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Habitat Restoration Supports Jobs, Stewardship

April 04, 2020

A technical memorandum from the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation looks at economic and environmental benefits from 125 habitat restoration projects from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).


Socioeconomic Benefits of Habitat Restoration,” a recent technical memorandum from the NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation, looks at the socioeconomic and environmental benefits from 125 habitat restoration projects funded through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.

NOAA received $167 million dollars from the Recovery Act to restore coastal areas throughout the country and help jumpstart the nation's economy. The primary goals were to restore habitats and stimulate economic growth by supporting “shovel-ready” projects by putting American's back to work. 

Coastal restoration is a significant source of jobs. It requires a diverse set of skills and materials that directly and indirectly employ a wide variety of people, including construction workers, engineers, ecologists, project managers, and heavy equipment operators.

Key benefits of these projects include:

  • Supporting an average of 15 jobs per $1 million invested (up to 30 jobs per $1 million invested for labor-intensive projects).
  • Supporting 2,280 jobs, the majority of which were directly created by Recovery Act funding.
  • Restoring 25,584 acres of habitat, opening 677 miles of stream for fish, and removing 433,397 tons of debris from coastal habitats.
  • Expending $154.1 million dollars on projects to generate $260.5 million dollars in economic output (sales) annually.
  • Contributing $143.7 million dollars in new or expanded economic activity nationwide.

These on-the-ground restoration projects opened historic river habitat, removed marine debris, reconnected tidal wetlands, and restored shellfish and coral reefs. Typical species that benefited include flounder, perch, groundfish, and salmon.

The projects also enhanced a sense of community-level stewardship toward the restored habitats.

Read the full memorandum for additional information, including case studies of several restoration projects. See our factsheet for a summary (PDF, 2 pages).


Posted July 28, 2017

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on June 16, 2020