Habitat Conservation Overview
Healthy habitat—like wetlands, rivers, and oyster and coral reefs—supports fish and wildlife, clean water, and recreation. But these important areas are being threatened by coastal development, pollution, extreme weather, and other factors.
The Office of Habitat Conservation works to protect and restore habitat in order to boost fish populations, recover threatened and endangered species, and support resilient coastal ecosystems and communities.
Every year, millions of fish migrate to their native habitats to reproduce. Some fish need to swim thousands of miles through oceans and rivers to reach these freshwater destinations. They are often blocked from completing their journey by human-made barriers, such as dams, culverts, and other obstacles. When fish can’t reach their habitat, their populations can’t be maintained or increased.
NOAA helps migratory fish navigate these barriers by adding options like fish lifts, fish ladders, bypasses, or by removing barriers completely. With the input, expertise, and support of our partners, we have conducted more than 700 fish passage projects. We have opened nearly 7,000 miles of river and stream habitat.