U.S. marine economy contributed $432 billion to overall economy in 2021
On June 6, 2023 as part of National Ocean Month, the U.S. Department of Commerce unveiled a $2.6 billion framework to invest in coastal resilience through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). As part of the federal government’s Investing in America Agenda this initiative will support communities and people on the frontlines of climate change, dedicating nearly $400 million specifically for Tribal priorities and benefiting coastal and Great Lakes communities nationwide with an emphasis on environmental justice. Additional investments from the IRA will improve weather and climate data and services, support the America the Beautiful conservation initiative and strengthen NOAA’s fleet of research airplanes and ships that are used to study and collect data about the ocean and atmosphere.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a historic, federal government-wide investment that furthers NOAA’s efforts to build a Climate-Ready Nation. It provides $3.3 billion for NOAA to build on its commitment to help Americans – including tribes and vulnerable populations – prepare, adapt, and build resilience to weather and climate events; improve supercomputing capacity and research on weather, oceans, and climate; strengthen NOAA’s hurricane hunter aircraft and fleet; and replace aging NOAA facilities.
The law’s significant investment in NOAA – in combination with funds NOAA received from Congress through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) – will help address a growing demand for climate information and facilitate the development of new products and services to meet the needs of a nation that is ready and resilient to climate change. These targeted investments will be scalable and responsive to societal needs for climate information and support and leverage partnerships.
A significant portion of NOAA’s IRA funds will be issued through competitive grants to organizations to do on-the-ground work around the country.
This funding is organized into two main initiatives:
“ . . . We are making the most significant direct investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “As part of our more than $2.6 billion investment in regional coastal resiliency and conservation projects, we will be dedicating $390 million directly to Tribal priorities for habitat restoration and bolstering fish populations, and supplying crucial funding to ensure our coastal communities are better prepared for the effects of climate change.”
The historic $2.6 billion investment in climate resilience and coastal communities will help ensure communities, especially Tribes and vulnerable populations, have the resources and support needed to prepare, adapt and build resilience to weather and climate events as well as strengthen workforce development, marine resources, nature-based solutions, conservation, regional partnerships and Tribal priorities. The IRA funds will complement the investments already outlined in the nearly $3 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding, including the $562 million in Climate-Ready Coasts awards announced in April.
“This massive investment will go a long way in helping NOAA prepare communities for natural disasters and more effectively address the environmental and economic impacts to help millions recover from these events,” said U.S. Deputy Secretary Don Graves. “It’s no mistake that NOAA finds its home in the Commerce Department, where we remain fully committed to its mission.”
The $2.6 billion in climate investments will support coastal communities’ resilience to changing climate conditions through funding and technical assistance for capacity building, transformational projects that help protect communities from storms and flooding, the creation of quality climate-related jobs and improved delivery of climate services to communities and businesses. These programs include:
- Climate Resilience Regional Challenge ($575 million): NOAA will fund a new competitive grant program that will invest in holistic, collaborative approaches to coastal resilience at regional scales. This will include two funding tracks: Regional Collaborative Building and Strategy Development, and Implementation of Resilience and Adaptation Actions. Details will be available in early summer.
- Tribal Priorities ($390 million): NOAA will provide funding specifically for tribes to support habitat restoration, fish passage, capacity building, science, fish hatcheries and Pacific salmon. A summary of Tribal comments can be found here.
- Climate-Ready Fisheries ($349 million): NOAA will support projects to conserve fisheries and protected species in coastal regions around the country. This work will enable NOAA to build dynamic fisheries management systems that incorporate climate and ecosystem environmental data to support management decisions.
- Ocean-Based Climate Resilience Accelerators ($100 million): NOAA will fund a new competitive business accelerator program to fill a critical unmet market need. These accelerators will support businesses with coastal and ocean-based resilience products and services related to NOAA’s mission as they navigate commercialization pathways. These businesses will help communities prepare for, adapt to and build resilience to changing climate conditions. Details will be available in early summer. NOAA will also advance existing resilience-related funding opportunities, through programs such as the National Oceanographic Partnership Program and Ocean Technology Partnership program.
- Climate-Ready Workforce ($60 million): NOAA will meet the emerging and existing needs of employers by placing workers in high quality jobs that enhance climate resilience. Funding will also aid training and support services that will help American workers advance their careers and implement climate resilience efforts within public and private sectors. Details on this new competition will be available in early summer.
The framework for the $2.6 billion also includes additional funding for high-quality project applications received through BIL competitions, non-competitive funding for the Integrated Ocean Observing System, support for marine and Great Lakes sanctuary designations, Technical Assistance to states, localities, tribes, and other partners and funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. The second round of BIL Climate-Ready Coasts Notices of Funding Opportunities are expected this summer.
“We are investing in America and empowering communities to understand and take action to address their risks to climate change and ensure they continue to thrive now and in the future,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “We can’t do it alone and look forward to engaging partners, building resilience and supporting conservation with this funding.”
The IRA allocated $3.3 billion to NOAA, including the initiatives described above and $200 million that will support improvements in NOAA’s climate and data services, including:
- Creating industry proving grounds to collaboratively research, develop and test tailored climate data products and services for the private sector, including the insurance, reinsurance and health industries.
- Funding, improving, and expanding existing NOAA programs that advance climate information, services and adaptation capacity and build equitable climate resilience such as the National Integrated Heat Health Information System (NIHHIS), the Climate Smart Communities Initiative (CSCI), Climate Adaptation Partnerships/Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CAP/RISA), the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and others.
- Improving forward-looking projections, data assimilation, numerical weather prediction skill and models in order to improve the prediction of climate and weather extremes on oceans and ecosystems, and delivering climate projections needed to inform decision making.
- Expediting the assessment and development of next generation Phased Array Radar capabilities to make severe weather warnings more accurate.
NOAA’s remaining IRA funding will also support critical infrastructure improvements for NOAA facilities that are essential to NOAA’s mission, including:
- The Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington.
- The Sandy Hook Lab in New Jersey.
- Piers in Newport, Rhode Island, and Charleston, South Carolina.
- Construction of two charting and mapping research vessels, as well as critical mid-life repairs for NOAA Fisheries survey vessels.
- High-performance computing capacity.
- Acquisition of a second G550 “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft.
- Facilities projects at multiple national marine sanctuaries, including at the Monterey Bay, Stellwagen Bank, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale, Greater Farallones, Mallows Bay and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuaries.