On September 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Commerce and NOAA announced the availability of up to $45 million in funding for projects that will advance coastal habitat restoration and climate resilience priorities of tribes and underserved communities.
NOAA seeks to support opportunities for tribes and underserved communities to meaningfully engage in coastal habitat restoration activities, such as removing outdated dams and restoring coastal wetlands, which can help improve communities’ ability to recover from and adapt to the impacts of extreme weather and the climate crisis.
Of the $45 million in funding available, $20 million is specifically available to U.S. federally recognized tribes. The remaining $25 million will be available to all eligible applicants to support opportunities for tribes and underserved communities.
“Across the country, tribes and underserved communities rely on our coastal habitats and ecosystems for commerce and culture. But too often, they don’t have access to the resources, capacity, and support they need to protect and restore our coasts and adapt to climate change,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
“As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this program will support community-driven habitat restoration efforts and ensure that the benefits of these efforts flow back to these communities — helping to protect their ways of life and making their communities more climate resilient,” she continued.
Projects selected through this opportunity will span several types of activities, including capacity building, actionable science support and restoration:
- Capacity building includes activities such as participation in municipal or regional-scale resilience planning, project planning and feasibility studies, stakeholder engagement or developing proposals for future funding;
- Actionable science support includes activities such as the collection or analysis of climate, habitat or other community or conservation-related data that informs planning, decision-making or future restoration; and
- Restoration includes activities such as demonstration projects, engineering and design, permitting and on-the-ground habitat restoration work.
“NOAA is committed to the goals of advancing equity and supporting tribes and underserved communities through our work,” said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries.
“Through this funding, we’ll work to ensure that the needs and priorities of these communities are at the center of locally-based habitat restoration and coastal resilience efforts,” she added.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act provide a historic opportunity for NOAA to continue making an impact for fisheries, protected resources and coastal communities.
To date, NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation has awarded more than $480 million for 109 projects across the country through this funding. The Office of Habitat Conservation has a long history of conducting habitat restoration efforts with large-scale competitive funding opportunities and expert technical assistance through its Community-based Restoration Program.
This funding opportunity is aligned with actions outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Ocean Climate Action Plan and the America the Beautiful initiative.
This funding is available as part of the Investing in America agenda, through the Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate investment in history—and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The funding also advances President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to direct 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, energy and other covered investments to disadvantaged communities marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.
Applications are due by December 19, 2023.
Featured photo shows the native village of Levelock, Alaska. (Image credit: Rich Buzard / USGS)