Coastal wetland habitat conservation is critical to ensure that important habitat, wildlife and coastal communities continue to thrive for future generations. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $20 million to support 25 projects in 13 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance more than 61,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. These projects will help mitigate the effects of climate change on coastal areas, many of which have already been dramatically altered and stressed by storms, sea level rise, human activity and invasive species.
State, local and Tribal governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute more than $17.6 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.
These grants help states and Tribes protect and restore important coastal habitats supporting a main pillar of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative contributing to the goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.
“Coastal wetlands provide important habitat for the fish, wildlife and plants that support natural infrastructure and help protect coastal communities from storm flooding and sea-level rise,” said Shannon Estenoz, Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “These grants symbolize the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to Build Back Better – creating and restoring sustainable natural systems that benefit wildlife and people into the future.”
The 2022 grants will also help recover coastal-dependent species, enhance flood protection and water quality, provide economic benefits to coastal communities and Tribes, increase outdoor recreational opportunities and benefit habitat and wildlife at several national wildlife refuges.
The Service awards grants of up to $1 million to states based on a national competition, which enables states to determine and address their highest conservation priorities in coastal areas. Since 1992, the Service has awarded more than $400 million in grants under the program.
States receiving funds this year are Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai‘i, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington. View the list of projects funded by the 2022 grant program, which includes the following:
North Fork Siuslaw Tidal Wetlands
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board is awarded $520,527 to acquire 247 acres of former pasture and wetlands adjacent to the North Fork of the Siuslaw River near Florence, Oregon. The project will transform the property from a diked cattle pasture to a functioning ecosystem that will provide habitat for a diversity of terrestrial and aquatic species. A future phase will reconnect approximately 236 acres of floodplain to the North Fork Siuslaw River through levee breaching, re‐establishing the historic tidal hydrology, and creating secondary features that promote habitat complexity. Once tidal hydrology is restored and secondary channels reform, habitat complexity and diversity will increase – creating conditions for diverse estuarine flora and fauna including nursery habitat for listed Oregon coho salmon.
Livingston Bay Acquisition
The Washington Department of Ecology, in partnership with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, is awarded $1 million to acquire 93.5 acres, and a conservation easement on an additional 32 acres. The project is in collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Stillaguamish and Tulalip Tribes. The site consists of former estuarine and wetland habitat that includes 25 acres of tidelands, and 2,600 feet of Puget Sound shoreline on Camano Island, Washington. The project will contribute to Puget Sound ecosystem recovery efforts by enabling land protection and subsequent tidal estuary and wetland restoration that will increase available critical habitat for multiple species of fish and wildlife, including listed Puget Sound Chinook salmon and Puget Sound steelhead. Port Susan Bay is also a key stop along the Pacific Flyway for migratory water birds.
Ka’ena Point Coastal Wetland Ecosystem Protection Project
The Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing to enhance 195 acres of habitat at Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve, located on the western tip of O’ahu by repairing, replacing and extending a predator proof fence, removing predators in the fenced enclosure, and restoring coastal dunes and intertidal habitat.
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.
More information is available online at: http://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/index.html.
The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the Service and funded in part 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. The billions of dollars generated through recreational angling, boating, waterfowl hunting and birdwatching benefit communities in the vicinity of wetlands restoration projects.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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