National Marine Fisheries Service

01/06/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/06/2022 16:03

Top 21 Habitat Conservation Stories of 2021

Dispatches from the Chesapeake Bay

The mighty Chesapeake Bay is the nation's largest estuary and one of the most productive bodies of water in the world. This massive home to other fish, crabs, oysters, and more was a popular topic all around. We highlighted work to improve the health of the Bayby using the latest science to ensure its sustainable use for generations to come.

  • How we're using science to support Chesapeake Bay rockfish
  • What did 2020 mean for the Bay's fish, crabs and oysters?
  • Recruiting interns for summer science work in the Chesapeake Bay Officegrabbed a lot of attention! (More paid internships are available again this year.)
Kayakers in the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary captured the top spot in the "Humans in Habitat" category of the 2021 Habitat Month Photo Contest. Photo by Claire Fackler.

Making Habitat-Climate Connections During Habitat Month and Throughout the Year

Our annual Habitat Monthcelebration in 2021 focused on habitat's connection to climate change and communities. We highlighted science and stories about how habitat can help increase coastal community resilience, and about understanding certain habitats' vulnerability to climate change.

  • Celebrating Habitat Month: Connecting Habitat, Climate, and Communities
  • Habitat restoration projects in Massachusetts and Oregon are also providing flood protection
  • NOAA Fisheries and partners assessed different Northeast U.S. habitats' vulnerability climate change
  • How we're building community resilience through habitat restoration
Removal of Holmes Dam on Town Brook in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Credit: Hawk Visuals

Removing Dams and Other Barriers to Fish Migration

Every year millions of fish migrate to their native habitats to reproduce. They are often blocked from completing their journey. We remove those barriersso fish can reach their river and stream habitatand grow their populations. Our top fish passage stories focused on what happens after dams are removed, and included an interactive story map of projects in the Northeast U.S.

  • Interactive story map highlights how our work reopening Northeast rivers helps benefit fisheries and communities
  • Dam removals can also improve public safety
  • What happens after dam removals?(Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office)
Scientists monitor a reef with healthy oysters as part of a restoration effort. Photo: Oyster Recovery Partnership

Oysters, Oysters, Oysters!

Our first Oyster Weekin November was a shell of a success! We highlighted how oyster aquaculture is a terrific, sustainable way to grow this tasty seafood, why restoring oyster reefs is important, and more. Although some of these top stories cover the Chesapeake Bay again, oysters and their habitatare important and can be found in many other coastal areas.

  • Science confirms oyster reefs provide habitat and improve water quality
  • A photo-driven look at Chesapeake Bay oyster restoration, and an update on progress restoring reefs in 10 Chesapeake tributaries by 2025
  • Another look at oysters, this time in aquaculture
  • Celebrating Oyster Week 2021
Volunteers help construct a living shoreline near Daniel Island Trail in Charleston, South Carolina. Credit: City of Charleston.

Rounding Out The Top 21 Stories of 2021

Other hot stories of 2021 relate to wetland conservation, engaging saltwater anglers, previous habitat restoration successes across the United States, and deep sea coral discoveries. These are all important habitat efforts as well.

  • We looked back at 2009 Recovery Act-funded habitat restoration worksupporting communities
  • We celebrated Wetlands Month, 50 years of conserving internationally important wetlands habitats
  • NOAA's support of National Fish Habitat Partnerships projects engaging saltwater anglersin Louisiana, Maryland, Washington, and Alaska
  • Habitat restoration in the Great Lakes: by the numbers
  • New discoveries and management decisions in the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program Report to Congress
  • Working with partners to examine relationships between fish and deep-sea corals off the coast of Puerto Rico

Thank You!

We look forward to sharing more exciting habitat news in 2022. Stay up to date on NOAA's habitat conservation work by subscribing to our monthly HabitatNews newsletter, and following us on Twitter.