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Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Projects
Resiliency is the ability of an ecosystem to absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events such as extreme weather or long-term changing environmental conditions such as sea level rise. Restoring marshes, rivers, and other habitat can provide naturally resilient features—such as flood reduction and protection—while also providing places for fish to thrive. Investing in habitat restoration and ecosystem resiliency reduces risks to coastal communities from extreme weather events and climate change.
Building resilient U.S coastal ecosystems, societies, and economies is one of NOAA’s key missions. NOAA is dedicated to providing tools and resources that communities can use to become more resilient to changing environmental conditions. To accomplish this, NOAA has established an ecosystem resiliency grant program to support on-the-ground restoration projects. These projects will not only reduce communities’ vulnerability to the risks of extreme weather, but also provide habitat to support protected and managed species.
Recommended 2016 Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Projects
NOAA has announced $8 million in recommended funding for 11 habitat restoration projects under the 2016 Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program. Project selection was highly competitive and based on rigorous reviews conducted by subject matter experts around the country. Eleven of the 53 proposed projects are being recommended for funding.
Project Title: Mountain View Restoration Project (CA)
Partner: Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Recommended NOAA Funding: $1,500,000*
Summary: This project will restore 710 acres of former salt evaporation ponds in the South San Francisco Bay to estuarine tidal marsh, high marsh, and upland habitat. The project is part of the 15,100-acre South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, the largest restoration project on the West Coast. The project will restore wetland and channel habitats, increase habitat connectivity, and improve protection to Bay communities in the face of extreme weather and changing environmental conditions. It will increase the wetland’s resiliency to sea level rise. In addition, the restored habitat will support sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery of protected resources such as steelhead.
Project Title: Martin Slough Enhancement Project (CA)
Partner: Redwood Community Action Agency
Recommended NOAA Funding: $1,098,045*
Summary: The Martin Slough Enhancement Project is a part of a multi-phased effort to increase coastal community resiliency to sea level rise and extreme weather events. The project will restore riparian and tidal wetland habitats, improve overwintering and rearing habitat for federally-listed salmonids, and reduce flooding on agricultural land and a community golf course. The project area is composed of a complex channel network of estuarine and tidal wetlands as well as tidally-influenced freshwater habitat. The vast majority of the habitat was diked and leveed over the last 150 years and converted into pasture land. Through this effort, the Redwood Community Action Agency and partners will restore approximately seven acres of wetland and riparian habitat.
Project Title: Parkers River Tidal Restoration Project (MA)
Partner: Town of Yarmouth
Recommended NOAA Funding: $663,044 *
Summary: The Town of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is leading a federal, state, and local partnership to eliminate a severe tidal restriction on the Parkers River. The project will replace a degraded and undersized state bridge on a primary transportation corridor on Cape Cod. Currently, storm surges exacerbate flood damage for property owners. This restoration project will reduce damage to infrastructure by allowing storm surge to flow out of the estuary following major storm events. The project will also improve fish passage and water quality.
Project Title: Cotton Carver Gin Dam Removal and Satucket River Restoration Project (MA)
Partner: Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration
Recommended NOAA Funding: $212,871 *
Summary: The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration and partners will remove the Cotton Carver Gin Dam in East Bridgewater Massachusetts, rated as a “Significant Hazard” dam by the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety. The dam jeopardizes an upstream bridge and is the first dam from the ocean without fish passage on the Satucket River. This removal is part of an effort to improve ecosystem resiliency by connecting major tributaries of the Wild & Scenic Taunton River with the main stem, Narragansett Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Dam removal will open up approximately 13 miles of riverine corridor and access to 652 acres of migratory fish spawning habitat to benefit river herring and American eel. This project complements previous and on-going river restoration efforts in the Taunton River watershed supported by NOAA’s Restoration Center, including three dam removals on the Mill River in Taunton, the Rattlesnake Brook Dam removal in Freetown, and the Barstow's Pond Dam removal also in Taunton.
Project Title: Hunter Pond Dam Removal and Bound Brook Restoration Project (MA)
Partner: Town of Scituate
Recommended NOAA Funding: $212,566*
Summary: In an effort to strengthen ecosystem and community resilience to changing environmental conditions, the Town on Scituate, in partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will remove Hunters Pond Dam. The project will open up approximately five miles of riverine corridor and nearly 200 total acres of diadromous fish rearing and spawning habitat. The dam is in “Poor” condition and rated as a “Significant Hazard” dam by the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety. Hunters Pond Dam is the first dam on Bound Brook and is located at the head-of-tide at the Gulf River estuary. It is the primary impediment to fish passage on the Bound Brook system. Removal of the dam will benefit a variety of migratory fish including river herring, American eel, and rainbow smelt— species that have undergone a dramatic decline in Massachusetts over the last 400 years. The project will also restore tidal ebb & flow to Hunters Pond, floodplain function within a nine-square-mile coastal watershed, and improve water quality in Bound Brook.
