|FYI — August 2001|
|By Brad Dunn|
Congress boosted the agency’s budget for 2002 in a new bill that authorized $5.4 billion for all Coast Guard programs and operations. That’s $300 million more than the agency asked for and $845 million more than it received last year, according to the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
With a fatter wallet, the Coast Guard said it will first aim to improve rescue operations and bolster its law enforcement efforts, including drug interdiction along U.S. borders.
Meanwhile, as if on cue, the Coast Guard made its largest cocaine capture in history in the Pacific Ocean last May. The crew of the cutter Active seized some 26,400 pounds of cocaine aboard a Belize-flagged fishing vessel about 1,500 nautical miles south of San Diego, according to agency reports. After days of searching the fishing vessel Svesda Maru during a Customs inspection, the Coast Guard discovered the cocaine in a secret compartment under the fish holds.
The agency’s previous record catch occurred in 1995, when it snared about 24,000 pounds of cocaine in a single operation.
According to a new report, the Chesapeake Bay is slowly recovering from the effects of massive human development along its shores, thanks in part to stricter pollution legislation, and that means new life for the 2,700 plants and animals that live there.
"While we still have a long way to go in restoring the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays and their tributaries, the most recent findings show some positive trends," says Dr. Robert Magnien, tidewater ecosystem assessment director for Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.
According to the group’s study, Maryland bay grass acreage increased by about 1,472 acres in 2000, which means the area is up by 4 percent to 35,671 acres.
Humans have caused most of the ecological trouble in the area: More than 15 million people live or work in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Water quality has suffered greatly from agricultural and urban runoff, says the study.
Bay grasses are crucial for protecting shorelines from erosion. They reduce wave action, help absorb some pollutants, and trap sediments that cloud bay waters.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.