Summary: H.R.3644 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (03/19/2010)

Ocean, Coastal, and Watershed Education Act - (Sec. 4) Directs the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish the Environmental Literacy Grant Program, a competitive grant program that provides financial assistance to: (1) expand the adoption of coastal, ocean, Great Lakes, and climate on all time scales education; (2) build administrative and technical capacity with coastal, ocean, and watershed communities and stakeholder groups to enhance their effectiveness; (3) encourage water- and wildlife-dependent and other outdoor recreation, experiential learning, and hands-on involvement with coastal and watershed resources as a method of promoting stewardship and sustainable economic development of those resources; and (4) develop and implement new approaches to advance coastal, ocean, Great Lakes, and climate on all time scales and education and environmental literacy.

Requires the Administrator to: (1) give priority, in awarding environmental literacy grants, to innovative, strategic, high-leverage projects that demonstrate strong potential for being sustained; and (2) publish guidelines regarding implementation of the Environmental Literacy Grant Program.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Administrator to conduct the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program, including each of the regional programs conducted or under active consideration for creation under the B-WET Program. Authorizes the Administrator to create new regional programs under the B-WET Program. Requires the Administrator to issue and report to Congress on a strategy for establishing such new regional programs. Requires the Administrator, in creating new regional programs, to give priority to the needs of U.S. territories, the Great Lakes states, Alaska, and the mid-Atlantic region.

Authorizes the Administrator to modify or realign regional B-WET programs, based on specified factors. Makes the Administrator responsible for the selection, appointment, and replacement of regional program managers. Establishes managers' duties.

Requires the Administrator to create B-WET Program guidelines through which managers may: (1) enter into contracts to support projects to design, demonstrate, evaluate, or disseminate practices, methods, or techniques related to bay-watershed education and training; and (2) provide grants or a cooperative agreement to support projects that advance environmental literacy, develop public awareness and appreciation of the economic, social, recreational, and environmental benefits of coastal watersheds, and emphasize stewardship of critical coastal and marine resources.

Requires managers, in awarding grants under the B-WET Program, to give priority to projects that will: (1) promote bay-watershed education throughout the region concerned; (2) advance strategic initiatives to incorporate bay-watershed education into education systems; (3) build capacity within bay-watershed education communities and stakeholder groups for expanding and strengthening their work; (4) build bay-watershed education into professional development or training activities for educators; (5) broadly replicate existing, proven bay-watershed education programs; (6) be conducted by or benefit under-served communities and any community that has an inability to draw on other funding sources because of its small population or low income; and (7) require a federal share not exceeding 75% of the aggregate cost of such project.

Requires NOAA's Office of Education to work with managers on the following regional B-WET Program functions: (1) strategic planning efforts; (2) integration and coordination of programs; (3) coordination of national evaluation efforts; (4) promotion of network-wide communications; (5) selection of new managers; and (6) management, tracking, and oversight of the B-WET Program.

(Sec. 6) Requires the Administrator to report biennially to Congress on grant programs.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes appropriations for FY2011-FY2015 for the Environmental Literacy Grant Program and the B-WET Program. Prohibits such appropriated funds from being used for congressional earmarks.