NMMA – in coordination with the Congressional Boating Caucus (CBC) – convened two briefing events for more than 100 congressional staff in Washington, D.C. to discuss the importance of the $650 million Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (Trust Fund) and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF).
Coinciding with National Fishing and Boating Week (June 1-9) – an annual, congressionally recognized occasion that highlights the recreational boating and fishing industry’s economic and environmental contributions – the events served as an opportunity to educate members of Congress and their staff about the industry’s positions on securing funding for critical conservation and infrastructure initiatives.
During the Trust Fund briefing – titled “How Anglers and Boaters Directly Contribute to Conservation Efforts” – NMMA Director of Federal Government Relations, Clay Crabtree facilitated a dialogue analyzing how the program provides funding to all 50 states for conservation and recreational infrastructure projects and why Congress should protect and expand its scope.
Crabtree was joined on the panel by government officials and industry stakeholders, including Preston Smith, President, States Organization for Boating Access; Verne Gifford, Chief of Boating Safety Division, United States Coast Guard; Paul Rauch, Assistant Director, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Mike Leonard, Vice President of Government Affairs, American Sportfishing Association; and Tim Schaeffer, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.
The second portion of the event – “Unleashing the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund: Securing Investments for our Nation's Ports, Harbors, & Waterways” – featured a robust discussion about the HMTF’s role in facilitating opportunities for safe and enjoyable recreation on our public waters and the need to ensure all revenue collected into the HMTF be invested in its intended purpose: maintaining all federal harbors.
Moderated by Callie Hoyt, NMMA Director of Federal Government Relations, the briefing included remarks presentations from Shannon Hines, Staff Director, U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee; Kathy Griffin, Navigation Branch Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; William (Bill) Doyle, CEO and Executive Director, Dredging Contractors of America; Ray Bucheger, Partner, FBB Federal Relations; and Amy Larson, President, National Waterways Council.