The following is a guest post from Dr. Rob Brumbaugh, the Restoration Program Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Marine Team.
Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced their selection of marine habitat restoration projects to be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka ‘Stimulus Bill’).
The Nature Conservancy has the simultaneously thrilling and humbling opportunity to be leading 8 of the 50 projects that were selected for funding.
The Conservancy isn’t carrying out these projects in isolation, of course — each project has an alphabet soup of partners involved to oversee various tasks and responsibilities.
From a conservation standpoint, these restoration projects will really move the needle:
- Salmon will once again have access to miles of rivers where they spawn and where their offspring grow in Alaska, Washington and California;
- Crabs and fish will benefit from acres of restored oyster reefs and seagrass meadows along Virginia’s outer coast;
- Coral and seagrass flats being smothered by invasive algae in Hawai’i will be rescued;
- Miles of marshy shorelines will be protected from the ravages of waves in Louisiana and Alabama’s Gulf Coast; and
- A safety net of coral nurseries will be created for highly threatened staghorn coral throughout Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Native American tribes, towns, state agencies and other nonprofit organizations leading the other 42 projects around the country will accomplish similarly great things for our environment.
And all these projects will require a lot of work.
The Nature Conservancy’s projects alone will create or maintain more than 450 jobs such as engineers, surveyors, marine biologists, boat captains, heavy equipment operators and many others.
Multiply this by all of NOAA’s stimulus-funded restoration projects and factor in the long-term benefits we gain from a more resilient coast, and suddenly it becomes clear that habitat restoration is good for fish, crabs and people.
(image: Crabbing in McIntosh County, Georgia, by Erika Nortemann/TNC.)