Everything the Office of Habitat Conservation does requires strong partnerships and they are incredibly important to us. We work in partnerships at all levels—with local, state, federal governments, private entities, and non-governmental organizations—toward shared goals and enhanced understanding.
Our approach to habitat conservation is collaborative and uses sound science in support of sustaining fisheries and recovering protected species. We focus our habitat efforts on multiple-benefits to marine resources AND coastal communities. In order to be successful, we must do this through collaboration. We are also able to accomplish more on the ground through partnerships. By recognizing the benefits of collaboration, and through leveraging our technical capabilities and resources, we are able to be more effective and reach bigger solutions together.
We work with other federal agencies to implement habitat conservation projects where our priorities align. Often, our focus on protecting or restoring habitat to recover fish populations can complement other agencies’ efforts to improve water quality or reduce flooding. Our partners include all federal agencies who fund, regulate, and implement resource conservation including the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and others.
We also work with state natural resource agencies to help us prioritize habitat conservation needs and to execute projects at the community level. We partner with state agencies to implement restoration plans addressing natural resources that were injured by oil and chemical spills. We work with all coastal states and the agencies that fund and implement resource conservation. For example, we are engaged in landscape-scale conservation partnerships in the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, Great Lakes, and the San Francisco Bay/Delta.
Many non-government organizations that focus on ocean and coastal issues have goals that significantly overlap with NOAA mandates. These organizations and their members are critical public stakeholders. These partners help us to develop protection and restoration priorities, implement projects, and leverage significant additional funding and in-kind support. Some of our partners who work on a national and regional scale include: The Nature Conservancy, Restore America’s Estuaries, Ducks Unlimited, American Rivers, Trout Unlimited, and the National Fish Habitat Partnerships. Local partners include “friends of” groups, estuaries partnerships, and coastal advocacy organizations. We also work with tribal governments across the country to conserve habitat on tribal lands while respecting their history and culture.