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A Message from Sam Rauch, Head of NOAA Fisheries

Healthy Habitat for Sustainable Fish Populations and Protected Species

April 2013

This month we are celebrating healthy habitat for sustainable fish populations and protected species.

Habitat provides important feeding and breeding grounds for fish. Without healthy habitat, we can’t sustain the fisheries that will feed Americans now and into the future. Habitat conservation is also one of the best means we have for recovering threatened and endangered species.  That’s why NOAA works with our state and federal partners to protect these habitats from the threat of coastal and offshore development. Each year, NOAA  conserves hundreds of thousands of acres of the habitats upon which our nation’s fisheries and protected species depend.

Through NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint, we are targeting habitat conservation where our fisheries need it most and taking action in priority habitats to implement recovery plans for threatened and endangered species. In the Russian River, we’re working to rebuild endangered Coho salmon and threatened steelhead stocks by restoring habitat and improving access to breeding grounds.

In North Carolina’s Cape Fear watershed, poor habitat quality in rivers and streams threatens fish, such as American shad, striped bass, river herring, and endangered Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon populations. We’re working with a partnership of key agencies and organizations in the region to develop a multi-year action plan. We’ll use a broad range of tools to provide long-term habitat-based solutions for the most pressing challenges for migratory fish.

All month, we’ll highlight habitat issues and success stories from around the country—from herring runs in Massachusetts and underwater grasses in the Gulf, to veterans restoring fish habitat in California. Check back for the latest throughout the month.



Samuel D. Rauch III
Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries