Florida Oyster Reef
Florida oyster reef under restoration © Anne Birch

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The Nature Conservancy Receives Funding from NFWF for Two Gulf Restoration Projects

Oyster Reefs in Florida and Salt Marsh in Alabama to Benefit

Tallahassee, FL

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced an award of more than $280 million in funding from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to 21 new projects, including two of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC’s) Gulf region priorities. The projects, located in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Nature Conservancy’s Pensacola East Bay Oyster Habitat Restoration Phase 2 project, one of the largest-scale oyster habitat restorations in Florida, and Lightning Point Phase 2 project in Alabama will receive NFWF funding. The funding for TNC’s two projects represents a significant investment in restoration of the Gulf’s natural resources and dedication to restoration of important estuarine habitats, such as oyster reefs in Florida and salt marsh in Alabama.

“We’re grateful that NFWF has committed to provide funding to The Nature Conservancy’s Pensacola East Bay Oyster Habitat Restoration Phase 2 project. This oyster habitat restoration effort is critical to the region, to promote recovery of oyster habitat that helps support the oyster fishery and other fisheries and wildlife, and to serve as a model for future oyster restoration,” said Anne Birch, Florida Marine Program Manager.

“This next phase of funding is significant in implementing the engineering and designs developed in Phase I of the Lightning Point Restoration Project Phase. We appreciate NFWF’s commitment to carry out Phase II’s construction tasks that will help bolster and enhance Bayou La Batre’s coastal habitats essential to the local recreational and commercial fisheries and coastal resilience,” said Mary Kate Brown, Alabama Coastal Projects Manager.

TNC’s Pensacola East Bay Oyster Habitat Restoration Project is essential to oyster populations and health in the region. Oysters in this bay system have been declining since the 1800’s – a global study found that oyster reefs are one of the world’s most imperiled and important marine habitats. The East Bay project, spearheaded by TNC and a collaboration between many local and agency partners, will create 33 reefs along 6.5 miles of shoreline.

TNC’s Lightning Point Restoration Project is multifaceted, including many components to help restore the local community’s shoreline and coastal habitats that have been battered by multiple historic hurricanes and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The project will involve constructing at least 28 acres of diverse coastal habitats and 1.5 miles of breakwaters that will protect the newly acquired 127 acres lands owned by Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust, Mobile County and The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.