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Top 21 Habitat Conservation Stories of 2021

January 06, 2022

NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation continued conserving, protecting, and restoring habitat in 2021. We shared almost 80 stories about this work and habitat’s value to fisheries and communities. Here are the most popular stories and topics that surfaced

Aerial-view-of-Chesapeake-Bay-estuary-Credit-NOAA.jpg Aerial view of a river flowing into the Chesapeake Bay estuary. Credit: NOAA

Dispatches from the Chesapeake Bay

The mighty Chesapeake Bay is the nation’s largest estuary and one of the most productive bodies of water in the world. This massive home to other fish, crabs, oysters, and more was a popular topic all around. We highlighted work to improve the health of the Bay by using the latest science to ensure its sustainable use for generations to come.

Three people in a red kayak paddle near a large stone arch.
Kayakers in the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary captured the top spot in the "Humans in Habitat" category of the 2021 Habitat Month Photo Contest. Credit: Claire Fackler

Making Habitat-Climate Connections During Habitat Month and Throughout the Year

Our annual Habitat Month celebration in 2021 focused on habitat’s connection to climate change and communities. We highlighted science and stories about how habitat can help increase coastal community resilience, and about understanding certain habitats' vulnerability to climate change.

Aerial view of construction equipment removing a dam from a stream
Removal of Holmes Dam on Town Brook in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Credit: Hawk Visuals

Removing Dams and Other Barriers to Fish Migration

Every year millions of fish migrate to their native habitats to reproduce. They are often blocked from completing their journey. We remove those barriers so fish can reach their river and stream habitat and grow their populations. Our top fish passage stories focused on what happens after dams are removed, and included an interactive story map of projects in the Northeast U.S.

A closeup of hands wearing blue gloves holding a cluster of oysters
Scientists monitor a reef with healthy oysters as part of a restoration effort. Credit: Oyster Recovery Partnership

Oysters, Oysters, Oysters!

Our first Oyster Week in November was a shell of a success! We highlighted how oyster aquaculture is a terrific, sustainable way to grow this tasty seafood, why restoring oyster reefs is important, and more. Although some of these top stories cover the Chesapeake Bay again, oysters and their habitat are important and can be found in many other coastal areas.

Volunteers standing along the shoreline and passing bags of oysters down the line to help construct a living shoreline
Volunteers help construct a living shoreline near Daniel Island Trail in Charleston, South Carolina. Credit: City of Charleston.

Rounding Out The Top 21 Stories of 2021

Other hot stories of 2021 relate to wetland conservation, engaging saltwater anglers, previous habitat restoration successes across the United States, and deep sea coral discoveries. These are all important habitat efforts as well.

Thank You!

We look forward to sharing more exciting habitat news in 2022. Stay up to date on NOAA’s habitat conservation work by subscribing to our monthly HabitatNews newsletter, and following us on Twitter.