Coastal communities rely on full funding for NOAA

Our partnership with NOAA runs the gamut, from salmon habitat protection and habitat restoration jobs, to a tsunami-warning system, to funding that helps ensure the viability of our shellfish industry.

WE are in the midst of the busy season here on the Washington coast, when we see our biggest influx of visitors eager to experience the breathtaking beauty and natural wealth of towns and beaches from the Columbia River to Neah Bay.

Ocean Shores alone hosted 4.8 million people in 2016, and we expect as many or more this year. That’s a lot for a town with less than 6,000 permanent residents, but as anyone who has visited knows, we have a world-class beach that’s fun and safe for families.

While tourism is the economic bedrock for most of our communities, for others it’s fish. Ilwaco has a world-class commercial and recreational fishing port, bringing in large amounts of fresh salmon, crab and tuna.

Our coastal communities share a common bond: livelihoods that depend on a clean ocean, abundant marine life and well-managed shorelines. It’s a tough job with a lot of moving parts, and we are gravely concerned by efforts in the other Washington to strip away the funding we need to do it right.

Because Washington’s coastal towns are small towns, we work together — with support from various National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration programs — to manage and protect our ocean resources. Our partnership with NOAA runs the gamut, from salmon habitat protection and habitat restoration jobs, to a tsunami warning system, to funding that helps ensure the viability of our shellfish industry.

Visit any U.S. coastal town and you’ll hear the same thing: We can’t protect our citizens from floods and tsunamis, keep fishermen safe, and fisheries viable, or maintain tourism without NOAA. Whether it is big storms coming off the Pacific or the threat of East Coast hurricanes, we all rely on the agency’s expertise and funding.

So when President Donald Trump’s administration proposed massive cuts to NOAA’s budget, we were justifiably alarmed. We know such cuts would put jobs and people at risk.

Our world-class beaches require ongoing monitoring and maintenance to keep them healthy and safe. The NOAA-managed Coastal Zone Management Program helps local governments like ours plan and…

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