Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announces ARRA funding for 50 projects
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced 50 habitat restoration projects that will restore damaged wetlands, shellfish beds and coral reefs and reopen fish passages that boost the health and resiliency of our nation’s coastal and Great Lakes communities. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was provided $167 million for marine and coastal habitat restoration."These recovery act projects will put Americans to work while restoring our coasts and combating climate change,” Locke said. “They reflect our investment in sound science and commitment to help strengthen local economies.”Healthy coastal habitats are critical to the recovery and sustainability of the U.S. economy. Coastal areas generate more than 28 million jobs in the U.S. Commercial and recreational fishing employs 1.5 million people and contributes $111 billion to the nation’s economy.“NOAA is investing in 'green' jobs for Americans to restore habitat for valuable fish and wildlife and strengthen coastal communities, making them more resilient to storms, sea-level rise and other effects of climate change,” Commerce Undersecretary of Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said. “In addition to the immediate jobs created by the projects, stronger and healthier coastal communities will boost our nation’s long-term economic health.”A significant number of these coastal and Great Lakes restoration projects--in 22 states and two territories--are in areas with some of the highest unemployment rates, including the states of California, Oregon and Michigan. In addition to direct jobs, the projects are estimated to create indirect jobs in industries that supply materials and administrative, clerical and managerial services.When complete, the projects will have restored more than 8,900 acres of habitat and removed obsolete and unsafe dams that open more than 700 stream miles where fish migrate and spawn. The projects also will remove more than 850 metric tons of debris, rebuild oyster and other shellfish habitat and reduce threats to 11,750 acres of coral reefs.The 50 projects were chosen from a pool of 814 proposals totaling more than $3 billion in requests. The agency worked through a rigorous selection process to identify and prioritize projects meeting the ARRA's criteria.For more information and to track projects, visit www.noaa.gov/recovery/.