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June 5, 2017

Thanks for Your Help!

The community’s response to our “Save Rookery Bay” campaign has been overwhelming. Following the news that the White House budget plan proposed to eliminate federal funding for Rookery Bay and all 29 National Estuarine Research Reserves, more than 1,350 individuals signed our online petition, and hundreds more sent additional messages to Congress urging them to sustain needed funding for these vitally important sanctuaries. The petitions were hand delivered to local Congressional offices by volunteers from our Friends of Rookery Bay.

The initial reaction from Congress has been highly encouraging. In the recently enacted 2017 Spending Bill passed by both House and Senate, Congress not only sustained current funding levels for the 29 Reserves, but increased federal funding to help meet costs being incurred from the addition of a new Research Reserve to our national system in Hawai’i.

These federal funds are leveraged in a highly effective, cost-sharing partnership with coastal states and local communities, that in turn enables Rookery Bay and other Reserves to conduct needed research on water quality and coastal wetlands; raise awareness and appreciation for the coastal environment for tens of thousands of local students, residents and visitors each year and restore and conserve important wetlands and coastal barrier islands that serve as nesting and foraging grounds for wildlife.

This unique federal/state/local partnership has been working effectively for over 40 years. The Research Reserves are an outstanding example of public and private sector interests working together to help sustain the environmental and economic health of our estuaries. For those of us who live in Collier County, Rookery Bay Reserve’s 110,000 acres represent a significant part of our local quality of life, including sportfishing and recreational boating and kayaking, wildlife observation, hiking, environmental education and outdoor recreation.

Many thanks to all who joined our local grassroots campaign to let your collective voices be heard with Congress. That’s how our democracy works. It is vitally important to continue to engage with your Representatives in Congress as they make decisions about federal funding for 2018, which will take place in September.

Check our Call to Action page for more information on how you can continue to play an important role in this ongoing campaign.

I look forward to our continued success.

Sincerely,
Gary Lytton

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