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Water: Habitat Protection

More About the Estuary Restoration Act Council

The Estuary Restoration Act establishes an "Estuary Habitat Restoration Council" consisting of representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Army (USACE). The Council is responsible for developing a national restoration strategy to ensure a comprehensive and integrated restoration approach and foster coordination of Federal and non-Federal restoration activities. The goal of the strategy is to restore 1,000,000 acres of habitat by 2010.

Estuaries are defined under the Act to include the Great Lakes. The Act affects 30 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam.

The Act also authorizes a program under which the Secretary of the Army may carry out projects and provide technical assistance to meet the restoration goal. Costs of projects funded under the Act must be shared with non-Federal parties. Non-Federal responsibilities and project selection criteria are discussed in the Act and final guidance on project solicitation will be provided in Fall of 2002. Funds for project implementation have not yet been appropriated.

The Act also states that the Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce, is responsible for developing and maintaining a database of information concerning estuary habitat restoration projects and for developing standard data formats and requirements for project monitoring. Existing NOAA programs are to be used and the information is to be made available to the public. For more information, visit the National Estuaries Restoration Inventory.

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