Pacific Northwest
The federal legislation could fund dredging at small ports, like Depoe Bay. The News Guard

OR - Federal Funding: Coastal Communities in line for 'critical investments'

Oregon’s ports, waterways, and coastal, fishing, and tribal communities could receive millions of dollars in federal funding under U.S. Senate Appropriations bills, according to Oregon U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley.

Merkley said the funding bills make significant, targeted investments in small ports and shipyards, boost Pacific salmon and steelhead recovery, and support Oregon's vital fishing industry.

"All, while taking on the harmful impacts climate chaos is inflicting on our fragile, complex marine ecosystems," he said.

Key funding elements for the Oregon Coast include:  

Small Ports and Army Corps Navigation: The program, which is vital source of funding to help Oregon ports pay for dredging and other necessary infrastructure projects, received over $355 million for deep-draft harbor and channel improvements, $15 million for inland waterways, $25 million for navigation maintenance, and $65 million for small, remote, or subsistence navigation. 

 Small Shipyards: The bill provides $25 million for assistance to small shipyards. This program supports small shipyards by providing grants that can be used to purchase equipment or train employees. 

 Salmon Recovery: The bill preserves $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. Created in 2000, this fund is a competitive grant program designed to address declining Pacific salmon and steelhead populations by supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. The program is essential to preventing the extinction of the 28 listed salmon and steelhead species on the West Coast.  

 Sea Grant Program: The program received a $14 million increase after Merkley led a bipartisan resolution in support of the investment. Funded at $90 million, the program, a priority for Oregon State University, uses targeted local investments to create economic growth, sustainable fisheries, and resilient coastal communities. 

 Ocean and Coastal Management and Services: The bill provides a total of $308 million for Ocean and Coastal Management and Services within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This funding will fund critical coastal services and programs such as: Coastal Zone Management Grants, National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund, the Coral Reef Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas.  

 Pacific Shellfish: The bill includes $2.5 million in federal funding for cutting-edge research to improve the productivity, sustainability, and resiliency of the Pacific shellfish agricultural system. This research is critical to efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate chaos on the health and economies of Oregon’s coastal communities.  

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