The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Sea Grant Program was awarded $1.56 million through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a press release from Sen. Ben Cardin’s office.

Maryland Sea Grant funds scientific research related to the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s coastal resources with practical applications benefitting Maryland industries, economies and conservation groups.

“The futures of Maryland’s economy and of our environment depend on the investments we make in the Chesapeake Bay today,” said Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in the press release. “Maryland Sea Grant serves an invaluable purpose, bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders and connecting problems with practical, research based solutions.”

This investment builds on the $1.24 million which the senators announced in June. While President Trump’s budget proposed eliminating the program, Sens.

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Cardin supported and helped secure federal funding through the appropriations process.

“The Maryland Sea Grant Program conducts crucial research and outreach to protect and improve the health of Chesapeake Bay. This funding will help ensure their essential work will continue,” Van Hollen, a member of the Environment and Public Works and Appropriations Committees, said in the release. “A clean and thriving Bay is vital to Maryland’s economy, wildlife, and environment, and I will continue to fight for those priorities in the Senate.”

Maryland Sea Grant awards grants and funding to support researchers in emerging areas of science. Their recent research has helped develop new approaches in oyster aquaculture businesses and contribute to the increase of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population.

Maryland Sea Grant is part of a network of 33 National Sea Grant programs.