Current and Past Resilience Projects

NOAA invests in projects that increase coastal resilience—specifically, the ability of our coastal ecosystems to absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events such as extreme weather or long-term changing environmental conditions. Many coastal ecosystem resilience projects have benefits for human communities as well. Below are descriptions of projects funded in Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017.

Pacific Northwest

Teanaway Community Forest Aquatic Restoration Project

The Confederated tribes and bands of the Yakama Nation received $250,000 to restore floodplain connectivity in approximately three miles of tributary stream habitat in the Teanaway Community Forest Trust. The project will place locally-harvested woody material within the stream to improve flow, reduce peak temperatures, and enhance the complexity of habitats within the stream for fish including Columbia steelhead, coho and chinook salmon.

Kilisut Harbor Shoreline Habitat and Channel Reconnection Project

The Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe and North Olympic Salmon Coalition received $1,548,000 to restore the tidal connection between Kilisut Harbor and Oak Bay by replacing a causeway with a bridge. This will restore 27 acres of tidal marsh along the re-opened tidal channel, opening passage for young salmon as they leave the Olympic peninsula. Water quality improvements are expected to lower water temperature and reduce the potential for low dissolved-oxygen levels. This will help shellfish and Endangered Species Act-listed Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal summer chum. Residents of Marrowstone Island will be more resilient to storms and sea level rise, as the road to the island, and the utility lines buried in the road, are raised out of the 100-year flood zone.

Restoring Resiliency in Puget Sound Stillaguamish River Delta

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife received $1,446,985 to restore 337 acres of wetlands in the Stillaguamish River delta of Puget Sound, Washington. As a gateway to the Stillaguamish River basin spawning and rearing areas, the restored estuarine habitat will provide valuable foraging opportunities and refuge habitat for migratory species, including Endangered Species Act-listed Puget Sound Chinook. This restoration project will breach existing dikes, build a setback dike, re-establish and enhance off-channel habitat, and re-establish tidal flow into the area. Not only will a new setback dike provide protection to critical infrastructure and private property, but the restored habitat will also provide natural flood protection because it can absorb and store large amounts of rainwater or water runoff during a storm, in addition to providing a buffer for tidal influence during periods of high water.

Winter Lake Restoration Project

The Beaver Slough Drainage District received $750,000 to restore 407 acres of tidal wetlands, provide overwinter habitat for juvenile coho salmon, and re-establish fish access to 1,300 acres within the Coquille River estuary of southwestern Oregon. The project will create high-quality habitat by restoring more than seven miles of tidal channels, removing drainage canals and interior dikes, replacing undersized culverts with bridges to improve fish passage, and planting more than 200 acres with wetland plants. This project will address a key limiting factor for Endangered Species Act-listed coho salmon populations by providing an off-channel, slow-moving water refuge for juvenile coho and will add approximately 122,000 smolts annually to the Coquille River. This project also establishes new stakeholder partnerships with agricultural and recreational hunting communities.

Pacific Southwest – California and Hawaii

Restoring Streams to Increase Resilience of West Maui's Threatened Coral Reefs and Communities

The Coral Reef Alliance received $847,440 to use 2,000 plants and nature-based stormwater management features to slow and filter polluted stormwater in West Maui. These actions will reduce the flow of water and levels of nutrients and sediment reaching the nearshore coral reefs and increase their resilience to climate changes.

Restoration of a Hawaiian wetland and stream in He'eia, Oahu to increase ecosystem and community resilience

The Nature Conservancy received $721,095 to restore coastal habitat in the Heʻeia watershed and Kāneʻohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaʻi, through invasive species removal, native species replanting, and traditional management practices. This will improve and restore 13.8 acres of wetlands and 0.5 miles of stream corridor, strengthening ecological and community resilience to extreme weather events and support sustainable fisheries.

Restoring Hawaiian Fisheries and Coastal Communities through Fishpond Estuaries

The Nature Conservancy received $500,000 to restore coastal habitat and fisheries, and promote community resilience on the island of Hawaii. The Nature Conservancy and its partners will restore up to seven acres of estuarine fishpond habitat and promote the exchange of knowledge among fishpond management practitioners. The project will include the rebuilding of rock walls to maintain structural integrity and improve water flow, removal of invasive species, and management of important local fish species. Nearshore ecosystems will be improved by restoring traditional fishpond, coastal estuarine, coral reef, and aquatic habitats. By helping local communities restore this important traditional aquaculture system, we are building community and cultural resilience in the region.

Mountain View Restoration Project

Ducks Unlimited received $1,500,000 to restore 710 acres of former salt evaporation ponds in south San Francisco Bay to marsh and upland habitat. This is part of a larger effort to restore wetland and channel habitats, increase habitat connectivity, and improve protection to Bay communities in the face of extreme weather and changing environmental conditions.

Martin Slough Enhancement Project

The Redwood Community Action Agency received $1,091,045 to restore approximately seven acres of riparian and tidal wetland habitats, improve overwintering and rearing habitat for federally-listed salmonids, and reduce flooding on agricultural land and a community golf course in Eureka, CA.

Ravenswood Restoration Project

Ducks Unlimited received $1,500,000 to restore 280 acres of former salt evaporation ponds to estuarine habitat as part of the larger 15,000-acre South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, the largest restoration project on the West Coast. The project will restore wetland and channel habitats, enhance habitat connectivity, and improve protection of San Francisco Bay communities from extreme weather and changing environmental conditions. The integration of levee improvements with tidal wetland habitat restoration is a cost-effective and nature-based approach to provide shoreline and community flood protection. Restored habitat will support sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery of protected resources—specifically the Central California Coast population of steelhead and forage fish populations in the South San Francisco Bay.

