The Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation held a hearing Tuesday on America’s waterfronts.
The hearing, titled “America’s Waterfronts: Addressing Economic, Recreational, and Environmental Challenges,” focused on the current state of U.S. waterfronts, how to balance stakeholder needs, and maximize the benefits from the nation’s water and coastal resources.
“The economic and environmental well being of all our nations waterfronts benefit us all and the shared stewardship is a responsibility we should accept,” Mike J. Friis of the National Working Waterfront Network testified. “Intergovernmental (local, state, tribal and federal) collaboration and cooperation is necessary to be able to revitalize and enhance our working waterfronts and build local capacity. Coordination allows for sharing of expertise and resources to realize the most successful impact.”
Dr. Monty Graham of the University of Southern Mississippi said the timing of the hearing was “fortuitous” since the state of Mississippi is currently working to strengthen its coastal communities and waterfronts to create a “resilience-based” economy. “Mississippi is at the critical point of making large decisions that will move the coastal working waterfront away from a disaster-based economy to a resilience-based economy through workforce and economic diversification,” Graham said.
Testimony was also received from Lynn Clark, executive director of the HARP Foundation, and Eric Genrich, mayor of Green Bay, Wis.