NOAA 2003-R944
Contact: Aja Sae-Kung
NOAA News Releases 2003
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded $96,948 for the Drakes Island Salt Marsh Restoration Project located at the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve in Wells, Maine. The project, funded by the Community-based Restoration Program within the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), will improve and restore approximately 77 acres of salt marsh by enhancing tidal inundation and circulation. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

This demonstration project includes the removal of an existing undersized culvert and replacement with the first self-regulating tide gate in the state of Maine. This new technology is designed to allow for both flood protection to low-lying adjacent properties as well as facilitating salt marsh restoration.

“I am happy to be supporting a salt marsh restoration project at the Wells National Estuarine Reserve, and in particular a project which utilizes a new and innovative technology,” said Patricia Kurkul, NOAA Fisheries regional administrator for the northeast region. “This restoration project, and the community participation it provides, is important in improving fisheries productivity in the Gulf of Maine.”

The Wells Reserve is ideally suited to lead this demonstration project due to the laboratory facilities, scientific staff, volunteer base and outreach capabilities located directly on the property. Results of this project are expected to facilitate future projects in U.S. and Atlantic Canada coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem.

“NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program had enabled the town of Wells and the Wells NERR to develop a state-of-the-art management solution that addresses the combined needs of the salt marsh, the food web it supports, and the many residents and visitors that have and interest in the future of this ecosystem,” said Michelle Dionne, Wells NERR aquatic ecologist. “This project is an important step toward sustaining the ecological integrity and breathtaking beauty of Wells’ extensive and regionally significant tidal wetlands.”

The Community-based Restoration Program (CRP), a financial and technical assistance program within the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, promotes strong partnerships at the national, regional and local level to fund grassroots, community-based activities. 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 information about the CRP can be found at

In fiscal year 2003, NOAA has awarded more than 618 grants totaling $303 million to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for 33 years.

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. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, please visit

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit