MASGC Project Impacts

Restoration of more than 3,000 coastal acres along the Gulf of Mexico benefits fish, shellfish

Relevance:

The natural hydrological flow of fresh, brackish and saltwater is altered when waterways are impaired or modified over time through coastal development. This adversely impacts fish, wildlife and people and changes the structure and function of coastal habitats. Focusing restoration efforts in a concentrated area where there is restriction of water flow can return large-scale benefits to habitats and the animals they support.

Response:

MASGC led a community-based NOAA Restoration Center partnership with the four Sea Grant College Programs in the Gulf of Mexico. This partnership began in 2010 and over a five-year period funded four on-the-ground hydrological restoration projects that included removing a large, outdated flood control barrier in New Orleans, altering sheet flow to a more natural state in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system, removing mosquito ditches that adversely impacted a mangrove forest in Tampa Bay, Florida, and installing culverts in a dirt road to restore tidal exchange between multiple bodies of water in Calhoun County, Texas.  

Results:

This project funded four restoration projects that restored natural flow or sheet flow to sites around the Gulf of Mexico, which total 3,085 restored coastal acres. The projects directly benefited at least 13 freshwater and 20 saltwater species. In addition, the projects provide enhanced recreational opportunities, such as fishing and accessing more waterways via kayak and canoe.

Recap:

Four hydrological restoration projects that were supported through a community-based partnership between NOAA and the four Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs restored more than 3,000 coastal acres to a more natural state, which benefited fish and shellfish and allowed people to enjoy additional nature-based recreational opportunities. (2014)