NOAA 2002-R150
Contact: Jennifer Koss
NOAA News Releases 2002
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The 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.

The 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.

“We 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 Texas depend.”

The 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 restoration activities.


  • NOAA 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.
  • NOAA 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.


  • NOAA 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.
  • NOAA 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.
  • NOAA 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.
  • NOAA 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 species.

Puerto Rico

  • NOAA 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 practices.

NOAA 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 at

NOAA’s 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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