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PNS Daily Newscast - September 23, 2020 


U.S. COVID-19 deaths double in last 4 months as total tops 200,000; poll workers in short supply as Texas registers a record number of voters.


2020Talks - September 23, 2020 


Mitt Romney supports putting a Supreme Court nominee to a vote. Plus, 20 million raised so far to pay court fees and fines for returning citizens to vote.

New Coastal Stimulus Bill Could Bolster Resiliency, COVID Job Losses

A new House bill could provide funding to help restore the Chesapeake Bay's extreme seagrass loss over the past year. (Chesapeake Bay Program)
A new House bill could provide funding to help restore the Chesapeake Bay's extreme seagrass loss over the past year. (Chesapeake Bay Program)


July 23, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. - As coastal areas experience severe job loss from COVID-19 shutdowns, new legislation in Congress promises funding to restore those jobs and boost the climate resilience of coastlines.

The Shovel-Ready Restoration Grants for Coastlines and Fisheries Act of 2020 mirrors and expands on the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Chris Moore - senior regional Ecosystem Scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

He says that law provided $167 million for projects across the nation. This new bill offers even more support.

"This has the ability to be a real game changer because the amount that would be authorized would be $3 billion in projects, and these projects do everything from coastal resiliency to habitat restoration." says Moore. "So from a Chesapeake Bay perspective, those are things that a lot of different groups, including the Chesapeake Bay, is focused on."

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Miami, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. It has bipartisan support and is expected to pass.

Moore says fish markets on the Chesapeake, particularly oyster farms, have been devastated by the pandemic. He also cites a recent study that shows the Chesapeake Bay experienced extreme seagrass loss over the past year.

He thinks the new bill could address both problems, especially the reduced seagrass levels, which are critical to the Bay's ecosystem.

"Especially in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we have not seen funding for underwater grass restoration over the last couple of years." says Moore. "We've really been losing primarily the Chesapeake Bay proper, its tributaries, and that's where underwater grass projects are really needed at this point. "

The report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science found that high flows and warmer water temperatures caused the Chesapeake's huge underwater meadows to suffer their largest drop since surveys began. Acreage plummeted at least 33% from 2018, the report said.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA