Healthy habitat provides important areas for fish to eat and grow. But habitat can be polluted by oil and chemical spills, destroyed by development, or blocked by dams. When that happens, fish can’t live there anymore. This often means that there are fewer fish for other animals to eat or for people to catch. Restoration can help bring back that habitat—and those fish. By cleaning up after an oil spill, or removing a dam on a river, we can help fish get back to their natural habitat.
Habitat restoration helps people, too. Restoration creates jobs—an average of 15 jobs per $1 million invested. Restored coastal habitats provide clean water, support fish and wildlife, and protect coastal communities from storms. They also support boating, fishing, and tourism.
NOAA Restoration Center staff are experts in restoration, working with partners to help fish thrive. We focus on four priority habitat restoration approaches, where we can have the biggest impact to fishery production:
Reconnecting coastal wetlands
Restoring shallow corals
Rebuilding shellfish populations
Conducting large-scale wetland restoration in Louisiana
Helping migrating fish reach their habitat
Restoring the Great Lakes
Restoring the Gulf of Mexico
Recovering habitats after disasters
Restoring habitat strategically
Our interactive Restoration Atlas will help you find projects near you—search for projects by habitat type, location, or congressional district.
Did you know we’ve been restoring habitat for more than 25 years? During that time, we’ve restored more than 130,000 acres of habitat—marshes, wetlands, rivers, coral reefs, and more—leading to healthier, more abundant fish.
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-38
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-28