Paul J. Fusco / Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

USA - $6M Aimed at Shoring up Salt Marshes Along Atlantic Coast

Federal and state agencies are investing $6 million in an Atlantic coastwide initiative to strengthen and restore 1,667 acres of salt marshes across Massachusetts and four other states by 2025.

The latest $1 million was awarded last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The award is shared with Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Virginia.

The restoration effort is aimed at benefiting coastal communities, as healthy coastal marshes support clean water, storm and flood protection, and multi-billion dollar fishery, recreation and tourism industries, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service press release.  These benefits are at risk, with more than half of the original salt marsh habitat in the U.S. already lost, and the sea level on the North Atlantic coast expected to rise 13 to 19 inches by 2050.

Scientists point to the disappearing saltmarsh sparrow as a warning sign of these changes and a call to action for restoration, according to the release. A network of wildlife biologists, salt marsh ecologists, engineers, academic researchers, and non-governmental partners spanning 14 states are working together to restore tidal salt marshes for the wildlife that call them home and the communities that rely on them.

The next decade is a critical window for shoring up our salt marshes against rising seas,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Wendi Weber in the release. “We will continue to work with our many partners across the saltmarsh sparrow’s range to find holistic solutions that turn the tide for saltmarsh sparrow and help coastal communities maintain natural defenses in a changing climate.”

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