Coastal Program

Welcome to the Coastal Program

The Coastal Program is one of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s most effective resources for restoring and protecting fish and wildlife habitat on public and privately-owned lands. We play an important role in promoting the Service’s mission and priorities, delivering landscape-scale conservation, and implementing strategic habitat conservation.

We are located in 24 priority coastal areas, along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, and in the Caribbean. Working with partners, locally-based staff provide technical assistance for habitat conservation design and planning, and financial assistance for habitat restoration and protection projects.

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Project Highlights

Marine Debris Removal

Marine debris is a growing global pollution problem, affecting 86% of all sea turtle species, 44% of all seabird species, and 43% of all marine mammal species. Wildlife can accidentally ingest or become entangled in the debris, often leading to death.

The Coastal Program worked with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to remove marine debris from over 280 acres of coral reefs and beaches on Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The project benefited the federally endangered Hawaiian monk seal and several sea turtle species, and allowed for the translocation of federally endangered Laysan ducks to the atoll.

Only 20% of marine debris is from commercial fishing, and the remaining 80% is from land-based sources. To save wildlife and protect important habitat, recycle and properly dispose of your trash.


Texas Coastal Prairie Enhancement

The Attwater’s prairie-chicken is a subspecies of the Greater prairie chicken found along the Texas and Louisiana coast. Habitat loss has reduced the population of this highly endangered species from 1 million birds to fewer than 100 birds.

The Coastal Program worked with the Coastal Bend Bays and the Estuaries Program to restore over 2,600 acres of prairie by eradicating fire ants and managing brush habitat in southeastern Texas. The restoration enhanced the nesting sites of last eight Attwater’s prairie chickens remaining outside of the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge.



Waterfowl Habitat Restoration

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The Coastal Program’s ability to work on public and private lands can help the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) to implement landscape conservation within and beyond their boundaries to maintain habitat connectivity and continuity.

Working with Ducks Unlimited, the Coastal Program restored 310 acres of marsh on the Uihlein Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) in Wisconsin. This WPA, located in the Leopold Wetland Management District, is a premier migratory bird area within the Lake Michigan watershed that is managed by the NWRS. The WPA offers exceptional waterfowl breeding, nesting, and migration habitat and is open to the public for a variety of outdoor recreation.

Prescribed Fire

The Babcock Ranch Preserve (Preserve) covers 73,000 acres in south-central Florida, and includes several unique habitat types containing dozens of state and federally protected plants and wildlife. Invasive species can displace native plants and animals, which can impair an entire ecosystem.

The Coastal Program partnered with Babcock Ranch, Inc., and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to develop and implement an invasive species management and monitoring plan to restore 884 acres of habitat on the Preserve. Prescribed fire and herbicide were used to remove invasive plants, including Brazilian pepper, cogon grass and water hyacinth. After the treatment, monitoring for amphibians, Florida scrub-jay, and red-cockaded woodpecker will be conducted to evaluate the success of the project.



Find Your Program Office

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What's New

Check out Restoring Island Ecosystems brochure that highlights several of our successful invasive removal projects on islands!

Check out the Coastal Program's 2014 Annual Accomplishment 

The Coastal Program is helping to promote Living Shorelines!

Department of Interior has released the Spring 2015 NewsWave

The Department of the Interior's Summer 2014 Issue of the NewsWave!

The Estuary Habitat Restoration Council has prepared a draft Revision of the Estuary Restoration Act’s Monitoring Data Standards.

Check out the recently released Status and Trends of Wetlands in Coastal Watersheds 2004-2009


Quick Resource Library

There have been over 1,000 invasive species removal projects on islands worldwide. The Coastal Program and Island Conservation have prepared a Restoring Island Ecosystems brochure that highlights several examples of successful invasive removal projects.

2014 Accomplishment Report

National summary of our 2014 conservation efforts, with regional summaries, and highlighted projects and activities.


2013 Accomplishment Report

National summary of our 2013 conservation efforts, with regional summaries, and highlighted projects and activities.


Restoration Returns
Working with the Service's Economics Division, this report assesses the economic stimulus associated with our habitat conservation projects.



National Coastal Program Strategic Plan

The National Strategic Plan presents the goals of the Coastal Program, and the geographic focus areas where we concrete our habitat conservation efforts.



National Coastal Wetlands Grant

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program annually delivers conservation dollars to help coastal states U.S. territories to protect and restore coastal wetlands. Funding is provided through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

National Marine Protected Area Center

Co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and the Interior but housed under the National Marine Sanctuaries Program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Marine Protected Area Center works in partnership with federal, state, tribal, and local governments and stakeholders to build a National System of Marine Protected Areas, and to support and enhance existing marine protected area programs.

Last updated: September 25, 2015