The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have announced thirty-five grants totaling $28.9 million for the conservation of natural features that help minimize the impacts of storms, rising sea levels, and other extreme events on communities and infrastructure in twenty-two states and Puerto Rico.
Awarded through the National Coastal Resilience Fund, the grants will support the restoration or expansion of coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, mangroves, forests, coastal rivers, and barrier islands. Launched earlier this year by NFWF and NOAA in partnership with Shell Oil Company and TransRe, NCRF funds on-the-ground projects designed to reduce communities' vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, wildfires, drought, and extreme weather. Grants awarded in this funding round will generate $38.3 million in matching contributions, for a total conservation impact of $67.2 million.
Recipients include the Superior Watershed Partnership, which was awarded $2.5 million to implement green-gray infrastructure that will strengthen natural systems along Michigan's Lake Superior shoreline; Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, which will receive nearly $1.5 million to restore more than a hundred and thirty acres of coral reef, with the goal of strengthening coastal resiliency to storm-enhanced waves and preserving essential fisheries habitat; the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council in Gresham, Oregon, which was awarded $960,660 to restore more than four hundred floodplain-adjacent acres, enhancing habitat for threatened wild salmon and steelhead while increasing the resiliency of surrounding community infrastructure; the Nature Conservancy, which will receive $768,454 to establish a natural constructed wetlands system in Hawaii's He'eia wetlands; and Para la Naturaleza in Puerto Rico, which was awarded $652,444 in support of a variety of forest restoration activities aimed at enhancing the floodplains, wetlands, and coastal forests in Hacienda La Esperanza and neighboring communities.
"Today is a very good day for the coasts," said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. "In just seven months, with a bipartisan appropriation, the foundation worked with NOAA to hammer out the specifics of the program and bring on board two corporate partners to support these grants. With today's announcement, we've brought together the public and private sectors to maximize the resources available to conserve habitat and help coastal communities."
For a complete list of grants, see the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.