Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Janet Cushing

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Aquatic Habitat Conservation Through the National Fish Habitat Action Plan

Wednesday - June 17, 2009

Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.

In recent decades, gains have been made in reducing degradation of aquatic habitats, but they have not kept pace with impacts of land-use changes and have too often simply addressed the symptoms instead of the causes of habitat degradation. The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is an investment strategy that focuses on system processes to maximize the effect of conservation dollars. Signed by State and Federal leaders in 2006, the Action Plan is partnership-driven, science-based and non-regulatory. With oversight by a national board, the Action Plan works through regional-scale Fish Habitat Partnerships to: set strategic priorities; implement projects to protect, restore, and enhance habitats; and measure and communicate results. By 2010, partners in the Action Plan will assess and report on the status of fish habitats across the United States, and establish 12 or more Fish Habitat Partnerships. Nine Fish Habitat Partnerships have been approved, and there are 11 Candidate Fish Habitat Partnerships across the country. Legislation recently introduced in Congress would formally authorize the Action Plan and funds for habitat conservation projects. This plan has already generated cost-share funds for Action Plan projects through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and more than $10 million has been invested in on-the-ground projects since 2006. Other important funding sources to date include State and Federal trust funds for abandoned mine land reclamation and corporate contributions. The Action Plan brings together an unprecedented partnership to conserve and rehabilitate aquatic habitats and to improve the quality of life for the American people.


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