The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has announced a $30 million partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to restore and strengthen natural landscapes that help absorb the impacts of storms and floods and protect coastal communities.
In its inaugural year, the National Coastal Resilience Fund will invest up to $30 million in the restoration or expansion of natural features such as coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, mangrove forests, and barrier islands that help minimize the impacts of storms, rising sea levels, and other extreme weather- or climate-related events on communities and infrastructure. NOAA will use a small portion of the funds to assist communities in tracking down the information needed to make cost-effective coastal management decisions that also deliver economic, environmental, and security benefits.
The fund will focus its investments on restoration projects designed to reduce the impacts of regional threats such as changes in sea or Great Lakes water levels, increased coastal and riverine flooding, and beach erosion. In addition to improving coastal resilience, projects will be expected to benefit local economies while at the same time sustaining critical fish and wildlife habitat.
In 2017, the United States was impacted by sixteen separate billion-dollar weather- and climate-related disasters, resulting in a record $306.2 billion in damages. At the same time, many coastal cities are experiencing high-tide flooding on as many as twenty days a year, and sometimes more, resulting in an increase in health and public safety risks such as road closures, overwhelmed storm drains, and compromised water quality.
"Protecting local coastal communities and benefiting wildlife at the same time is a huge win-win for coastal regions of the United States," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "The projects we fund through this new partnership with NOAA, and with the support of Congress, will provide lasting benefits to millions of Americans, and to the natural resources that are essential to the future of the nation."