NOAA ANNOUNCES $867,853 FOR
SOUTHEAST FISHERY HABITAT RESTORATION
in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina & Texas
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) announced awards totaling $867,853 for ten local organizations
in the southeastern United States to facilitate restoration of coastal
and marine habitat critical to fishery resources. The projects are
funded by the Community-based
Restoration Program within the NOAA
National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries). NOAA is an
agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The awards were made on a competitive basis through NOAA’s Community-based
Restoration Program (CRP) and will support projects in Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. 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.
and restoring essential fish habitat is critical to our efforts to
manage the nation’s fisheries, and I am excited and pleased
with NOAA Fisheries’ involvement with these projects,”
said Dr. Roy Crabtree, NOAA Fisheries southeast regional administrator.
following projects were awarded habitat restoration funds:
awarded $192,500 to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
to support local-state-federal programs in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama
and Mississippi to remove lost or abandoned crab traps from the
coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Each year thousands of crab
traps are lost or abandoned in the Gulf and these traps continue
to fish, impact benthic habitats, and present an entanglement hazard
to sea turtles and marine mammals. The derelict trap removal efforts
will be completed mainly with volunteers and agency staff at approximately
70 sites throughout the Gulf region.
NOAA awarded $51,855 to the City of Orange Beach to build several
reefs out of shucked oyster shell in order to restore important
hard bottom habitat for oyster spat settlement in Wolf Bay. Volunteers
will collect shell from local restaurants, bag the shell in wide
mesh bags and deploy the bags in a reef formation. Local organizations,
volunteers and a consulting firm have committed matching funds and
in-kind services for this project.
awarded $29,375 to University of Georgia Marine Extension Service
to restore several oyster reefs in the greater Savannah area. Volunteers
will be recruited to establish oyster shell recycling centers and
to promote shell recycling to the public and seafood restaurants.
The University of Georgia has committed matching funds in support
of this project.
awarded $50,123 to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
to evaluate the success of intertidal oyster restoration in South
Carolina. NOAA has supported the South Carolina Oyster Restoration
and Enhancement Program (SCORE) for several years. SCORE has been
highly successful at motivating a large volunteer effort (currently
more than 900 volunteers) to collect shucked oyster shell and use
it to construct reefs for oyster spat settlement. The goal of the
current funding is to utilize a portion of this volunteer base to
aid in the scientific evaluation of reef success. Improved site
selection may become possible with a more complete understanding
of the many factors that can influence the success of an individual
reef. An additional $50,063 has been committed in the form of in-kind
services, state of South Carolina staff, and community volunteers.
awarded $200,000 to Ocean Trust to restore 11,000 acres of once-productive
fishery habitat in the Bahia Grande, between Brownsville and Port
Isabel, Texas. By cutting dry channels to connect the Bahia Grande
to Laguna Larga and Little Laguna Madre, the complex will be prepared
for the re-introduction of tidal water from San Martine Lake, to
the southwest, and the Brownsville Ship Channel, to the south.
NOAA awarded $34,000 to Tampa Electric Company (TECO) to restore
11.9 acres of estuarine wetland on Tampa Bay. Invasive exotic plants
will be removed from the entire tract to allow for the construction
of tidal creeks and ponds as well as planting of native species.
It is estimated that the restored site will be visited by approximately
175,000 visitors a year due to its location adjacent to the TECO
Manatee Viewing Center public outreach facility.
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 were 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
awarded $50,000 to the Florida Gulf Coast University to restore
oyster reefs in the western Everglades watershed, specifically the
Caloosahatchee estuary, Estero Bay and Henderson Creek. The goal
of this project is to use scientific data to select appropriate
sites for oyster restoration. Community volunteers will bag shucked
oyster shells and deploy them in suitable habitat for oyster spat
awarded $50,000 to the Ecosystem Restoration Support Organization,
Inc., a Florida panhandle non-profit organization, to create 13
acres of combined saltmarsh and seagrass habitat and 14 acres of
oyster reef along the shoreline of Pensacola Bay. Volunteers will
participate in planting saltmarsh grasses and will collect oyster
spat on recycled shell for placement on the created reef.
awarded $180,000 to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
and the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to restore
natural tidal flushing between Johnson Bay and Tarpon Bay in Collier
County, Florida. This hydrologic restoration project will reconnect
the 600 acres of the two bays by dredging out the silt and installing
two culverts and one bridge, thus restoring the historical flow.
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
150 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 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration.
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