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The Willits News

US - Huffman and others introduce Bicameral Bill to protect America’s Coastal Regions

U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.-2) and Jennifer González-Colón (R-P.R.), along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have introduced legislation that would reauthorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Coastal Program, which brings together FWS activities in priority coastal areas along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, and in the Caribbean.

U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.-2) and Jennifer González-Colón (R-P.R.), along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have introduced legislation that would reauthorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Coastal Program, which brings together FWS activities in priority coastal areas along the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, and in the Caribbean. Within these areas, the FWS partners with coastal communities to conserve and restore coastal ecosystems for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and people. The partnerships provide a framework to conduct landscape-scale conservation planning and to implement these plans through on-the-ground coastal habitat conservation.

Coastal wetlands have become vulnerable to rising sea levels as well as to land development, land fragmentation, and pollution stemming from the half of the U.S. population that resides in coastal counties. Through partnerships, the FWS can leverage its technical and financial resources with partner resources to maximize habitat conservation and benefits to federal trust and other priority species. The Coastal Program also co-administers the FWS National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program with the Sport Fish Restoration Program and Coastal Program to provide annually grants of up to $1 million to coastal and Great Lakes states, as well as U.S. territories to protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland ecosystems and associated uplands.

“Coastal ecosystems and communities are an integral part of our nation’s economy, and we have a responsibility to be effective stewards of these invaluable places,” said Rep. Huffman. “This collaborative bill will ensure the health and resilience of coastal ecosystems, benefiting the wildlife, communities, and economies that depend on them.”

“In Puerto Rico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Coastal Program has provided critical support to locally-driven conservation projects. From assisting in the restoration of sand dunes along our northern coast to working with coffee farmers to provide habitat for federally-endangered species, the program has proven successful in leveraging public and private resources to advance our Island’s most pressing conservation priorities,” said Rep. González-Colón. “I’m proud to join Congressman Jared Huffman, Senator Ben Cardin, and Senator Lindsey Graham in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Coastal Habitat Conservation Act of 2021, which will authorize the FWS Coastal Program and ensure it has the necessary tools to continue supporting voluntary, partnership-based conservation efforts across the nation’s coastal areas.”


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