The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program annually provides grants of up to $1 million to coastal and Great Lakes states, as well as U.S. territories to protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland ecosystems and associated uplands. The grants are funded by taxes or import duties collected from the sale of recreational fishing equipment, boats, electric motors, and motorboat and small engine fuels under the authority of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950.
Coastal areas are highly vulnerable to climate change, and many have already been dramatically altered and stressed by storms, sea level rise, human activity and invasive species. Coastal wetland habitat conservation is critical to ensure that important habitat, wildlife and coastal communities continue to thrive for future generations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $27 million to support 33 projects in 14 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance almost 28,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
State, local and tribal governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute more than $22.2 million in additional funds to these projects. These grants will have wide-reaching benefits for local economies, people and wildlife – boosting coastal resilience, reducing flood risk, stabilizing shorelines and protecting natural ecosystems.
Wetlands in coastal watersheds are diverse and complex ecosystems that are vital to the nation’s economy and an important part of the nation’s natural heritage. Coastal wetlands in the United States include both salt marshes in estuaries and freshwater wetlands that extend inland within the coastal drainages. They provide crucial habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife, including breeding grounds, nurseries, shelter and food.
States receiving funds this year are Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawai‘i, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Click HERE for the complete list of projects funded by the 2021 grant program.
The program, funded in part through taxes paid on fishing equipment and fuel purchases by recreational anglers and boaters, creates significant benefits for the American public. The billions of dollars generated through recreational angling, boating, waterfowl hunting and birdwatching benefit communities in the vicinity of wetlands restoration projects.
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