The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that a Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) project is one of three projects impacting Louisiana receiving over $5.49 million in funding through the America the Beautiful Challenge (ATBC).
The NFWF awarded nearly $950,000 in grants to the CPRA for the construction and design phase of the Central Wetlands Restoration Project, which could benefit a 16,000-acre area. The aim of this project is to reduce impoundment and increase freshwater and sediment input, create a small-scale swamp and ridge restoration project and plant native vegetation in collaboration with local partners. CPRA funding brings the project total to $1,089,400.
“This award is the first competitive coastal ecosystem restoration grant from the Louisiana Coastal Program Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, allowing us to access federal funds to advance coastal conservation by designing and completing the innovative projects in our Coastal Master Plan,” said CPRA Chairman Chip-Kline. “We would like to thank the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the other partners involved in awarding funds to the America the Beautiful Challenge, who will support environmental restoration efforts that serve vulnerable communities in the Lower 9th Ward and St. Bernard Parish line with the Biden benefit administration’s Justice40 initiative.”
Congressman Troy Carter, who represents areas that will be improved by the project, sent a letter of support to the Department of the Interior urging that CPRA’s ATBC grant application be given full and fair review. Congressman Carter’s support for the project was critical to the CPRA’s efforts to secure funding for the project.
“Louisiana relies on healthy and resilient coastlines and wetlands for our way of life,” said Congressman Carter. “Our property, industry, tourism, flood control and wildlife all depend on what the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority does for our state, and I’m thrilled to hear they are receiving these federal funds to support their great work.” to have. I was proud to write a letter of support in her application for the America the Beautiful Challenge grant program, and I look forward to working with CPRA on future efforts to protect and strengthen our state’s coastlines and natural areas.”
The Louisiana and Mississippi Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries receive funding for a project to improve the resilience of 90,000 acres of fire-dependent habitats. The project, which aims to restore ecosystems and manage existing habitats in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, received over $4.3 million in ATBC funding. Additional matching funds will bring the project to over $5.5 million.
“We would like to thank our colleagues in Mississippi for partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries on this important project,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “These funds will assist with improvements at our Sandy Hollow WMA in the community of Tangipahoa and Lee Memorial Forest in the community of Washington, as well as private and industrial forest lands.”
Louisiana-based conservation group Manomet received $217,600 in ATBC funding to help farmers and land managers provide improved habitats for Louisiana Wetlands Shorebirds. Once due, the project will total $436,100.
Founded in May 2022, ATBC awarded nearly $91 million across 55 grants nationwide to support projects that conserve, restore and connect wildlife habitats while improving community resilience and access to nature.
“The inaugural year of the America the Beautiful Challenge demonstrates what is possible when partners engage in a collaborative approach to allocate resources to locally led restoration efforts,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “These grants will support landscape-scale voluntary conservation efforts that will restore fish and wildlife habitats across the country and create a brighter future for us all.”
The grant program was created through a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Interior through the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Native American philanthropy.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Act, along with other federal conservation programs and private sources, enabled the competitive grants to be funded.