WASHINGTON - New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7th) has introduced the Protect and Restore America’s Estuaries Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the National Estuary Program 

He was joined by original co-sponsors Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tex.) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), fellow members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment.

Among other provisions, the legislation:  

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- Increases funding for the NEP’s 28 estuaries of national significance, including the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program, of which the 7th District is a part;

- Ensures that the management plans governing nationally significant estuaries consider the effects of recurring extreme weather events, and that they develop and implement appropriate adaptation strategies; and

- Expands eligibility for NEP grants to organizations working to address storm water runoff, coastal resiliency, and accelerated land loss issues.         

“Estuaries support a diverse array of wildlife, protect inland areas from floods and storm surges, and act as economic drivers for communities around the country,” Malinowski said. “I'm proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to protect these important waters, and to preserve the natural beauty of our state.”

“Representative Malinowski is demonstrating vision and leadership through his efforts to affirm strong congressional support for the National Estuary Program. This locally-based, non-regulatory program has an unparalleled track record of engagement with fishers, businesses, citizen groups, and government at all levels to develop a range of effective, durable solutions” said Rich Innes of the Association of National Estuary Programs. “It is designed to safeguard and restore the estuaries and bays which define our communities, and provide us with jobs, inspiration, and safe places to recreate and raise our families”.

“Each of the 28 National Estuary Programs mobilizes a diverse set of partners to improve the nation’s waterways through locally-supported, science-based action” said Rob Pirani, director of the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. “We appreciate the leadership taken by Congressman Malinowski and his colleagues to ensure that this vital federal program continues to serve communities in New Jersey and across the nation.”

The National Estuary Program, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, is comprised of a network of organizations working to improve the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries—areas where freshwater from rivers and streams mixes with salt water inflows from the ocean. The NEP was created by Congress in 1987 through amendments to the Clean Water Act.