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California congressman introduce bipartisan legislation for estuary habitats
On Friday, Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) introduced a bill, which would respond to the closure of estuary restoration projects and improve the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000 (ERA).
Under the ERA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are allowed to enter into private partnerships with NGOs as a means of improving estuary habitat. Recently, many grants were terminated before project completion, leaving more than a dozen projects unfinished.
“Our estuaries plan play an important role with healthy waterways,” Denham said in a statement. “This bipartisan, common-sense legislation empowers the Army Corps of Engineers to work with local non-governmental partners to restore estuaries across the state, helping speed these projects along.”
The proposed legislation would allow hundreds of shovel-read projects to continue while saving taxpayers money.
“For far too long, we have been neglecting to protect and restore our estuaries, which are vital to our coastal environment,” Huffman said. “We must do more to protect these important ecosystems that improve our clean water sources, support coastal economies – including fishing and shellfish industry jobs – and provide recreational opportunities for millions of Americans. Our legislation offers a no-nonsense, cost-neutral solution to a problem so that important estuary restoration work can move forward.”