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Contact: Matt Stout


The Clinton Administration announced today a $1 billion Lands Legacy Initiative to expand federal efforts to save America's natural treasures. More than $183 million will go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to increase protection of the nation's most significant ocean and coastal areas and help promote "smart growth" strategies along America's coasts.

As the largest one-year investment ever in the protection of America's resources, this FY 2000 budget proposal includes funds for federal and state efforts to protect ocean and coastal resources. The initiative includes $29 million to expand and protect NOAA's national marine sanctuaries; $90 million to states to protect and restore coastal lands; $19 million to states for estuaries protection; and $45 million to restore coral reefs, fisheries and marine habitats.

"This is an investment to provide coastal communities with the tools and resources for smart growth that is environmentally sound and economically sustainable," said NOAA Deputy Administrator Terry Garcia. "The marine and coastal resources of this nation are a public treasure; we are committed to ensuring they are a national legacy as well."
The initiative announced today includes funding for:

NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries - Lands Legacy proposes $29 million -- a 107 percent increase -- to strengthen protections at 12 marine sanctuaries off California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and American Samoa, and to plan for future marine sanctuaries. The funding will allow NOAA to accelerate the adoption and implementation of management plans for existing sanctuaries and expand outreach activities with coastal communities.

Coastal Zone Management Act Program - To help promote "smart growth" strategies along America's coasts, the initiative proposes $90 million, a 55 percent increase, to help states implement Critical Coastal Area Management and Restoration Plans. The matching grants can be used to acquire lands or to undertake other efforts to protect wildlife habitat, protect life and property from coastal hazards, and revitalize ports and urban waterfronts.

National Estuarine Research Reserves System - The initiative proposes $19 million, a 375 percent increase, to expand a network of critical estuaries representing all the biological regions along America's coasts. NOAA provides guidance and matching funds to states to acquire land, protect resources and conduct research and education. Twenty-two reserves in 19 states and territories manage about 500,000 acres. The proposed funding would double the protected acreage.

Coral Reef Restoration - Lands Legacy proposes $10.3 million -- a $10 million increase -- to protect fragile coral reefs from pollution and other human impacts. NOAA, in conjunction with the Department of the Interior, would restore injured reefs in Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and U.S. territories, and develop a coral nursery to grow donor material for restoration projects.

Coastal Dredge Area Restoration - The initiative proposes $10 million for NOAA to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and coastal communities to use material dredged from ports and shipping channels to restore coastal habitats. Dredging is critical to keep shipping lanes open and deepen channels to accommodate larger ships. Reusing dredge benefits the environment and reduces disposal costs.

Fisheries Habitat Restoration - To restore declining fisheries, the initiative proposes $25 million for NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service to acquire and protect critical coastal habitats. Efforts would focus on the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coast, the Gulf Coast, the West Coast, Alaska, and other regions to build community-based partnerships to restore essential fisheries habitats.