What We Do

This competitive grant program provides funding for long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems by helping states and territories protect, restore and enhance coastal habitats. Projects can include acquisition from willing sellers of coastal lands or waters; and/ or restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems. States have been receiving these funds since 1990.

According to a 2009 study from the USFWS, wetlands in coastal watersheds are lost at an average rate of 80,000 acres per year. Conservation of these habitats benefit coastal wetland-dependent wildlife and provide economic benefits and recreational opportunities for anglers, boaters, hunters and wildlife watchers. Coastal wetlands play an important role in reducing flooding from storm surge and in stabilizing shorelines in the face of sea-level rise.

Working in partnership with state fish and wildlife agencies and their partners, National Coastal Wetlands grant funding directly conserves and restores vital coastal and inland wetlands that:

  • Preserve critical habitat, including breeding grounds, nurseries, shelter and food for fish, birds and other wildlife
  • Protect clean water by filtering harmful pollutants, nutrients and sediments
  • Protect communities from storms, flooding, sea-level rise
  • Provide places for the public to fish, hunt and observe wildlife.
  • Support the commercial fishing industry by improving both water quality and the extent of wetland habitats available.
  • Ensures that coastal resources that are put at risk by development, pollution and the uncertainties of a changing climate are conserved

Activities eligible for funding include acquisition of coastal lands or waters, restoration, enhancement or management of coastal wetland ecosystems associated uplands, restoration and enhancement of coastal wetland systems.