Friday, November 8, 2013

Gulf of Mexico Habitat Restoration Projects

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) recently announced that the agency will fund a number of habitat restoration projects in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana.

In addition, this funding is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional contributions for this work from project partners.

The money slated for the restoration projects is separate, but complementary, to restoration projects funded through the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment court settlements or the RESTORE Act.

Restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico include:

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana ($7 million): for engineering and design to restore 1370 acres of marsh in western coastal Louisiana. This funding is awarded through the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act and covers 3 projects.

St. Johns Water Management District ($250,000): to launch restoration of over 2000 acres of marsh, oyster reef and shoreline forage and nursery habitat along the northeast coast of Florida.  The project will benefit a variety of marine life including fish in the snapper-grouper complex, snook, red drum, and tarpon, spiny lobsters and shrimp.  In addition, this project may benefit endangered species such as sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish.

Coral Restoration Foundation ($200,000): to begin planting thousands of elkhorn and staghorn corals in the Florida Keys, both of which are currently listed as "threatened" and proposed for listing as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act

Coastal Cleanup Corporation ($17,000): to remove marine debris at eight turtle nesting beaches along Elliot Key in Biscayne Bay, FL.

Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium/Dauphin Island Sea Lab ($100,000): to remove 36 vessels or other large debris from Mobile Bay, AL.

In addition to projects in the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA Fisheries will be providing funds for projects in North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

source: NOAA Fisheries

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