Merkley, Wyden Secure Funding for Oregon’s Coastal Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced funding for critical priorities for Oregon’s coastal communities in the 2018 spending bill released yesterday.

“I fought to make this bill really deliver for Oregon’s coastal communities, and it does,” Merkley said. “This funding supports core programs, from small ports, to marine research, to coastal salmon recovery.”

“Our state’s iconic fisheries and tourism industries generate jobs and vital economic activity along the entire Oregon Coast,” Wyden said. “These federal resources help to support the infrastructure needed for those traditional job sectors while also building on the strengths of ground-breaking research and green energy projects on the coast, and taking needed steps to build an earthquake early warning system.”

West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System: The program received nearly $12.9 million for the continued development of an early warning system and the deployment of ShakeAlert, and allotted an additional $10 million for capital costs for public onshore earthquake early warning system on the West Coast, with real-time sensors and communications technologies.

Coastal Management: The program received $75 million for coastal zone management, and an additional $30 million for grants aimed at coastal resiliency. The salmon management program also received $35 million, which includes operating the Mitchell Act Hatcheries that produce about half the salmon and steelhead released each year into the Columbia River. Additionally, the bill includes funding to address the harmful algal blooms that have plagued the Pacific Coast this year.

Small Ports and Army Corps Navigation: The program, which Oregon ports rely on to help pay for dredging and other necessary infrastructure projects, received almost $340 million — $30 million for inland waterways, $24 million for navigation maintenance, and $50 million for small ports, which is a $2 million increase to support the small ports that are the lifeblood of Oregon’s coastal economy.

Regional Class Research Vessel Program: The program received $105 million for Oregon State University to design and construct new coastal research vessels to bolster U.S. marine science research capacity, addressing issues related to climate, natural hazards, and human health. The first vessel will be located in Newport.

Wave Energy Test Facility: The bill includes language to ensure that Oregon State University will continue to receive funding for its wave energy test facility, at a 20% cost share with the federal government. The bill also includes language directing the Department of Energy to support wave energy testing, which it notes could provide long-term clean energy.

Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund: The program received $65 million to support the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon across the west, including habitat restoration for Oregon’s salmon and steelhead.