(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)
National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2015
This bill amends the National Sea Grant College Program Act to reauthorize through FY2021 the National Sea Grant College Program.
(Sec. 3) The bill requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to award Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships. Currently, NOAA has discretion in awarding such fellowships. These fellowships support the placement of graduate students in fields related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources in positions with the executive and legislative branches.
NOAA must prioritize the placement of marine policy fellows placed in the legislative branch in: (1) offices or committees of Congress that have jurisdiction over NOAA; and (2) offices of Members of Congress that have a demonstrated interest in ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes resources. NOAA must attempt to ensure that placements are equitably distributed among political parties.
(Sec. 4) NOAA must establish priorities for the use of donations given for the National Sea Grant Program. The National Sea Grant College Program must make recommendations for the optimal use of the donations.
(Sec. 5) The bill repeals a reporting requirement on the coordination of ocean and coastal research activities by NOAA and the National Science Foundation.
(Sec. 6) The bill reduces the frequency of reports required by the National Sea Grant Advisory Board on the National Sea Grant College Program by requiring reports every three years rather than every two years.
(Sec. 7) The bill specifies that the financial assistance provided by the National Sea Grant College Program must include financial assistance for research, education, extension, training, technology transfer, and public service.
(Sec. 8) Within two years of a fellow successfully completing the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, federal agencies may appoint a fellow who has earned a graduate or post-graduate degree in a field related to ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources or policy from an accredited institution of higher education.
(Sec. 9) The bill authorizes through FY2020 grants for university research on: (1) the biology, prevention, and control of aquatic nonnative species; (2) oyster diseases, oyster restoration, and oyster-related human health risks; (3) the biology, prevention, and forecasting of harmful algal blooms; and (4) sustainable aquaculture techniques and technologies. The bill also authorizes through FY2020 grants for: (1) fishery extension activities conducted by sea grant colleges or sea grant institutes to enhance existing core program funding; and (2) priority issues identified in the National Sea Grant Program's strategic plan.