NOAA recently awarded $167 million for 50 habitat restoration projects supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The 50 successful projects were chosen from a pool of 814 proposals totaling more than $3 billion in requests and identified through a rigorous selection process to prioritize projects meeting the Recovery Act's criteria. When complete, the projects will have restored more than 8,900 acres of habitat and removed obsolete and unsafe dams that open more than 700 stream miles where fish migrate and spawn. The projects will also remove more than 850 metric tons of debris, rebuild oyster and other shellfish habitat, and reduce threats to 11,750 acres of coral reefs.
Healthy coastal habitats are critical to the recovery and sustainability of the U.S. economy. Coastal areas generate more than 28 million jobs in the United States. Commercial and recreational fishing employs 1.5 million people and contributes $111 billion to the nation's economy. A significant number of these coastal and Great Lakes restoration projects-in 22 states and two territories - are in areas with some of the highest unemployment rates, including the states of California, Oregon, and Michigan. The projects will employ Americans with a range of skills including laborers, nursery workers, design engineers, restoration ecologists, landscape architects, hydrologists and specialized botanists. In addition, the projects are estimated to create indirect jobs in industries that supply materials and administrative, clerical, and managerial services.