Weekly 5: Water protection, restoration on table for EPA cuts

The BI Weekly 5 is a collection of tips, news and data affecting the boating industry this week. Be sure to look for the BI Weekly 5 every week on BoatingIndustry.com.

1. Water protection, restoration on table for EPA cuts

A detailed plan for how the Trump administration will pay for a 31 percent reduction to the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency shows that several programs to protect and restore waterways are targeted for cuts, according to The Washington Post.

In many cases, the plan calls for funding and responsibility for the programs to be turned over to the states. Some of the programs targeted for defunding:

  • Great Lakes Restoration ($289 million)
  • Nonpoint source grants, which mitigate pollution from land runoff to waterways ($165 million)
  • Chesapeake Bay restoration and clean-up ($67 million)
  • Puget Sound restoration and clean-up ($27 million)
  • National Estuary Program/Coastal Waterways, which protects and restores the water quality of estuaries ($20 million)

2. Manufacturers’ optimism at 20-year high

More than 93 percent of manufacturers are feeling positive about their economic outlook, the highest level in 20-year history of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey.

That was up from 56.6 percent one year ago and 77.8 percent in December.

“Across America, manufacturers’ optimism is soaring, in no small part because of President Trump’s laser-like focus on pursuing bold action, particularly on rethinking red tape to address regulatory reform, to accelerate a jobs surge in America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

3. U.K. boating and water sports participation reach seven-year high

About 3.5 million people (or 6.7 percent of U.K. adults) participated in boating activities in 2016, the highest volume recorded since 2009, Practical Boat Owner reported.

An additional 668,828 took part in water sports activities, leading to a total of 4.16 million people (7.9 percent of U.K. adults) enjoyed boating and water sports in 2016.

4. Manatee downlisted from endangered to threatened

The U.S. Department of the Interior has downlisted the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the change in status under the Endangered Species Act, the Department of the Interior said.

In its review, FWS considered the status of the West Indian manatee throughout its range, which includes the Florida manatee subspecies, found primarily in the southeastern United States, and the Antillean manatee, found in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, northern South America and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The downlisting means that the manatee is no longer considered in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future without continued ESA protections.

FWS biologists emphasized that the downlisting will not diminish any existing federal protections that will continue to play a vital role in the recovery of the species. The manatee will also continue to be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

5. Greenwich Boat Show returns this week

The 2017 Greenwich Boat Show will be held this Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The on-water boat show is held on the Mianus River in Cos Cob, Conn. This year will feature new boats from 19 dealers, representing 43 different manufacturers.

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