Alaska Sea Grant’s funding secure for now

The bearded seal was released back into the wild at Nome’s west beach. (Photo by Gay Sheffield/University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Sea Grant)

The White House wanted to cut Sea Grant’s funding for the remainder of this fiscal year. If the request had been approved, several projects in Alaska would have ended as early as this summer.

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Sea Grant helps coastal communities with fisheries and climate change research.

Despite President Donald Trump’s request, Congress released a bipartisan spending bill on Monday that will allow Sea Grant to continue for the time being.

Sunny Rice from Alaska Sea Grant in Petersburg said that’s good news.

“It’s going to allow us to keep doing the things at least through the end of September we had been planning on,” Rice said. “I feel like it’s a quarter of a sigh of relief because I think the big effort is going to be for the full budget.”

President Trump’s blueprint budget asks Congress to consider eliminating Sea Grant’s funding for next year, too.

Since the president made the announcement in March, Alaska’s congressional delegation has shown support for Sea Grant, saying the program as a good return on investment.

Sea Grant helps fund research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Congress is expected to approve a budget for next fiscal year by October.

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