On August 21, 2018, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) announced that they are teaming up to restore habitat damaged from oil spills and hazardous waste releases.
A new cooperative agreement between the two organizations includes an initial $1.8 million for restoration activities along the Texas Gulf Coast. This five-year agreement has potential for more than $80 million in additional funding to support other coastal restoration projects across the country.
“Partnerships like this are key components of successful restoration efforts. They provide NOAA and other federal, state and tribal trustees opportunities to leverage additional resources, resulting in greater outcomes than we can achieve alone,” said Chris Doley, chief of NOAA’s Restoration Center. “As a leader in wetlands conservation across the continent, Ducks Unlimited is a major partner with NOAA and a well-qualified choice for this partnership.”
NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program helps restore natural resources damaged by oil and chemical spills using funds recovered from those responsible for environmental harm. Examples are disasters like the BP’s Deepwater Horizon or the Exxon Valdez oil spills. They help bring the habitat back to its condition before the incident. Since 1991, the program has recovered more than $10 billion from those responsible for environmental harm to implement habitat restoration across the country.
“This agreement gives Ducks Unlimited the chance to grow our coastal restoration programs across the country,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Nick Wiley. “With coastal systems among the most important and imperiled waterfowl habitats, this is a tremendous opportunity to make a difference for waterfowl, fisheries, coastal residents and all those who benefit from the natural resources found along our coasts.”
The $1.8 million will support the Dredged Material Planning for Wetland Restoration Project, which addresses coastal habitat conservation and restoration goals related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The project will focus on marsh restoration at eight sites along the Texas coast. NOAA, DU and other partners will prioritize and develop guidelines for restoration of these degrading intertidal habitats.
Once restored, these habitats will support a diversity of fish and marine life that are important components of commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as other recreational industries. These same coastal marshes provide crucial habitat for resident mottled ducks, migrating and wintering waterfowl and millions of other migratory birds.
Photo of Lost Lake courtesy of Ducks Unlimited.