Late last week, the state House approved its version of the $23 billion state budget by a vote of 80-31. Now the House and the Senate go to what they call “conference” to iron out their differences and arrive at a final budget before sending it to Gov. Roy Cooper for approval.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation’s top priority for the budget is continued funding to restore oyster habitats and grow the coast’s oyster industry. While both the House and the Senate’s proposed budgets make important investments in the oyster industry, it is still short of the federation’s goals for oyster funding going into the conference process.
You can help reach those goals. Please take a few minutes to call or write the legislators listed below to thank them for their support and ask them to fully fund the federation’s oyster agenda. The federation is asking for $1.5 million per year to match a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is also seeking $1.1 million in recurring funding for 2017-18 and $1.2 million for 2018-19 for cultch planting.
It is best to avoid email, as these offices are simply inundated with email this time of year. Use the bullets below for help to get you started, and feel free to add your personal experiences, especially regarding the impact of the oyster industry on the coastal economy.
Sen. Harry Brown – 919-715-3034
Sen. Brent Jackson – 919-733-5705
Sen. Bill Cook – 919-715-8293
Sen. Norman Sanderson – 919-733-5706
Rep. Chuck McGrady – 919-733-5956
Rep. Nelson Dollar – 919-715-0795
Rep. Pat McElraft – 919-733-6275
Rep. Jimmy Dixon – 919-715-3021
Letters to these legislators can be addressed to:
Rep./Sen. Name Here
NC General Assembly
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27801
- Thank you for your support of the North Carolina oyster industry
- Please continue to support the industry during the upcoming budget conference process by providing:
- Full funding to match $1.5 million in federal funds for sanctuary oyster beds in Pamlico Sound in both 2017-18 and 2018-19.
- Full funding as provided in the Senate budget for cultch planting to grow North Carolina oyster beds — $1.1 million in recurring funding for 2017-18 and $1.2 million for 2018-19.
- Thanks again for your support of the oyster industry.
Thank you for helping out with the oyster effort! For updates about the federation’s oyster work and its policy efforts, visit nccoast.org/oysters. More information on North Carolina oyster restoration work and the mariculture industry is available at ncoysters.org.
Both the state House and Senate allocated $100,000 for crab pot cleanup that the federation runs each year. Last year, the budget also included $100,000 for the program, which enabled it to expand from the Outer Banks region to all three coastal regions in 2017. The federation hired 72 commercial fishermen, who collected 4,270 lost crab pots from North Carolina sounds. The federation plans to run the program in all three regions again in 2018.