On November 23, 2022, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that a Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) project was one of three projects contributing to the revitalization and resilience of Louisiana that were awarded over $5.49 million in funding through the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC) grant program.
The Louisiana-based wildlife conservation group Manomet received $217,600 in ATBC funds to assist farmers and land managers in increasing delivery of improved habitat provisioning for Louisiana wetlands shorebirds. After matching fund contributions are made, the project will total $436,100.
The ATBC, which was established in May 2022, awarded nearly $91 million across 55 grants nationwide to support projects that conserve, restore, and connect habitats for wildlife while improving community resilience and access to nature.
NFWF awarded nearly $950,000 in grant funding to CPRA for the engineering and design phase of the Central Wetlands Restoration Project that could benefit a 16,000 acres area. The goal of this project is to alleviate impoundment and increase freshwater and sediment input, create a small scale marsh and ridge restoration project, and plant native vegetation in collaboration with local partners. CPRA funds bring the total project amount to $1,089,400.
“This award is the first competitive coastal ecosystem restoration grant from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Louisiana’s coastal program, which allows us to draw down federal resources to advance coastal preservation by designing and completing the innovative projects in our Coastal Master Plan,” said CPRA Chairman Chip Kline.
“We would like to thank the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the other partners involved in awarding the America the Beautiful Challenge funds that will support the environmental restoration efforts that benefit vulnerable communities in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish line with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative,” he continued.
Congressman Troy Carter, who represents the areas that will be improved by the project, sent a letter of support to the Department of the Interior urging that CPRA’s ATBC grant application be given full and fair consideration. Congressman Carter’s support of the project was vital to CPRA’s efforts to receive funding for the project.
“Louisiana relies on healthy and resilient coasts and wetlands for our way of life,” said Congressman Carter.
“Our properties, industry, tourism, flood control, and wildlife all depend on what the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority does for our state, and I am thrilled to hear that they have received this federal funding to support their great work. I was proud to write a letter of support in their application for the America the Beautiful Challenge grant program and I look forward to partnering with CPRA on future efforts to protect and strengthen our state’s coasts and natural areas,” he added.
The Louisiana and Mississippi Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries will receive funding to partner on a project to improve resilience of 90,000 acres of fire-dependent habitats.
The project, which aims to restore ecosystems and manage existing habitats in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, was awarded over $4.3 million in ATBC funds. Additional matching funds will bring the project total to over $5.5 million.
“We would like to thank our counterparts in Mississippi for partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on this important project,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet.
“These funds will help with improvements at our Sandy Hollow WMA in Tangipahoa Parish and Lee Memorial Forest in Washington Parish as well as privately-owned and industrial timberlands,” he explained.
The grant program was created through a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Native Americans in Philanthropy.
“The inaugural year of the America the Beautiful Challenge shows what’s possible when partners go all-in on a collaborative approach to providing resources for locally led restoration efforts,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.
“These grants will support voluntary landscape-scale conservation efforts that will restore fish and wildlife habitats across the nation and build a brighter future for all of us,” he concluded.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law along with other federal conservation programs and private sources made the competitive grant awards funding possible.
Photo of Yellow Warbler courtesy of Manomet / Jared Keyes.