On November 18, 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation–(NFWF)-joined by partners Shell and TransRe—announced $30 million in new grants to support coastal resilience projects in 23 states and U.S. territories.
The grants will restore or expand natural features such as coastal marshes and wetlands, dune and beach systems, oyster and coral reefs, mangroves, forests, coastal rivers, and barrier islands that help minimize the impacts of storms, rising sea levels and other extreme events on nearby communities and habitats. The 44 grants will generate $60 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $90 million.
“These projects were strategically selected because of the benefits they provide to our coast and their consistency with Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan, and will further strengthen the resilience of coastal Louisiana,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline.
Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $5.3 billion.
“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is an important partner in the fight against environmental threats to our way of life and our coastal communities in Louisiana,” said U.S. Sen. John Kennedy.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. TransRe is a reinsurance organization headquartered in New York with operations worldwide.
“Fishing and shrimping aren’t just hobbies in Louisiana. They’re jobs that put quality seafood on dinner plates across this country. We have to protect those jobs and the families who live along our coast. Through strategic funding, such as the grants announced today, the foundation will help us plant thousands of trees, rebuild a shoreline and restore marshland. These will serve as natural defenses against devastating storms and flooding. With investments like this, Louisiana can keep fishing and keep producing energy for generations to come,” Kennedy added.
Congress provided funding for Title IX of the National Oceans and Coastal Security Act, allowing grants to be awarded through a partnership between NFWF, NOAA, Shell, and TransRe. These grants were then awarded through the National Coastal Resilience Fund.
“The Blue Economy drives our nation’s prosperity and growth, and yet our coastal areas remain vulnerable to extreme events like hurricanes and flooding,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “This partnership will help harness the power of natural landscapes to protect our communities and provide long-term prosperity for the millions of Americans who live, work and play there.”
NFWF, in partnership with NOAA, launched the NCRF in 2018 to support on-the-ground projects that engage communities and reduce their vulnerability to growing risks from coastal storms, sea-level rise, flooding, erosion, and extreme weather through strengthening natural ecosystems that also benefit fish and wildlife.
“I’m excited that today we are able to increase the protection of our vulnerable coastal communities,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “In its second year, the National Coastal Resilience Fund continues to pull together the public and private sectors to enhance coastal habitats and at the same time provide much needed buffering to coastal communities against extreme weather events.”
The projects supported by the 44 grants announced today advance innovative nature-based approaches to improve the resilience of coastal communities.
“Rhode Island’s economy and culture depend on the health of our coastline. Coastal resiliency efforts are necessary to protect communities at risk from the growing threat of climate change,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m glad to see the fruits of my oceans fund come to bear in my home state, and appreciate Senator Kennedy’s continued support for this effort.”
Recognizing the need for action, these projects build on significant coordination and planning that has already been done by many coastal communities and will offer significant benefits for nearby communities and for fish and wildlife.
“Coastal resilience is vital to the lives of millions of Americans,” said Mike Sapnar, TransRe’s President and CEO. “We applaud the progress already made by last year’s award recipients. This year’s projects are equally deserving, and we are pleased to support their important work.”
Photo of restoration work in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana courtesy of NOAA.