$185,000 IN FLORIDA FISHERY HABITAT RESTORATION
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
announced awards totaling $475,195 for eight local organizations in
the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico to restore coastal and
marine habitat critical to fishery resources.
awards were made on a competitive basis through NOAA’s Community-based
Restoration Program (CRP)
and will support projects in Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
Staff from the NOAA
Restoration Center and NOAA Fisheries
southeast region work closely with awardees to implement projects with
community volunteers. Projects involve community members in hands-on
activities from initial construction to monitoring and maintenance,
all of which promotes stewardship and a heightened appreciation for
living marine resources.
are pleased to be able to provide funding for habitat restoration efforts
as far south as Puerto Rico,” said Joseph Powers, acting administrator
for NOAA Fisheries’ southeast
region. “Supporting grass-roots efforts is key to recovering
and rebuilding the commercial and recreational fishery resources in
the southeast upon which the nation and the Florida depend.”
following projects were awarded habitat restoration funds:
NOAA awarded $150,000 to the Edward
Wisner Donation, a non-profit land trust that includes over
more than 35,000 acres of wetlands and water bottom near New Orleans.
The project will stabilize 2,950 feet of shoreline, create 40-45
acres of marsh and mangrove forest, restore natural hydrology
to an impounded area, and enhance dune formation critical to protecting
the coastline. Local and national organizations have committed
over $367,000 in matching funds and in-kind services to maximize
awarded $50,000 to the Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department to protect and restore 45 acres of
salt marsh and 17 acres of tidal sand flats in Jumbile Bay Cove near
Galveston Island. Proper elevation will be restored and planted adjacent
to currently at-risk saltmarsh and sand flats. Once established, the
newly created marsh area will protect the present marsh and sand flats
from further erosion. The $276,000 project has garnered local, state
and national support.
awarded $75,000 to the Galveston Bay
Foundation to replace three islands in Dickinson Bay that have eroded
over the past 60 years due to land subsidence. These islands will create
critical intertidal marsh habitat, colonial waterbird nesting habitat,
and an oyster reef while also providing erosion protection to the adjacent
shoreline. The islands will be 5, 10 and 14 acres, all carefully engineered
from clean, locally available material.
awarded $45,000 to the Marine
Resources Council of East Florida to remove invasive vegetation
and replant native species along 100 acres of shoreline in the Indian
River Lagoon. Hundreds of volunteers will be involved in the manual
removal of invasive Brazilian Pepper trees and the replanting of mangroves.
Once established, the mangroves will increase suitable habitat available
for numerous commercial and recreational fish species.
awarded $59,995 to the University of South
Florida to restore tidal flow through the islands of Fort
DeSoto Park at the mouth of Tampa Bay. This project will provide
monitoring support to evaluate the effectiveness of an existing Pinellas
County habitat restoration project that involves the removal of two
causeways that impede tidal exchange. This will restore the historic
tidal connection and improve the health of seagrasses found in the area.
Increasing dissolved oxygen levels to these currently stagnated pools
will enhance seagrass growth and benefit fishery resources.
awarded $30,000 to Wildlife Research Team, Inc. a non-profit volunteer-based
education foundation in Miami-Dade County, to clear tidal passageways
through the mangrove forests in Matheson Hammock Park. These tidal passageways
are clogged with large amounts of debris from Hurricane Andrew in 1992
and are unavailable as vital nursery and forage grounds to young fish,
sea turtles and invertebrates. The debris will be removed by volunteers
using canoes and manual labor as an alternative to the use of large
machinery, which can damage these sensitive habitats.
awarded $50,000 to the Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization, Inc.,
a Florida panhandle non-profit organization, to create 12 acres of saltmarsh
and seagrass habitat along the shoreline of Pensacola Bay. The area
will be re-graded with clean sand to achieve the appropriate intertidal
elevation to establish a vital saltmarsh habitat. Volunteers will then
plant saltmarsh and seagrass vegetation to enhance shoreline stabilization,
filter urban runoff, and increase nursery habitat for juvenile marine
awarded $15,200 to the Caribbean Environment and Development Institute
to plant red mangroves along two acres of shoreline in the San Juan
Bay Estuary. This estuary has experienced the loss of 95 percent of
its original mangrove coverage due to intense coastal development. The
mangroves will protect against coastal erosion, enhance nursery habitat
for juvenile fishes, and will be used as an educational tool to promote
further restoration and conservation efforts in the highly urbanized
San Juan area.
NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program has been helping community
organizations develop and implement habitat restoration projects of local
priority since 1996. The NOAA-funded projects provide strong on-the-ground
habitat restoration components that offer educational and social benefits
for people and their communities, in addition to long-term ecological
benefits for fishery resources. More than 90 projects in the southeast
region have been implemented using NOAA funding to leverage state and
local contributions. Community involvement, a key component of the program,
enhances stewardship that will be critical to improving future conservation
Restoration Center personnel are available for advice and direction in
project development and implementation.
More information on the CRP and future funding opportunities can be found
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA
Fisheries) is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s
living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement
and the conservation of marine mammals, and other protected marine species
and their habitat.
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