(Sec. 1) This bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to revise the National Estuary Program by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to make competitive awards to address urgent and challenging issues that threaten the economic and ecological well-being of coastal areas, including:
- extensive seagrass habitat losses,
- recurring harmful algae blooms,
- unusual marine mammal mortalities,
- invasive exotic species,
- jellyfish proliferation limiting community access to water during peak tourism seasons,
- flooding that may be related to sea level rise or wetland degradation or loss, and
- low dissolved oxygen conditions in estuarine waters and related nutrient management.
This bill reauthorizes through FY2020 a program of grants to develop, implement, and monitor comprehensive conservation and management plans for estuaries.
S 1523 is sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It passed the Senate on August 28, 2015.