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Top Habitat Highlights of 2019

January 09, 2020

Among many efforts in 2019, we made progress on restoring corals, opened up rivers and tide channels for fish, and worked with communities to restore habitat across the U.S. and territories. Here are some highlights.


As 2020 kicks-off, we are reflecting back on our favorite habitat stories of 2019. Last year we continued a tradition of celebrating all-things habitat during Habitat Month in July, supporting community partners’ restoration work, and clearing the way for fish migration. This busy year of work was capped by announcing a new mission to recover coral reefs in the Florida Keys. We also announced $226 million slated to restore the Gulf of Mexico’s open ocean environments. 

Top Spot Goes to Coral Restoration

A Mission to Recover the Coral Reefs of the Florida Keys

Did you know more than 90 percent of corals in the Florida Keys have been lost? That’s why NOAA and partners are embarking on an effort to reverse the decline of coral reef health and the economy that depends on them for seven reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. 

Learn more about Mission: Iconic Reefs

CRF™ team outplanting staghorn coral at Carysfort Reef in 2018_Credit Alexander Neufled_Coral Restoration Foundation™.jpg


Habitat Month 2019 

Habitat—Working for You

Our annual #HabitatMonth celebration focused on how habitat works for you. Healthy habitat provides numerous benefits to communities and our economy, including more seafood production and coastal tourism and recreation. Habitat can also be beautiful, as seen in the winning Habitat Month photo contest entries

Learn more about how habitat works for you



Community-based Restoration

Nineteen Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Projects Funded

For more than 20 years, NOAA Fisheries has been supporting community partners’ work restoring coastal and marine habitats. In 2019, we awarded more than $10 million to 19 projects in 11 states and territories.

Who’s restoring habitats near you?



Fish Passage

Road Replacement Project Opens Pathway for Washington Salmon

We work with partners up and down the West Coast, and in other regions, to help recover declining salmon populations. Many projects have mutual benefits like flood protection, improving community safety, and increasing recreation opportunities. This one provided the local community with resilient infrastructure that also helps more fish find habitat.

Learn about a new roadway for humans and salmon

Kilisut_Harbor_causeway_Jefferson County_750x500.jpg


Decades of Dam Removals Help Fish Reach their Homes in Historic Plymouth

River herring can make it to and from habitat now that five dams are no longer in the way on Town Brook in Massachusetts. These fish are key to the sustainability of other ocean species that rely on them as food. They have historical significance to native communities who’ve lived there for thousands of years. 

Take a virtual walk along Town Brook to learn about its history and our work



NOAA Seeks to Improve Fish Passage through 2018 Program Review 

Fish passage is important for the protection and restoration of migrating fish and their habitats. We worked with an independent, external review panel to evaluate the effectiveness of NOAA’s fish passage activities.

What did the independent panel say about our work?

fish migration 1170x780 -fish leap up stream AK.jpg


Gulf of Mexico Restoration

$226 Million in Projects Finalized for Deepwater Horizon Restoration in the Gulf

Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustees released a plan to restore open-ocean environments in the Gulf of Mexico. The plan included almost $226 million to help restore fish, sea turtles, marine mammals, and deep-sea coral habitat injured by the 2010 oil spill. It’s the largest dedication of oil spill restoration funds to restore these Gulf resources to date!

Learn more about the projects funded in the plan

Seat Turtle restoration deepwater horizon gulf of mexico.jpg

Thank You!

Thanks for following along with our list of 2019's top habitat stories. We look forward to sharing more exciting habitat news in 2020!