WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced legislation to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowships alongside Senator Chris Coons, D-Del, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
The Coastal Fellowships Act of 2021 would support two essential programs that boost workforce capacity for coastal zone management programs states and territories depend on to protect their communities from unique hazards.
“The NOAA Coastal Management and Digital Coast fellowships have provided opportunities that address the needs of coastal communities and help establish a better future for our economy and environment,” Senator Wicker said. “This legislation will ensure NOAA can continue training new fellows to assist Mississippi and other coastal states across the country. I am glad to join my colleague Senator Coons in advancing this worthy initiative.”
“For my home state of Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the country, and other coastal communities across the nation, coastal management resources are crucial to protecting vulnerable communities. Our state is a top recipient of NOAA fellows, and we will be receiving a new fellow next year to work with the state government on critical coastal resilience issues, like sea level rise and saltwater intrusion,” said Senator Coons. “I’m glad to support the authorization and increased funding of these essential NOAA fellowship programs that bring vital expertise to coastal management projects in Delaware and many other coastal states and territories.”
Among other provisions, the Coastal Fellowships Act of 2021 will:
- Codify the NOAA Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowships;
- Authorize sufficient appropriations to fully support NOAA’s administration of the program;
- Improve benefits for fellows; and
- Give fellows direct hire authority to facilitate the transition from the fellowship into the federal workforce for fellows interested in joining a federal agency.
Read the full text of the bill here.