The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) is pleased to announce the release of its new five-year Conservation Strategic Plan and accompanying two-year Action Plan. The ACFHP Steering Committee has spent the past year developing the plans, which includes goals, objectives, strategies, and actions (Action Plan only) to restore and enhance Atlantic coastal, estuarine, and diadromous fish habitat through conservation, science and data, outreach and communication, and financial initiatives.
The 2017 – 2021 Conservation Strategic Plan updates and revises ACFHP’s first conservation strategic plan, which covered the 2012 – 2016 time frame. Some of the Partnership’s accomplishments during this period can be found listed on page 5 of the new plan. Most notably, ACFHP has contributed over $400,000 directly to conservation projects, leveraging $4 for each ACFHP restoration dollar. This has helped to open 75 river miles, restore 0.5 acres of riverine spawning habitat, 2.95 acres of oyster reefs, 2.4 acres of tidal vegetation, and 19 acres of seagrass beds, adding an estimated $41 million in economic value to the Atlantic coast annually.
In addition to the Partnership’s goals, objectives, and strategies, the Conservation Strategic Plan describes ACFHP’s 3 – 4 priority habitats and the major threats to each of those habitats within our four subregions (North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and South Florida). These habitat priorities were informed by the results of ACFHP’s Species-Habitat Matrix study Published by Kritzer et al. (2016), the Matrix evaluated the importance of benthic habitats to over 100 species of coastal fish and non-stationary invertebrates as a space for shelter, feeding, and breeding.
The 2017 – 2019 Action Plan has identified 32 specific actions to be taken to advance a subset of objectives and strategies listed in the Conservation Strategic Plan. These actions will be carried out by ACFHP and its partners.
ACFHP is a coastwide collaborative effort to accelerate the conservation of habitat for native Atlantic coastal, estuarine-dependent, and diadromous fishes. The Partnership consists of resource managers, scientists, and professionals representing 33 different state, federal, tribal, non-governmental, and other entities. ACFHP works from Maine to the Florida Keys, and from the headwaters of coastally draining rivers to the edge of the continental shelf, with a focus on estuarine environments.