NOAA is funding four projects designed to enhance recreational fisheries engagement and restore habitat through the coastal National Fish Habitat Partnerships. Saltwater recreational fishing is a part of the fabric of coastal communities, and anglers make critical contributions to the conservation of fish habitat nationwide. NOAA Fisheries is committed to collaborating with the recreational fishing community and supporting access to sustainable saltwater recreational opportunities. These projects will actively involve anglers in habitat restoration efforts that will benefit coastal communities and economies.
Recreational Engagement and Ecological Learning Series in Louisiana
Sponsoring Partnership: Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership
Anglers Bettering Louisiana's Estuaries, Louisiana Sea Grant, and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership will work with local charter boat captains. They will provide an experiential learning program about Louisiana habitat restoration and coastal planning. The program will include classroom sessions, field days, and time on the water. During the field days, the charter captains will pot, plant, and monitor black mangroves to improve habitat for juvenile fish, shrimp, and crabs. The program will also recruit local high school students to participate in the field days. At the end of the program, the charter boat captains will take these students on two recreational fishing trips. They will teach the students to fish and share what they have learned about Louisiana habitats and their connection to fish.
Outreach and Education at Bill Burton Fishing Pier in Maryland
Sponsoring Partnership: Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership
As part of its Living Reef Action Campaign, Coastal Conservation Association Maryland will expand outreach and education efforts at the Bill Burton Fishing Pier. The pier is frequently visited by a diverse community in Dorchester County, Maryland, and is an access point to the Choptank River Habitat Focus Area. In 2014 and 2015, oyster reef balls were successfully deployed off the pier to provide habitat for striped bass, drum, shad, blue crab, and other species. In this project, CCA Maryland will host several public oyster reef ball building events to construct and deploy more reef balls at the site. The project will also add six bilingual (English and Spanish) signs to inform recreational anglers of the new and previously deployed reef balls at this site. The signs will describe their purpose, the habitat types along the pier, fishing regulations, gear disposal instructions, and seafood consumption safety. An underwater web camera will be installed at the reef and live video will be displayed at the nearby visitor center. A video about the resources at the pier will also be produced and shared with the local community.
Point No Point Estuary Restoration in Washington
Sponsoring Partnership: Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership
Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group is working with the Kitsap County Parks Department to develop a project to restore tidal influence to Point No Point Park. The project would remove a malfunctioning tide gate to convert freshwater wetlands back into salt marsh habitat. Restoring tidal connectivity in this 32-acre area will provide critical nearshore habitat for juvenile Chinook salmon. It will restore ecosystem processes at a key site along migratory salmon routes in and out of Puget Sound. The project will engage the local North Kitsap Puget Sound Anglers and other local fishers to collect data before and after restoration and to help with education and outreach around the project and its importance. This may include conducting interviews with fellow anglers, documenting observed species in the habitat, and collecting post-restoration monitoring data. The project supports the NOAA Fisheries Puget Sound Chinook Recovery Plan and is integrated with regional salmon recovery efforts.
Documenting Coastal Cutthroat Trout Distribution in Alaska
Sponsoring Partnership: Western Native Trout Initiative
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Western Native Trout Initiative will survey potential habitats used by Coastal Cutthroat Trout at the edges of the species' range in Alaska. Anglers throughout the region will sample the areas where CCT are predicted to occur—taking genetic and tissue samples, and recording demographic data. Findings of the survey and field sampling will be disseminated to angler and interest groups, and will be used to identify the streams where CCT occur. The identified streams will be submitted to the Alaska Anadromous Waters Catalog, which provides habitat protection under state law. This type of protection will proactively conserve these important habitats at the northern and westernmost edge of the species' range. This area is expected to become more important as the species’ range shifts due to climate change.
The projects are funded through NOAA Fisheries’ Habitat Protection Division and Recreational Fisheries Initiative, in partnership with:
- Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission
This is the third year that this funding opportunity has been offered. Projects were selected based on active engagement of recreational fishing partners in habitat protection, restoration, or monitoring efforts, and the potential to build long-term relationships with those partners.