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Want to create jobs? Restore habitat.


When most people think about big projects that create jobs, they often think about the building “gray” infrastructure: bridges, roads, and dams. In fact,  habitat restoration—the “green” side of infrastructure—typically generates more jobs per million dollar invested than more traditional construction projects.

According to a recent study, NOAA’s Restoration Center created 17 jobs for every $1 million spent to restore habitat. This number rose to 33 jobs per $1 million for “labor intensive” projects such as an algae removal project in Maunalua Bay, Hawaii.

Compare this with traditional construction, which generates far fewer jobs on average. The oil and gas sector creates roughly 5 jobs per $1 million, while road infrastructure generates 7 jobs per $1 million investment.

In 2012, NOAA will be providing specialty training in habitat restoration to 45 unemployed citizens in the Maumee and Black River areas of Ohio. With their help, we will stabilize river shorelines and keep the water cleaner. We expect to see a resurgence of fish and other wildlife in these degraded areas. We are also confident that these workers will gain valuable new experience that will open up additional opportunities in the field of restoration.

Restoring habitat is an investment that pays dividends—not only in healthier ecosystems and more fish, but in good jobs for Americans as well.

Posted February 27, 2012



Construction workers initiate the breach of the Central Unit at the American Canyon Recovery Act project

Construction workers initiate the breach of the Central Unit at the American Canyon Recovery Act project.

Credit: Ducks Unlimited.