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For Immediate Release
March 29, 2016
Contact: Allison Colden

More than 80 Bipartisan Members of Congress Support Funding for Federal Coastal Habitat Restoration Programs

WASHINGTON Last week, Congressman Keating (D-MA), Congresswoman Capps (D-CA) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ) led more than 80 of their colleagues in sending a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees expressing strong support for federal habitat restoration programs.  The letter stresses the critical importance of habitat restoration programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for protecting coastal communities, their economies, and sustainable fisheries.  In the letter, Members ask the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to provide no less than $68.4 million in funding for NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program and Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, programs that directly support community-driven coastal restoration projects to benefit fish, wildlife, and people.

“Preserving the lands and waters along our coasts is critical, not just for the individuals who live and work in these communities, but for all of us,” said Congresswoman Lois Capps. “With such a large percentage of our nation’s residents living near the coasts and countless others who visit these beautiful places for recreation, these areas are also important economic drivers that must be protected. That is why I am a strong supporter of our nation’s coastal protection programs, like the Coastal Habitat Conservation and Protection program within NOAA. Supporting these activities is common sense, and I want to thank all of my colleagues who have joined us in this effort.”

"The smartest, most effective investment we can make in the fight against the impacts of climate change is in our local communities,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “They serve on the front lines of both protecting and restoring our coastal resources and habitats and play a leadership role in driving these efforts forward. I was proud to join Congresswoman Capps in garnering the support of many of our like-minded colleagues in the House who understand this urgency."

"As we continue to confront the realities of a changing climate, we must ensure that we not only reduce our emissions to head off the worst impacts, but also insulate our most vulnerable communities from the changes that are already taking place. Superstorm Sandy served as a stark reminder of the dangers facing our coast from stronger storms and rising seas,” said Senator Menendez. “I'm proud to lead the Senate effort to provide funding for critical programs that not only make our vibrant coastal communities more resilient to future storms and flooding, but also strengthen the ecosystems that these communities depend upon. I commend the work being done by Restore America's Estuaries in this area, and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in Congress to provide robust funding for coastal habitat restoration."

NOAA’s Community-based Restoration Program (CBRP) provides funding for collaborative public-private partnerships to carry out coastal habitat restoration. Restoration projects funded by CRBP improve the nation’s degraded habitats, strengthening and revitalizing America’s communities by buffering against storms, safeguarding vital infrastructure, reducing risks to public safety, and providing new recreational opportunities.

NOAA’s Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants, established in FY 2015, provide funding for projects that restore healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems to build resilience of coastal communities to extreme weather, sea level rise, and flooding. Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants fund on-the-ground habitat restoration and conservation, providing immediate ecosystem and resilience benefits to coastal communities.

“I commend the co-signers of the House and Senate letters for their strong support and recognition of the critical role coastal ecosystems play in our nation’s environmental and economic livelihood,” said Jeff Benoit, President of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Recent events like Hurricane Sandy have demonstrated what we stand to lose if proactive measures are not taken to restore coastal habitats that protect coastal communities. Strategic investments in habitat restoration are a win-win – providing habitat for important commercial and recreational fish species, while providing protection and economic value to coastal communities. I thank Congressman Keating, Congresswoman Capps, and Senator Menendez for their continued leadership and support of these critical programs.”

The signed House Dear Colleague letter can be found hereThe Senate Dear Colleague letter can be found here.


Restore America’s Estuaries is the leader of a national alliance of coastal conservation organizations across the country committed to protecting and restoring the lands and waters essential to the richness and diversity of coastal life.

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For Immediate Release                                                                                                                         Contact: Allison Colden
February 11, 2016                                                                                                                                  703-524-0248 x-103
President Obama’s Budget Proposal Features Strong Investments in Coastal Resilience and Habitat Restoration
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s final budget request, released this week, supports strong investments in our Nation’s community and ecosystem resilience with a focus on ensuring coastal communities are prepared and proactive in addressing coastal hazards and climate change. The budget places particular emphasis on the importance of healthy ecosystems and coastal habitat for their ability to mitigate risks from extreme weather events and enhance community resilience.
“Substantial and sustained investments in coastal habitat protection and restoration are critical to the continued ecological and economic vitality of our Nation’s coastal communities,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Coastal communities that provide nearly fifty percent of our Nation’s GDP are also the most at risk for sea level rise, coastal storms, and habitat loss. Increased funding will help communities build the capacity needed to take proactive measures to address these risks and invest in strategies that improve their resilience. The President’s budget request represents an unequivocal commitment to protecting our coastal natural resources that play a critical role in community resilience. Now it’s up to Congress to act to ensure these much-needed investments are carried out.”
Budget highlights include:
  • $2 billion to establish a Coastal Climate Resilience Fund administered over ten years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Interior to provide at-risk coastal states with funding necessary to plan for and adapt to climate change.
  • $58.4 million for NOAA Habitat Conservation and Restoration Programs that restore habitat to support commercial and recreational fisheries, recover imperiled species, and enhance ecosystems.
  • Continued funding for NOAA’s coastal resilience grants programs that address challenges through the protection and restoration of coastal habitat and improved planning for extreme weather events, changing ocean conditions, and other hazards. Continued funding will help support the nearly $151 million in requests that the program received in its inaugural grant release.
  • $10 million for the National Ocean and Coastal Security Fund, a national endowment to support habitat restoration, coastal infrastructure improvements, research on the impacts of a changing climate on sea level rise and other coastal pressures.
Available here as a PDF.
Restore America’s Estuaries is the leader of a national alliance of coastal conservation organizations across the country committed to protecting and restoring the lands and waters essential to the richness and diversity of coastal life.

Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Approves Wetland Restoration and Conservation as New Carbon Trading Category

Restore America’s Estuaries Initiative Paves Way for Private Investment in Coastal Restoration and Protection Projects

 “Coastal Blue Carbon” Joins World Carbon Markets

WASHINGTON—A Restore America Estuaries-led (RAE) initiative aimed at creating greenhouse gas offset opportunities for coastalwetlands got final approval under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) today, paving the way for increased private investment in wetland restoration and conservation projects through the issuance of internationally recognized carbon credits.

 The new VCS requirements for Wetlands Restoration and Conservation (WRC) create a project category for measuring and crediting climate benefits from a broad range of wetlands, including mangroves, freshwater tidal coastal wetlands, salt marshes, seagrasses, floodplains, peatlands, and other wetland types.

The importance of the VCS wetland carbon credit registry cannot be overstated, according to Patrick Megonigal, Senior Scientist and Deputy Director, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. “This is the first carbon-crediting standard to advance conservation and restoration across the full diversity of the world’s wetlands,” said Megonigal.

“We hope that by adopting wetlands under the VCS Standard, wetland conservation and restoration activities will be stimulated,” added Stephen Crooks, Climate Change Services Director at ESA PWA, an environmental consulting group.

Crooks noted that there is a billion-dollar backlog in coastal and estuarine projects nationwide that would provide immediate, long-term, economic and environmental benefits to the U.S., and that “we are already receiving interest in potential new projects from all over the world, including Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa, and the United States.”

“Preserving and restoring some of America’s most threatened ecosystems—tidal wetlands—may be among the best ways of mitigating greenhouse emissions that fuel global warming and climate change,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries.

“These new wetlands provisions in the VCS Program represent a major step forward in providing a credible framework for new activities to demonstrate real carbon reductions,” said VCS Executive Officer David Antonioli. “I am proud that the VCS has again taken the lead in developing these robust new crediting mechanisms which I am sure will serve as an important contribution to addressing climate change.”

VCS is the leader in the voluntary carbon market with a 58 percent global and U.S. share. It is considered by many market and policy professionals as the most sought-after certification in the world today.

New research indicates that tidal wetlands are efficient carbon sinks for greenhouse gases (GHG). This makes coastal restoration, adaptation, and mitigation essential elements in government planning and policy, and has profound ramifications and opportunities for commercial investments in domestic and international carbon markets.

Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane are potent greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to climate change. Research focusing on “Blue Carbon” in coastal wetland ecosystems suggests that coastal wetlands sequester carbon at rates 3-5 times greater than temperate forests, making them important carbon “sinks,” as world temperatures and sea levels rise. Tragically, coastal wetlands are being lost globally at an unsustainable rate estimated at one to three percent per year.

VCS Wetlands Technical Working Group contributors include: Steve Emmett-Mattox (Lead Coordinator), Restore America’s Estuaries; Dr. Igino Emmer (Lead Author), Silvestrum; Carolyn Ching, VCS Association; Dr. Stephen Crooks, ESA PWA; Dr. Boone Kauffman, U.S. Forest Service; and Dr. Patrick Megonigal, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Funding was provided by KBR, GenOn, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Power Plant Research Program, America’s WETLAND Foundation, ConocoPhillips, and Entergy.

Restore America’s Estuaries ( is a national alliance of 10 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 290,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation’s estuaries. RAE members include: American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save the Sound, a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch.



Restore America's Estuaries President and CEO Jeff Benoit: Restore Coastal Habitats to Deal with Next Super Storm (letter to the editor/November 10, 2012):