Federal Spending Bill Prioritizes Boating Community Efforts
President Biden signed into law last week the fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriation bills, which includes a vast majority of the recreational boating industry’s funding priorities, and takes into account funding for the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
Included in the $1.5 trillion spending bill are important programs that benefit Great Lakes and Everglades restoration, marine sanctuaries, and the broader $689 outdoor recreation economy, of which recreational boating and fishing is the number one contributor across 39 states and D.C.
After passing several continuing resolutions to avert government shutdowns, congressional leaders reached an agreement on the final FY22 spending bills, which funds the federal government through September 30, 2022.
Below is a summary highlighting some of the key provisions the NMMA worked to secure in the final passage of the spending bill.
Department of Commerce
- Provides $1.5 million for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which would continue the Department’s analysis highlighting the impact that outdoor recreation has on the U.S. economy.
- Includes $64 million for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, including $5 million for NOAA’s efforts to improve and enhance recreational anglers’ and boaters’ experiences in National Marine Sanctuaries.
- Allocates $21.5 million for harmful algal bloom (HABs) research, monitoring, and detection to help accelerate efforts to reduce the severity and impact of HABs.
Department of Interior
- Grants $348 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—a critical program that works to protect and restore the Great Lakes through habitat restoration and the prevention of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and HABs.
- Provides $43 million for efforts to help prevent the spread of AIS, including invasive carp.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Delivers robust funding for several U.S. Army Corps’ projects that are critically important to the recreational boating community, including $350 million for Everglades restoration; $21 million for navigation maintenance; $34.5 million for inland waterway modernization; and $45 million for projects at small or subsistence harbors.
- Directs the USACE to account for recreation-based benefits and costs when considering a project, recognizing the growth of the outdoor recreation industry across the U.S.
The NMMA said it will now shift its focus towards FY 2023 spending requests, as Congress begins its FY23 appropriations process in the months ahead.
Article Author: Boating Industry Editors