Maryland funding is in jeopardy

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Yesterday the Maryland Senate Budget & Taxation Subcommittee on Public Safety, Transportation, and the Environment proposed reducing the FY2011 Non-Capital grant fund to $0.  The full Budget & Taxation Committee will take up these recommendations later this week.  The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and the Environment will consider these items on March 24.

There is more information available on the Preservation Maryland website (www.preservemd.org) at

http://www.preservationmaryland.org/pdf/03-15-10%20Advocacy%20Alert.pdf

Be mindful of the fact that funds for the annual field session, Archeology Month, the ASM survey and testing program, other archeological projects, as well as National Register nominations, county-wide architectural surveys, and educational programs all come from the Non-Capital fund.

The proposed non-funding would effectively kill the SHIP program in Maryland for the time being.  IMH does not have the money to pay for massive amounts of work.  This year, for example, we have 51 sites in the Potomac sites and 175 in the Chesapeake to assess – plus anything else we find.  We plan to submit a grant application for $20,580 to fund that work.

If you want to help convince the Maryland legislature to support us, please contact your State Senators and Delegate(s).  A draft letter is attached.

A roster of the Senate and House of Delegates can be found here -- http://mlis.state.md.us/Other/Roster/Committee.pdf

Dear ____________________:

The Institute of Maritime History is a non-profit corporation qualified to do business in Maryland.   For the last several years it has actively conducted underwater archaeological reconnaissance in Maryland to support the Maryland Historical Trust.

Approximately 60 people have contributed many hundreds of man-days of volunteer labor to survey a large portion of the lower Potomac River.  We have surveyed an area that is twice the size of Washington DC, and reported numerous sites to the Trust for management and protection.   All the labor and much of the money for expenses have been provided by our volunteers.  Part of the money has been provided by the State under non-capital grants through the Trust.

Much remains to be done.   In FY 2011 we hope to expand the work, finish surveying the lower Potomac, and assess more than 226 sites in the river and in the Bay.  That is a massive amount of work.   As a small non-profit we cannot afford to continue that important and necessary work unless non-capital funding is available to cover the costs of boat fuel and diving air.

Our work helps the Trust meet the legal requirements imposed by federal and state laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 U.S.C. 470 & seq., the Abandoned Shipwreck Act, 43 U.S.C. 2101 & seq., and the Maryland State Finance and Procurement Act, sections 5A-333(h), 5A-337, 5A-339(a), 5S-340, 5A-341, 5A-344, 5S-345, and 5A-346, Annotated Code of Maryland.  Without funding, those mandates cannot be met.

We therefore urge you to continue funding the non-capital grant program administered by the Trust, to enable us to continue.

Sincerely yours,