National Fish Habitat Partnership
Protecting, restoring, and enhancing the nation's fish and aquatic communities through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation and improve the quality of life for people.
What is the National Fish Habitat Partnership?
From cold, glacier-fed rivers in Alaska to salt marshes in Florida, fish habitats take many forms. They can be found in coastal and inland regions of the United States. However, many of these habitats are threatened or degraded, leaving fish without a suitable home. The National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) works collaboratively with numerous partners to reverse fish habitat declines across the nation.
NFHP is a science-based, state-led initiative to protect, restore, and enhance aquatic ecosystems across the United States. It was founded in 2006 and promotes and unites a network of 20 Fish Habitat Partnerships across federal and state agencies and conservation groups. In 2020, Congress recognized NFHP with the signing of America’s Conservation Enhancement Act. It has five main goals, which are carried out at multiple geographic scales:
- Protecting intact healthy waters
- Restoring hydrologic conditions for fish
- Reconnecting fragmented fish habitats
- Restoring water quality
- Coordinating and providing operational support for Fish Habitat Partnerships to make on-the-ground progress within program appropriations
The Partnership is guided by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (PDF, 44 pages), which provides a strategy to address the health of aquatic habitats from the nation’s interior to its oceans.
What is NOAA’s role as a NFHP partner?
As a founding member, NOAA provides national and regional leadership, funding, and technical expertise for coastal and marine activities that support its mission. NOAA is a committed partner in implementing the National Fish Habitat Action Plan to achieve healthy ecosystems, sustainable marine life, and resilient coastal communities through innovative solutions, flexible management, adaptability, and scientific research.
NOAA-supported activities include habitat studies, science symposia, restoration projects, and habitat protection initiatives. Since 2018, NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Habitat Conservation has partnered with the NOAA Fisheries Recreational Fishing Initiative to fund on-the-ground projects through Fish Habitat Partnerships in coastal areas. Funded projects protect or restore important recreational fish species’ habitats and actively engage recreational fishing partners.
Each year, NFHP hosts the Waters to Watch campaign. It raises the visibility of some of the best on-the-ground aquatic habitat conservation projects implemented by individual Fish Habitat Partnerships. There are five coastal, estuarine, and marine projects in the 2021 Waters to Watch campaign that take place in habitats where NOAA works.
Many of the Fish Habitat Partnerships partner with local recreational fishing communities to jointly advance fish habitat goals. NFHP and NOAA also collaborate with external partners to implement the NOAA Fisheries Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy. This work fosters, supports, and enhances people’s access to a diverse array of sustainable saltwater recreational fisheries.
Overall, NFHP unites a network of diverse partners with a wide array of expertise and NOAA is proud to play an active role in it. This cooperative effort protects, restores, and enhances the nation’s fish and aquatic communities and improves the quality of life for people.
- NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation
- National Fish Habitat Partnership
- National Fish Habitat Action Plan (PDF, 44 pages)
- NOAA Fisheries Recreational Fisheries Initiative
- NOAA Fisheries Resources for Recreational Fishing
- 2022 NOAA-Funded National Fish Habitat Partnership Projects
- 2021 NOAA-Funded National Fish Habitat Partnership Projects
- National Fish Habitat Partnership Recognized by Congress
- National Fish Habitat Partnership’s 2021 Waters to Watch Projects Feature Coastal Habitats
- National Fish Habitat Partnership Celebrates 10 Years of Success