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Janet R Maher, AAMS® Financial Advisor . 28322 Lewes Georgetown Hwy Unit 5 Milton, DE 19968 302-684-5946 www.edwardjones.com Member SIPC 14 FRIDAY, APRIL 28 - MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 NEWS Cape Gazette By Maddy Lauria maddy@capegazette.com The Trump administration's initial budget proposal has re- searchers at the Delaware Sea Grant College Program bracing for steep cuts. Representatives from the Uni- versity of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, Southern Delaware Tourism and local leaders joined U.S. Sen. Tom Carper in Lewes April 13 to highlight the program's re- search efforts, which could be jeopardized by proposed federal funding cuts. “Sea Grant has provided an avenue for my colleagues and me to pursue research that is difficult to fund elsewhere,” said research scientist Tye Pettay, who is currently studying toxic algal blooms in the Inland Bays. Sea Grant often funds smaller, localized projects that can be practically applied to serve the public, he said. President Donald Trump's initial budget, the America First Budget Blueprint, proposes com- plete elimination of funding for the National Sea Grant College Program as part of more than $250 million in cuts to Nation- al Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and pro- grams. Delaware Sea Grant is one of 33 university-based programs in coastal states, Puerto Rico, Lake Champlain and Guam that leverages federal and local fund- ing for research based in coastal communities. In Delaware, nearly 80 student researchers are supported by the 40-year-old program, which has studied the state's fledgling In- land Bays aquaculture program, flood risks, surf-zone injuries, water quality and myriad other projects specific to the coastal area. Mohsen Badiey, acting dean of the university's College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, said Delaware Sea Grant has played a vital role in helping Delaware communities understand the science behind topics such as coastal ecosystems to make more informed management decisions. “We are a Sea Grant College, and this is affecting us tremen- dously,” he said. For Southern Delaware Tour- ism Executive Director Scott Thomas, Delaware Sea Grant research extends far beyond the scientific community. “Early on, I realized the Sea Grant Program was our main research partner,” Thomas said. Delaware Sea Grant helped develop Southern Delaware Tourism's visitor surveys, which collect data about people visit- ing Delaware's beaches to find out where they come from, what they do while they're here and in turn help the organization more efficiently market Delaware's coastal tourism offerings, he said. “We need programs like Dela- ware Sea Grant to be a partner in providing that,” Thomas said. “I can't imagine not working with a program like that.” Delaware Sea Grant studies have helped quantify the eco- nomic impact of coastal tourism in the First State, an industry that attracts more than 8 million people annually to the First State. Sea Grant studies have found more than 40,000 people are employed in tourism, which is expected to face additional chal- lenges as sea level rises 1 to 1.5 meters in the next century – an increase that some research in- dicates could inundate Route 1. A new study released in April 2017 also explores coastal resil- iency options and offers tools and suggestions for dealing with extreme coastal storms and preparing for future impacts of climate change, including sea level rise. “There are a variety of differ- ent scientific areas we fund every year, and the reports that come up are all toward the application of science into the communities and how this really helps the local people,” Badiey said. That research also can benefit other coastal communities, he said. Carper, who has been heavily criticizing the Trump ad- ministration's take on all things environmental, denigrated the proposed budget, calling it the “skinny budget” and the “bro- chure budget.” “It's not a real budget. It's like a budget on the back of an enve- lope,” Carper said. “They have proposed cuts to anything that has anything to do with solar, wind, sea level rise, a lot of our science projects and programs – zeroed out. It's sad, and it's disappointing.” But it's also energizing, he said, pointing to a sense of solidar- ity among scientists that was demonstrated at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. “People all over this country are waking up,” he said. “This is the planet we live on. It's very special, and we have an obliga- tion to take care of it.” While the proposed federal budget is far from final, Delaware Sea Grant's Marine Advisory Service acting Director Edward Lewandowski said he's con- cerned about the proposed cuts and what they could mean for local communities that benefit from Sea Grant research. Each year presents funding challenges, he said, and while he's seen fund- ing reductions approved and money later restored, he's a bit more concerned than usual. “I've been through this before,” he said. “But this is a different environment, a different atmo- sphere with this administration. It's worrisome.” For more about Delaware Sea Grant, go to www.deseagrant.org. Sea Grant scientists brace for budget cuts New study explores tourism and climate change MADDY LAURIA PHOTO UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE’S new marine advisory specialist Jame Mc- Cray, left, joins (l-r) Sen. Tom Carper, Marine Advisory Service acting Direc- tor Edward Lewandowski and fellow marine advisory specialist Chris Petrone in a recent discussion about proposed cuts to funding for Delaware Sea Grant College Program.