On June 19, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (E.O.) 13840, “Ocean Policy to Advance Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States,” revoking and replacing much of the previous administration’s ocean policy. E.O. 13840 seeks to improve interagency coordination on ocean-related matters, public access to data, and engagement with marine industries, the science and technology community, and other stakeholders.
In June 2018, the House and Senate consecutively passed the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019 (H.R. 5895) to make progress on the appropriations process before the fiscal year (FY) 2019 deadline of September 30, 2018. More FY 2019 appropriations bills are slated to be considered in July, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to shorten the Senate’s August recess to proceed with appropriations legislation and nominee confirmation.
The Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing on June 5 to review the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Digital Coast program. The program provides a free online database to help meet the unique needs of the coastal management community.
Lawmakers from both the House and the Senate introduced bipartisan bills to reauthorize the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which should be passed every two years. The legislation provides for improvements to the nation’s ports, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water infrastructure administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure each approved their chamber’s version of the WRDA reauthorization on May 22 and May 23, respectively.
Groundwater is a critically important source of water in the U.S., supplying fresh water for drinking supplies, agricultural irrigation, and streams, rivers, and ecosystems. However, groundwater is becoming increasingly depleted in most aquifers around the country, with impacts including shrinking aquifer storage capacities, land subsidence (and associated impacts like higher flood risk), and declining freshwater resources for communities and ecosystems. To mitigate and reverse the depletion of groundwater storage in local aquifers, many communities are turning to managed aquifer recharge (MAR) and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). MAR and ASR practices vary depending on local geology, groundwater and recharge water composition, local land use practices, and water use requirements. Implementing MAR and ASR requires careful planning to both maximize groundwater replenishment and protect groundwater supplies from contamination.