Over the past few weeks, several of the recreational boating industry’s key infrastructure priorities have advanced at the federal and state levels.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association has put infrastructure at the forefront of its work and is continuing its efforts as the summer boating season ratchets up.
In early June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 by a vote of 408-2.
The bill authorizes important projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Furthermore, the legislation includes regulatory reforms to accelerate project delivery, additional considerations for recreational boating in certain project determinations, important Everglades restoration provisions, and efforts to combat Aquatic Invasive Species.
In the lead-up to consideration of WRDA, NMMA educated many key members of Congress and their staffs regarding the industry’s objectives in the bill.
Everglades restoration remains a top issue for the industry. In late June, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that contains two amendments from Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R), which ensure restoration plans continue to be implemented.
Sen. Rubio’s first amendment clarifies Congress’s commitment to increase freshwater flows to the Everglades under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and authorizes an even split of federal-state cost share for the restoration projects. Rubio’s second amendment would guarantee that any Lake Okeechobee discharges to the Caloosahatchee River or the St. Lucie River are conducted in pulses, unless there is a threat to the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike.
In April, NMMA organized a joint letter and a fly-in urging Congressional action to protect this critically vital ecosystem.
As a testament to its importance, FOX News featured a story on revamping Lake Okeechobee’s levee system on June 25.
NMMA also participated in the first meeting of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force since its charter was reinstated earlier this year. ANSTF is the only federally-mandated intergovernmental advisory committee solely dedicated to preventing and controlling aquatic nuisance species.
During the meeting, ANSTF began working on a five-year strategic plan to update an earlier version that expired in 2017. This strategic plan is scheduled for release in 2019, and will include goals for prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and restoration, coordination and funding, research, outreach, and education.
Additionally, ANSTF officially approved the aquatic nuisance State Management Plan for Nevada. There are currently 44 state management plans and three interstate management plans throughout the country that tackle aquatic nuisance species.
If you have questions or would like more information about infrastructure issues, please contact NMMA’s Senior Vice President of Government & Legal Affairs Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA’s Director of Federal Government Affairs Mike Pasko, or NMMA’s Director of State Government Relations Libby Yranski.