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NOAA recommends spending on making coasts more resilient to climate change

Restoring natural coasts can benefit wildlife and fish as well as make communities more climate change resilient.
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Restoring natural coasts can benefit wildlife and fish as well as make communities more climate change resilient.

The Biden Administration is recommending $562 million in projects to make coastal communities and the economy more resilient to climate change.

Michigan would get money for just two of the 149 projects recommended.

One is a less than $1million habitat restoration in an area around Ox Creek at Benton Harbor in what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls “Coastal Habitat Restoration and Resilience Grants for Underserved Communities.”

The other is a $7 million project at the Edsel Ford House on the Lake Saint Clair shoreline, in one of the wealthiest areas of the state.

Chris Doley is the chief of the Office of Restoration at NOAA. He says that project restores natural habitat along a shoreline that is mostly concrete and steel barriers.

“The intention here is to use that project to restore the natural shoreline, to have nature-based infrastructure as a part of the shoreline and be an example for the rest of the area.”

A natural shoreline is preferred because it can better handle the rapid changes in the lake and provides habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms.

“The entire area is really hardened. And we’re hoping to use that project as an example to have other projects to follow it in the area,” Doley said when asked why NOAA chose to spend the money at that particular site.

The other projects would be in other Great Lakes states and coasts along the Atlantic Ocean.

During an online news conference NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said the investments would “super-charge” conserving coastal resources and restore habitats in ways that benefit wildlife, people, and the economy. You can see NOAA's release here.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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