Project Title: Teanaway Community Forest Aquatic Restoration Project (WA)
Partner: Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation
Recommended NOAA Funding: $250,000 *
Summary: This project will restore floodplain connectivity in approximately three miles of tributary stream habitat in the Teanaway Community Forest Trust. The project will include nature-based restoration by adopting a unique approach that encourages natural stream dynamics and placement of abundant, locally-harvested woody material in strategic locations within the steam. This will help improve flow, reduce peak temperatures, and greatly enhanced stream diversity for important fisheries including Columbia steelhead, coho and chinook salmon. Additionally, the project will enable thinning of upland forests, which will reduce risks of catastrophic fires in treated areas.
Project Title: Kilisut Harbor Shoreline and Marine Habitat Restoration Project (WA)
Partner: Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
Recommended NOAA Funding: $1,000,000*
Summary: The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, in partnership with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition, will restore the tidal connection between Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay by replacing the state route 116 causeway with a bridge. This work will restore 27 acres of tidal marsh along the re-opened tidal channel. The project provides a safe passage route for juvenile ESA-threatened Hood Canal summer chum and Puget Sound Chinook as they leave the Olympic peninsula, and enhances their food resources by reducing water temperature and increasing dissolved oxygen levels in Kilisut Harbor. This area is part of the Usual and Accustomed Area for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and this project will enhance their cultural traditions of fishing and clam digging. Approximately 400 households will benefit from the improved infrastructure provided by the bridge, which carries Marrowstone Island’s utilities. The current roadway and utilities are only .5 feet above the 100 year flood, and this project will raise the road surface by 10 feet.
Project Title: Shifting the Current-Restoring Streams to Increase Resilience of West Maui's Threatened Coral Reefs and Communities (HI)
Partner: Coral Reef Alliance
Recommended NOAA Funding: $842,782 *
Summary: The Coral Reef Alliance will implement 26 best management practices (BMPs) in the Wahikuli Watershed on West Maui, Hawaii within the West Maui Habitat Focus Area. The BMPs will use 2,000 plants and hydrological flow alterations to slow, filter, and sink polluted stormwater. Together, these BMPs will reduce the flow of water and levels of nutrients and sediment reaching the nearshore coral reefs and increase their resilience to climate changes. This project benefits from a cross-cutting partnership between the Maui Cultural Lands, West Maui Ridge to Reef Initative, Ridge to Reefs, Stream Restoration Knowledge Sharing Group, The Nature Conservancy, US Geological Survey, and Westin Hotels.
Project Title: Restoration of a Hawaiian wetland and stream in He'eia, O'ahu to increase ecosystem and community resilience (HI)
Partner: The Nature Conservancy
Recommended NOAA Funding: $721,095*
Summary: This project will support the restoration of essential coastal habitat in the Heʻeia watershed and Kāneʻohe Bay, O‘ahu, Hawaiʻi, through invasive species removal, native species replanting, and traditional management practices. The Nature Conservancy aims to improve and restore 13.8 acres of wetlands and 0.5 miles of stream corridor in order to strengthen ecological and community resilience to extreme weather events and support sustainable fisheries. These efforts link with broader restoration and conservation approaches in the watershed and throughout Kāneʻohe Bay, including upland stream restoration and removal of invasive algae from the bay’s coral reefs. This larger effort is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Paepae o Heʻeia, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, Papahana Kuaola, U.S. Geological Survey, the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources, and the University of Hawaiʻi.
Project Title: Restoring the Patapsco River: Bloede Dam Removal (MD)
Partner: American Rivers
Recommended NOAA Funding: $1,000,000*
Summary: American Rivers, working in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Friends of the Patapsco Valley State Park, and many others, will restore the natural resiliency of the Patapsco River Valley through the removal of the Bloede Dam. The 34-foot high by 220-foot long, state-owned Bloede Dam sits in the Patapsco Valley State Park and currently serves no purpose. Removal of this dam is the linchpin of a larger effort to remove four mainstem dams on the Patapsco River aimed at restoring more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, American shad, hickory shad, and more than 183 miles for American eel, as well as removing a documented safety hazard from the stream.
Project Title: Building Coastal Resilience through Coral Reef Restoration (FL)
Partner: University of Miami
Recommended NOAA Funding: $521,920*
Summary: The University of Miami will use heat-tolerant corals to restore healthy staghorn coral thickets on nearshore reefs of Miami-Dade County, thereby increasing the resilience of coral reefs as fish habitat in a changing climate. The project will outplant 10,000 staghorn colonies, and 250 colonies each of elkhorn and other coral across Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, a low-lying shoreline. The project will implement education, outreach, and citizen science programs in collaboration with the Miami Science Barge and the Frost Science Museum focused on coastal resilience, adaptation to climate change, and coral restoration.