The United States Senate last week passed a package of appropriations bill that includes funding for some of the recreational boating industry’s top priorities. The move allows members of the Senate and House to meet in conference committee to negotiate a resolution to the differences in spending bills passed by each chamber.

The measure includes funding for the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Interior, and initiatives like restoration of the Great Lakes marine sanctuaries, and outdoor recreation.

Among the specifics important to the boating community are recommendations for US$1.5m to provide analysis highlighting the impact that outdoor recreation has on the US economy and directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify the federal programs that directly impact outdoor recreation.

Another US$2.5m for Modern Fish Act implementation, supporting efforts to improve fishery data collection, and US$61.5m for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, including US$6m for NOAA’s efforts to improve and enhance recreational anglers’ and boaters’ experiences in National Marine Sanctuaries.

The bill would provide a US$10m increase to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, earmarking US$310m for programs to protect the Great Lakes through the prevention of aquatic invasive species, harmful algal blooms, and habitat restoration, and US$25m to help prevent the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin.