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Working with our Partners to Restore Habitat in the Gulf of Mexico

The NOAA Restoration Center is partnering with the Gulf of Mexico Foundation this year by investing $300,000 in habitat restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico region. This funding, with additional funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will help to restore habitat in the Gulf by removing invasive species, restoring oyster reefs, and reconnecting tidal flows.  Volunteers will be involved with each of the projects – people who NOAA hopes will continue to care for these projects for years to come.

The four projects funded by NOAA through the partnership this year include:

  • Newman Branch Creek–Hillsborough County, Florida

    The Ecosphere Restoration Institute will restore six acres of freshwater marsh and four acres of coastal upland by removing invasive exotic species and recreating a variety of native estuarine, freshwater, and upland habitats. The disturbed portion of the site will be re-contoured into productive estuarine habitat by planting roughly 25,000 native plants with volunteers. 
  • Oyster Reef restoration in the Texas Coastal Bend–Rockport, Refugio and Aransas Counties, Texas

    The Harte Research Institute will restore nearly four acres of oyster reef by placing 1,450 cubic yards of recycled oyster shell on Lap Reef, an historic reef area in Copano Bay, Texas.  The shells, which have been collected from local restaurants and seafood wholesalers, will encourage growth of oyster populations and support fish populations. 
  • La Parguera Mangrove Restoration–La Parguera, Puerto Rico

    The Center for Watershed Protection will restore mangrove habitat in La Parguera along the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. This project will directly restore historic mangrove habitat impacted by the region's coastal development, and help to reduce the stormwater runoff and land-based sources of pollutants that threaten the health of the adjacent coastal habitats. 
  • Restoring the Mouth of Bayou Auguste–Biloxi, Mississippi

    The Mississippi State University will restore or improve more than five acres of marsh habitat along a stream bank at the mouth of Bayou Auguste in Biloxi. The project will remove a 40-foot decommissioned bridge, roadway, and debris, as well as invasive species along the stream bank. The bank will then be regraded and planted with native vegetation.
Oyster shells stockpiled at the Port of Corpus Christi will be used to restore a reef.

Oyster shells stockpiled at the Port of Corpus Christi will be used to restore a reef.

Photo: Harte Research Institute