April 27, 2020
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently dedicated nearly $170,000 in funding to support four coastal priority projects under the National Fish Habitat Partnership, including one project supported by the Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP). These four projects will enhance recreational fisheries engagement and restore fish habitat. Saltwater recreational fishing is an American pastime and important economic driver, and anglers make critical contributions to the conservation of fish habitat nationwide. These projects demonstrate NOAA’s commitment to engaging with the recreational fishing community and supporting access to sustainable saltwater recreational opportunities.
For the ACFHP-supported project, Lynnhaven River Now is partnering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and local anglers to construct an oyster reef in the eastern branch of the Lynnhaven River, in Virginia Beach, VA. The Lynnhaven River is one of five rivers in Virginia targeted for oyster habitat restoration as part of a larger plan in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Recreationally and economically important fish species such as bluefish, summer flounder, and black sea bass use restored oyster reef habitats for shelter and food. Recreational anglers will provide input on oyster reef construction and configuration. The project’s outreach efforts will also build on the first Virginia Rod and Reef Slam held in 2019. At this fishing tournament, anglers aim to catch the largest diversity of species, as opposed to the largest fish. A second Rod and Reef Slam scheduled to be held in Virginia in 2020 is anticipated to have increased participation. It will educate participants about the planned oyster restoration efforts in the Lynnhaven River. This project builds on two workshops NOAA held in the Chesapeake Bay region in 2019, where anglers identified critical priorities for oyster restoration activities.
NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation and Recreational Fishing Initiative are collaborating to fund this project through an existing agreement with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. “We are grateful for this support for on-the-ground projects of our Fish Habitat Partnerships,” said Ed Schriever, Chair of the National Fish Habitat Board. “The funding of these projects is critical for our Fish Habitat Partnerships to meet their conservation objectives in priority habitat areas.”
NOAA’s story on this funding can be found here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/coastal-projects-enhance-recreational-fishing-and-restore-habitat.
*Note this announcement was modified from the NFHP announcement on all four projects.