Butano Channel Restoration and Resiliency Project

The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District received $1,464,716 to re-establish 8,000 feet of the historic Butano Creek. They will remove 45,000 cubic yards of sediment and reuse it to restore 28 acres of degraded marsh. Sediment accumulation has filled the historic channel of Butano Creek, causing local flooding and blocking salmon from accessing key habitat in the watershed. Restoring the connectivity of Butano Creek through Butano Marsh will re-establish access to 10 miles of habitat, including critical refuge habitat for Endangered Species Act-listed steelhead and coho. The project will also increase resilience in this system by reducing the frequency and duration of flooding, improving the public safety and economic conditions for the Pescadero community.

Northeast

Parkers River Tidal Restoration Project

The Town of Yarmouth received $663,044 to replace a degraded and undersized bridge on a primary transportation corridor on Cape Cod. Currently, storm surges exacerbate flood damage for property owners. Removing the bridge will reduce flood damage and improve fish passage and water quality.

Carver Cotton Gin Dam Removal and Satucket River Restoration Project

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration received $212,871 to remove the Carver Cotton Gin Dam in East Bridgewater, which is a safety hazard and prevents fish passage on the Satucket River. This will open up approximately 13 miles of river corridor and access to 652 acres of migratory fish spawning habitat to benefit river herring and American eel, while improving stability of an upstream bridge.

Hunters Pond Dam Removal and Bound Brook Restoration Project

The Town of Scituate received $192,566 to remove Hunters Pond Dam, opening up approximately five miles of riverine corridor and nearly 200 acres of rearing and spawning habitat on Bound Brook. This will benefit migratory fish including river herring, American eel, and rainbow smelt, which have undergone a dramatic decline in Massachusetts over the last 400 years. Removing the dam will eliminate the potential for dam failure that would cause flooding and close a road.

Removal of Upper and Lower Sawyer Mill Dams

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services and Sawyer Mill Associates received $370,000 to remove two 12-foot high dams on the Bellamy River, where it runs below the Sawyer Mill Apartment complex. These are the lowest two dams on the Bellamy River, a tributary to the Great Bay Estuary. The dams targeted for removal are rated as “high hazard” by the state. In addition to increasing safety for the residents and eliminating maintenance costs related to the dams, the project will remove contaminated sediment, allow fish to pass upstream to spawning habitats, and restore 21 acres of floodplain wetlands.

Improving Coastal Habitat and Community Resiliency in Quonochontaug Pond

The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council received $982,103 in to increase salt marsh surface elevations and restore natural marsh hydrology by placing a thin layer of sediment across 30 acres of degraded marsh within Quonochontaug Pond. Rhode Island salt marsh complexes serve as the first line of defense against coastal storms for coastal communities like Charlestown and Westerly. However, these salt marsh systems are among the most vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. The primary goal of this project is to improve the condition and resilience of the marshes by increasing salt marsh surface elevations. The project will also improve a public access point and boat launch used for recreational activities, and improve nearby eelgrass habitat for commercial and recreational fisheries.

Jones River-Elm Street Dam Removal at Head of Tide

The Jones River Watershed Association received $553,270 to remove an undersized concrete dam and spillway that has limited capacity during flood events. This deficiency creates risks to surrounding property and damage to surrounding habitats. Removal of the dam will eliminate safety risks, liability, and maintenance costs associated with the dam, improve water quality, and increase spawning access to four miles of mainstem habitat and five miles of tributary for species such as shad and river herring.

Restoring the Patapsco River: Bloede Dam Removal

American Rivers received $1,000,000 to remove the Bloede Dam from the Patapsco River. NOAA has provided total of $8.5 million toward the Patapsco River restoration from the Community-based Restoration program and the Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program; leveraging another $2.2 million from other sources. This is the linchpin of a larger effort to remove four dams on the river, restoring more than 65 miles of spawning habitat for blueback herring, alewife, American shad, hickory shad, and removing a safety hazard.

Southeast and Caribbean

Building Coastal Resilience through Coral Reef Restoration

The University of Miami received $521,920 to restore healthy staghorn coral thickets on nearshore reefs, increasing the resilience of coral reefs as fish habitat in a changing climate. The project will outplant 10,000 staghorn colonies, and 250 colonies each of elkhorn and other coral across Miami Beach and Key Biscayne.

Low-Tech Rehabilitation of Coral Reef Ecosystem Services: Test Beds to Reduce Vulnerability

The University of Puerto Rico received $200,000 to develop a model to help identify and prioritize coral restoration sites that not only contribute to the recovery of federally listed coral species, but also provide significant coastal shoreline protection benefits by reducing the impacts of waves. The project will quantify and model the wave energy attenuation effect of coral reef restoration at multiple sites within the Northeast Puerto Rico Habitat Focus Area. Having this tool will allow partners to select restoration sites that contribute to the recovery of federally listed corals and optimize wave attenuation, potentially reducing the risk of property loss and vulnerability of housing and hotel infrastructure along the shoreline from extreme storm events.

Oyster Reef Restoration in Naples Bay, Florida

The City of Naples received $484,244 to restore five acres of oyster reef in three locations in Naples Bay where oysters have experienced an 80 percent decline. Reef-ball and shell-bag pod reefs will naturally protect more than 1,000 feet of mangrove shoreline from storm surge and help restore mangrove and seagrass habitat. This habitat restoration effort will also improve water quality and increase the local community’s awareness of the benefits of living shorelines.