Water-Related News

NOAA announces $4 million in funding to build coastal resilience

Six restoration projects across the country aim to develop healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems

As part of its efforts to provide communities and businesses with products, tools, services, and funding to better address weather- and climate-related threats, today NOAA announced $4 million in recommended funding for six habitat restoration projects across the United States.

The projects recommended for funding, under NOAA’s 2015 Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program, focus on dam removal in New England, creation of living shorelines in North Carolina, and reconnection of rivers to floodplains and flood protection in Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and California.

“Funding these innovative habitat restoration projects supports our mission of fostering resilient coastal communities and sustainable marine resources, and that’s a priority for us,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “These on-the-ground restoration projects, along with the other restoration projects we support, will enhance ecosystem resilience against extreme weather and changing environmental conditions, provide habitat to support sustainable fisheries, and help recover protected species.”

Habitat restoration experts from around the country selected these projects based on rigorous reviews and a highly competitive process. Recommended projects have been approved by their state’s Governor’s offices. At least $2 million in the federal grants will be matched by applicants, and the projects must begin within 12 months of funding.

NOAA is taking a multifaceted approach to building coastal resilience through two grant programs. NOAA Fisheries’ Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants program is dedicated to the development of healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems through habitat restoration. A complementary NOAA National Ocean Service grant program, the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants, focuses on regional-scale projects that enhance the resilience of coastal communities and economies to effects of extreme weather, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions. Activities may include improving coastal risk assessment and communication, promoting collaborative approaches to resilience planning, and better informing science based decisionmaking.

The National Ocean Service plans to announce the results of that grant competition in early 2016.

Application approval and funding is not yet final. Divisions of NOAA and the Department of Commerce must still give final approval for the projects. Project Title: Lemon Creek Habitat Restoration

Applicant: Southwest Florida Water Management District

Recommended Federal Funding: $420,000*

Summary: The habitat restoration project, at an abandoned 80-acre golf course now known as Wildflower Preserve, will improve the tidal connectivity between Lemon Creek and Lemon Bay, enhance the existing freshwater and estuarine wetlands, add nine acres of estuarine wetlands and five acres of freshwater wetlands, remove exotic vegetation, and add native wetland and coastal upland plantings. The joint project, along with the Lemon Bay Conservancy, will improve the quality of water entering Lemon Bay, increase resilience of neighboring communities to the potential impacts of climate change (flooding and storm protection), enhance estuarine fisheries, and improve overall ecosystem function within the Charlotte Harbor watershed.