provides independent, science-based oversight of U.S. policies, international policies,
and the actions of federal agencies regarding human impacts on marine mammals and their ocean environment. It works with the regulatory agencies and stakeholders to identify and fill research needs, providing grant funding when possible for research that addresses
information gaps and identifies regulatory approaches that are more tailored. Additionally, the MMC seeks to ensure that Alaska Natives can meet their subsistence needs through hunting of marine mammals.
The U.S. taxpayer contributes just over 1 cent per year to fund the MMC and its work. Since FY 2015, the MMC had been flat funded at $3.43 million. In FY 2019, funding for the MMC was slightly increased at $3.51 million, but due to rising fixed costs the
MMC has absorbed significant essential costs (salaries, rent, etc.) and thereby reduced their discretionary funding. Providing $5.25 million in funding to the MMC in FY 2020 would enable the MMC to fulfill its obligations as outlined in the MMPA.
The Prescott Program, led by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, provides the capacity needed to respond when sick, injured, or deceased marine mammals are found. Over the past 19 years, it has helped to generate critical information about threats
to marine mammals, their environment, and to the overall health of the marine ecosystem as whole. The Prescott Program provides competitive grants to stranding network organizations to rescue, rehabilitate, or investigate sick, injured, or distressed live
marine mammals and to determine the cause of death or disease from dead marine mammals. The Prescott Program is the sole source of federal funding for the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network of over 90 member organizations within 23 states. Funds are
only awarded if at least 25 percent of non-federal matching funds are also committed and no single award may exceed $100,000. To date, the national stranding network has leveraged over $18 million in non-federal funding.
The MMC and Prescott Program have been critical to protecting and recovering marine mammals across the country. Marine mammals bring immense value to states from California to Alaska as critical parts of healthy ocean ecosystems and as beloved icons for
residents and visitors alike. The MMC ensures that protections for marine mammals—such as whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, walruses, polar bears, and manatees—are as effective and efficient as possible, while the Prescott Program ensures that marine mammals
in need can be rescued and rehabilitated.
We appreciate your support for the Marine Mammal Commission and Prescott Program, and ask that you strongly support these budget items as recommended in your FY 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0