WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to help the University of Rhode Island (URI) continue its role as a leader in cooperative fisheries and ocean research, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced that URI will receive $2.06 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Sea Grant College Program.  The federal funds will be used to help marine scientists address challenges facing Rhode Island coast and its communities through research, education, and outreach.

"The University of Rhode Island is a national leader in ocean research and conservation and the Sea Grant program has been a vital resource in carrying out cooperative research and strengthening our coastal communities," said Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science, which oversees federal spending on NOAA. "Proper environmental stewardship of the Bay and our coastal resources is critical to Rhode Island's long-term economic development.  I am pleased URI has received this federal funding to continue important research and protect our oceans."

“In Rhode Island, our oceans are the foundation of a strong economy, and we're lucky to have organizations like Rhode Island Sea Grant working to preserve our vital coastal resources," said Whitehouse.  "This important funding will help the University of Rhode Island continue its work solving the complex challenges facing our marine industries, seafood economy, and coastal ecosystems."

The National Sea Grant College program provides federal funding to 32 state Sea Grant programs at universities across the country. URI's program, located in its School of Oceanography, focuses its efforts on coastal protection and sustainable fisheries.  Federal funding for the Sea Grant program is matched by state and private funding.

"Rhode Island's coastal habitat and fisheries are an essential part of our culture and economy," concluded Reed. "For decades, the Sea Grant program has worked to protect our state's natural resources, while at the same time raising awareness about the importance of conservation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure the Sea Grant program receives the funding that it needs to continue its important work in Rhode Island and throughout the nation."