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Coastal Wetlands: Too Valuable to Lose

Look beyond the beauty of our coastal wetlands and you’ll find this habitat hard at work. Wetlands filter waters that drain into the ocean, reduce the damaging effects of hurricanes and storms on our coastal communities, help our shorelines adapt to climate change, and play a pivotal role in the productivity of commercial and recreational fisheries. Coastal wetlands continue to disappear at higher rates than inland areas. With so much to lose and little time to spare, NOAA is extensively involved in both protecting and restoring coastal wetlands.

Saving Our Wetlands

To protect coastal wetlands, we provide technical advice to government agencies and the public on proposed actions that could have a negative effect on living marine resources, including coastal wetlands. Based on extensive scientific and management expertise, we provide recommendations to avoid, minimize, and compensate for the adverse effects of construction projects. Since many coastal wetlands have been identified as “essential fish habitat,” there is an increased urgency and value in the protection of these areas.

Reversing Our Losses

When a coastal wetland is degraded by overdevelopment, oil spills, invasive species, or lost tidal flow, we participate in determining how to restore these valuable areas. Through the NOAA Restoration Center, we provide funding to communities that want to restore a wetland or other aquatic habitat. In addition, we actively participate in large-scale wetland restoration in Louisiana where most of the coastal wetland loss in the country is occurring.