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Virginia Coastal wetlands. Flickr

USA - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards More Than $20 Million To Help Coastal Community Resilience

Coastal wetland habitat conservation is critical to ensure that important habitat, wildlife and coastal communities continue to thrive for future generations. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding more than $20 million to support 25 projects in 13 coastal states to protect, restore or enhance more than 61,000 acres of coastal wetlands and adjacent upland habitats under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.

These projects will help mitigate the effects of climate change on coastal areas, many of which have already been dramatically altered and stressed by storms, sea level rise, human activity and invasive species.

State, local and Tribal governments, private landowners, conservation groups and other partners will contribute more than $17.6 million in additional funds to these projects. These grants will have wide-reaching benefits for local economies, people and wildlife – boosting coastal resilience, reducing flood risk, stabilizing shorelines and protecting natural ecosystems.

These grants help states and Tribes protect and restore important coastal habitats supporting a main pillar of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative contributing to the goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.

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“Coastal wetlands provide important habitat for the fish, wildlife and plants that support natural infrastructure and help protect coastal communities from storm flooding and sea-level rise,” said Shannon Estenoz, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “These grants symbolize the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to Build Back Better – creating and restoring sustainable natural systems that benefit wildlife and people into the future.”

The 2022 grants will also help recover coastal-dependent species, enhance flood protection and water quality, provide economic benefits to coastal communities and Tribes, increase outdoor recreational opportunities and benefit habitat and wildlife at several national wildlife refuges.

The Service awards grants of up to $1 million to states based on a national competition, which enables states to determine and address their highest conservation priorities in coastal areas. Since 1992, the Service has awarded more than $400 million in grants under the program.

States receiving funds this year are Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington. Review the list of projects funded by the 2022 grant program, which includes the following:

Little Tiger Island Land Acquisition

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with North Florida Land Trust is awarded $1 million to acquire and permanently protect 981 acres of salt marsh and maritime forest in Nassau County, Florida. This grant will leverage additional funding from Florida Forever, North Florida Land Trust, Audubon Florida and a private donor. Ecosystems on the property support several federally listed and candidate species, including piping plover, red knot, gopher tortoise, wood stork, Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon and West Indian manatee. The parcel connects a network of conserved lands stretching from St. Andrew Sound in Georgia to the St. Johns River in Florida, and it will be managed as a part of the Fort Clinch State Park.

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