U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $20 Million in Coastal Wetland Grants
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Monday $20 million in grants to 24 critical coastal wetland projects in 13 states and territories. An additional $21.3 million in matching funds will be provided by partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups. The grant program’s purpose is to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat.
In a USFWS press release, the agency notes that “coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area yet support a significant number of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened and endangered species.”
“These coastal wetlands are extremely important to the future of both wildlife and humans,” USFWS Director Dan Ashe said. “As Superstorm Sandy showed, it is essential to have natural wetlands available to act as a buffer against extreme weather events.
“Coastal wetlands also serve as some of nature’s most productive fish and wild
life habitat while providing improved water quality and abundant recreational opportunities for local communities. These grants will help our state partners implement some high-quality projects that support conservation and outdoor recreation.”
Funding for the grant program is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels. States and territories receiving funds are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and American Samoa.