The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced $144 million in grants for natural infrastructure projects in coastal regions of the United States.
Projects supported by the new grants will work to improve the resilience of coastal communities and improve fish and wildlife habitats. More than 109 projects will be funded, adding to the 27 projects supported by $44.7 million from the Inflation Reduction Act.
Coastal regions are especially vulnerable to climate change-related extreme weather and sea level rise. Infrastructure projects, such as pier reconstruction or permeable pavement, may buffer communities from intense storms and coastal erosion. Natural infrastructure projects, like marine sanctuaries, wetland restoration, and other habitat recovery may also be used to support both human and marine coastal communities.
“This year’s grant slate continues our significant investments in nature-based solutions that are critical to increasing the resilience of vulnerable communities and protecting and restoring essential habitats for fish and wildlife,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The NCRF supports the development and implementation of sustainable designs, plans, and practices that integrate natural features into successful coastal resilience outcomes and that promote adaptation and resilience to storms, floods, and other coastal hazards.”
The grants were awarded through a partnership between NFWF, NOAA, the Department of Defense, Shell USA, TransRe, SalesForce, and Oxy.
Projects Protect Wildlife Habitats to Benefit Coastal Communities
Many of the projects supported by the new funding will help restore and enhance habitats for fish and wildlife based in various coastal communities across the country.
One supported project in Kake, Alaska, for example, will include final design and permitting for nature-based solutions such as kelp and seaweed mariculture, shellfish garden creation, and herring and shellfish seeding. While the project will help protect the mentioned species, it will also provide year-round accessible subsistence foods and reduce risks from coastal hazards for the community.
The NCRF reportedly implements a “pipeline” approach for funding each stage of the given projects, from planning and design to full implementation.
“NOAA is proud to work with NFWF and partners to help communities be ready and resilient to climate change,” said Rick Spinrad, administrator for NOAA. “Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help bolster community resilience efforts and meet the demand we’re seeing for projects that address coastal hazards and enhance ecosystems that are important for wildlife, communities, and the coastal economy.”