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Estuary Restoration Act of 2000Photo of a Texas Estuary

The Estuary Restoration Act (ERA) promotes restoration of estuary habitat through enhanced coordination of Federal and non-Federal restoration activities and more efficient project financing. Specifically, the Act:

  • Established a national program to restore 1 million acres of estuary habitat.

  • Established a Federal council to assist in developing this program.

  • Established a National Estuary Restoration Strategy

  • Authorized Federal assistance for restoration projects sponsored by non-Federal partners.

  • Encouraged partnerships between the public and private sectors by setting a 65 percent limit on the Federal share of projects costs, or 85 percent for project aspects that promote innovative technology.

  • Directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create and maintain a national database for monitoring estuarine restoration projects, including techniques, completion, and habitat assessment data.

The Act created a council comprised of representatives of five Federal agencies (NOAA, the Corp of Engineers (COE), the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Interior (DOI) - acting through the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). The Council is responsible for developing a national strategy for estuary habitat restoration and for soliciting project proposals and making recommendations concerning project funding.

Public/Private Partnerships - The Act promotes new and productive partnerships among the public and private sectors through leveraging limited Federal resources with State and local funding. The Federal share on projects is limited to 65 percent. The Federal share can be increased to include 85 percent of the additional incremental cost for projects that focus on technologically innovative restoration techniques.

The Act identifies a number of factors to be considered in selecting projects. For example, the project must be part of an approved Federal or State estuary habitat restoration plan; be technically feasible; and encourage increased coordination and cooperation among governments.

The Act sets a national goal of restoring one million acres of estuarine habitat through on-the-ground projects such as restoring salt marsh vegetation and elevations, reclaiming native fish runs by installing fish ladders, replanting seagrass beds, building and seeding oyster reefs, controlling nonnative invasive species, and restoring tidal flows to formerly diked, drained and impounded areas.


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Last updated: September 14, 2009
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
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